Paddle Boarding - Iron Boot

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Paddle Boarding

23 Sep, 2019

Paddle boarding is a fun activity you can do in the ocean, bays, rivers and … right here in Alexandria on our beautiful lakes!

It’s the perfect way to experience the outdoors in a unique, active way. 

There’s even enough room to bring your dog, kid or friend. 

Paddle boarding has become very popular. There’s something about being out on Kincaid Lake, Buhlow or Indian Creek with only the sounds of you and nature. It calms the mind. Not to mention it’s a great workout, although it doesn’t seem like you’re working out.

In this post, we’re going to cover everything you need to know to go paddle boarding around Alexandria.

 

3 Amazing Locations to Paddle Board

Kincaid Beach Area

It’s a little longer to get there than the other locations, but after you make this 25 – 30 min drive, it’ll be well worth it.

Once you park, you’ll walk down the hill to the large beach area. If you don’t have enough boards for everyone, this is a perfect place to hang out while others paddle.

Facing the lake, there’s an island in the distance to your left. Paddling to the island makes for a nice outing. No need to limit it to that route though. Go explore the lake!

To get there from Alexandria, drive west on LA Hwy 28 for 12 miles to Louisiana Highway 121 at Gardner. Turn left and go 0.25 mile to Valentine Road. Turn left on Valentine Road and go 3.5 miles to Forest Road 205, where you will turn left and proceed to the recreation area entrance and fee station.

Click here on your phone for GPS directions. 

Indian Creek Beach

Indian Creek is a beautiful lake right outside Alexandria in Woodworth. It takes about 20 – 25 minutes to get to the beach where you’ll put in.

You’ll be able to park right at the beach which is nice since you don’t have to carry your board and gear far. 

There’s tons of places to explore once you’re on the lake. 

One option is to paddle between the two beaches. When you park, put your board in at that beach. Then paddle to your left along the bank. Go into the first cove on your left and you’ll wind up at another beach. There are lots of coves to go exploring all around the lake.

Click here on your phone for GPS directions. 

Buhlow

If you’re looking to make a quick, simple paddle board trip, head to Lake Buhlow in Pineville. Only 5 minutes from Alexandria, you can park right at the water to put in your board. 

This beautiful lake isn’t that big so if you have a couple of hours, you can explore the whole thing.

Click here on your phone for GPS directions. 

Which Type of Paddle Board Do I Get?

There are two common types of paddle boards that are best suited for the lakes around Alexandria. They’re also perfect for any level of paddle boarder whether you’re a beginner or been doing this for years. There are other specialty boards that we won’t go into here like ones for yoga, racing, fishing and ocean waves.

The two types to choose from are either an All Around or Inflatable

All Around Paddle Board 

This type of board is what most people use. It fits all conditions like rivers, lakes, yoga and even the ocean. It’s nice to be able to use it at Kincaid and also bring it on your beach vacation.

These are an epoxy board which simply means they have a hard surface, like a surfboard.

The benefits of an All Around is the hard surface means you don’t have to inflate them. They are usually sturdier and easier to maneuver than an inflatable. Although many inflatables are just as good.

Why get a solid board (all around):

Performance:  Solid boards travel faster, smoother and with less effort than an inflatable. If paddling fast and far are your priorities, go with a solid board.

Stability: A solid board is a tad more rigid than an inflatable board, which can provide a more stable feel, especially in rough water, wind and waves. Solid boards also tend to ride lower in the water, which can also create a more stable feel.

Storage: Solid boards can take up a lot of space. They are also more difficult to transport. If you have a large garage you’ll have plenty of space. Trucks make it easy to transport. A roof rack on any vehicle works just as well. 

Inflatable Paddle Board

The name says it all. These paddle boards roll up into the size of a sleeping bag. You inflate them when you’re ready to use it. 

The biggest advantage to these is that it’s very easy to transport. You can carry it in a small car and don’t need much space to store it at home. 

An inflatable board is great for all levels, especially beginners. Most of them are very sturdy in the water. 

Why get an inflatable board:

You have limited storage space: Inflatable boards are compact when deflated and can easily be stored in a closet

You’re traveling: If you’re going on a beach trip, you can easily throw these boards in the back. Most storage bags have backpack straps for easy carrying.

Good, Better and Best: All Around Paddle Board

Good All Around Board

You can get on the water with a good paddle board for $450. It may not handle as well in the water as the more expensive options and it’ll be heavy, but it’s still a lot of fun. You’ll be able to do everything and go everywhere the “better” and “best” options allow.

Click here for a good option. 

Better All Around Board

Plastic boards are more affordable, but they are very heavy and lack the performance of other materials. The better options have an EPS foam core that’s wrapped with fiberglass and epoxy. These are fairly lightweight and handle better than the “good” options. The better options are around $800.

Click here for a better option. 

Best All Around Board

Carbon fiber is a lighter and stiffer option, which makes it even lighter to carry and handles better in the water. The boards start at $1,000.

Click here for a better option. 

Good and Better: Inflatable Paddle Board

Inflatable paddle boards generally range from $300 – $800. The higher end boards are going to be more stable and handle better in the water

Here’s a good option for $300.

Here’s a better option for $800.

You Can Rent Boards

It doesn’t take much time to learn to paddle board. So you can rent a few, take the family out on a Saturday and have a blast.

Renting is also a great option to try them out before you buy.

Paddle boards usually rent for $30/day. 

Stop by Run Wild and rent one for the day. 

Learning the Technique

On your first attempts, the board may feel wobbly and unstable. You may even fall a few times. After a little practice, the board will feel very stable. 

Here’s the technique…

  1. Get the board in the calm water deep enough so the fin is not dragging.
  2. Start in the kneeling position half way between the front and back of the board. While kneeling, paddle a few strokes on each side to get the board moving. 
  3. Slowly stand up, one foot at a time. Stay in the center of the board with your feet about shoulder width apart. Both feet should be facing forward (NOT surfer or skateboarder style).
  4. For beginners, it’s actually more stable when the board is moving forward. Don’t rush it, but as soon as you stand up, start paddling. 
  5. Keep a slight bend in the knees.
  6. And BAM! You’re paddle boarding!

Here’s a few more tips on paddling …

Hands on the paddle should be shoulder width apart. One on the top grip, one on the bottom holding the pole.

Rotate your shoulder and body forward to extend your reach. Insert your paddle in the water as far forward as possible. Bury the paddle head in the water.

To stay in a straight line, take a few strokes on each side.

Always remember to switch the position of your hands when your paddle changes sides.

Don’t only use your arms. Allow your back muscles to do the brunt of the work.

The paddles are adjustable in length to fit your height. Size the paddle so it’s 6-10 inches above your head.

Transporting the Boards

Paddle board can be strapped onto any vehicle with car racks. Use straps to tie down the board to the existing rack. 

Don’t have a rack? No problem. A lot of people throw a towel on the roof, lay the board on top, and run the straps through the doors.

It’s also easy to put them in the back of a truck. Still use straps to tie it down. You don’t want the wind to hit the board and fly out.

Let us know how your paddle board adventure goes!

Looking for more active adventures around Alexandria, join our private Facebook group AEX Fit

Want a really cool adventure? Go trail running on the Lakeshore Trail then put in your paddle board right there at the East Kincaid Boat Ramp. For tips on trail running in Alexandria, click here.

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