Most lakes formed as the result of an ancient glacier, a depression in a geographic fault, or a Paleolithic water-gun battle. Dip your toes into history with this Groupon.
Choose Between Two Options
- $25 for a two-hour paddleboard rental including paddle and life vest (a $50 value). This option is available only on weekdays.
- $149 for a two-hour Sunset Expedition Paddle for two with 30-minute introductory lesson, fruit-and-cheese plate, and after-paddle cocktails (a $300 value). This option is available only on Fridays.
To begin the Sunset Expedition Paddle—part of Great Lakes Board Company's 2012 Expedition Paddle Series—ACA-certified instructors lead couples through a 30-minute introduction to standup paddleboarding, or SUP. Each person is equipped with a board, paddle, and life vest before pairs launch into the calm shallows of Lake Michigan to practice technique. The fleet then aims their boards south toward the city to begin the expedition, guided by Great Lakes Board Company's experienced paddleboard instructors. Colorful boards skim across the water as paddles pull through the sunset-streaked waves, with a break for paddling duos to indulge in a board-top picnic of fruit and cheese. Because the expedition journeys beyond the usual paddle zone, the group enjoys majestic views of the iconic towers and giant sticks of gum in Chicago's skyline. After returning to shore, guides pick up the first round of drinks at Castaways Bar and Grill.
The paddleboard-rental option does not include the 30-minute introductory session, but Great Lakes Board Company offers lessons at an additional charge. Groupon users who bought this option and wish to take lessons must call ahead to reserve them in advance.
Ian Jacobson, the founder of Chicago SUP and Wakeboard Chicago, grew up on the Lake, and started his board-top paddling program after his passion for the sport ignited during a trip to Hawaii. His love for the low-impact activity also feeds his interest in its safety; as he spreads awareness of the sport, he makes sure customers know when it's safe to venture out into calm or choppy water. His passionate team gathers a range of paddling certifications, such as ACA and WPA, and many staffers are equipped with official training in first aid and CPR as well as unofficial training in blowing bubbles. Some of the team honed their boarding skills on the waves of California and Hawaii, and several boast a background in stand-up paddleboard yoga and fitness instruction.
Dubbed "the epicenter for the paddle community in Chicago" by Chicago Now, Chicago SUP ignites Jacobson's passion for the sport of standup paddleboarding in others with rentals and instruction atop calm waters boasting sweeping skyline views. As shoulders, backs, and arms work to propel the boards forward under his instruction, the core engages to keep balance on the board, resulting in a full-body workout enlivened with the pleasure of sunny skies and the thrill of submarine sightings in Lake Michigan. The company was featured on NBC Chicago's 1st Look and in the Chicago Tribune, grabbing Jacobson attention for pioneering the relaxing full-body workout in the Midwest, as well as for their innovative board-top yoga classes (SUPyo) and SUPFit classes. In the 2013 Expedition Paddle Series, he and his team point paddlers toward attainable goals as they paddle decked in headlamps toward Navy Pier for fireworks, or simply take in the skyline at sunset or the full moon above.
1600 N Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, Illinois 60614