City of Nanaimo’s Parks and Recreation department will offer paddleboarding lessons, including a number of lessons with instructor JD Girard. (KARL YU/The News Bulletin)

Active Life: Paddleboarding a full-body workout, with video

Paddleboard classes available at morning and evening in Nanaimo

With the mercury rising and summer approaching, paddleboarding is a way to enjoy the warmer temperature and waters.

City of Nanaimo’s Parks and Recreation department has a number of new programs for people looking to take up the activity, which involves a surfboard-like device and a paddle.

Paddleboarding programming include classes for beginners, full-day tours and ones in the evening, according to Deborah Beck, parks and rec program coordinator.

“We’ve expanded our paddleboard programs to provide lots of variety for different age groups, including different types of paddleboarding,” said Beck. “We have freshwater, ocean and whitewater this year, so paddleboarding on the river. We also have sunset and sunrise paddleboarding experiences and a paddleboard tour, plus paddleboard for youth, family and adults.”

JD Girard, certified instructor and owner and guide with Brackish Adventures, will teach lessons and said it is “good full-body training.”

“It’s not just like kayaking, for example, with upper-body, core, big movement for the upper body, but nothing for legs,” said Girard. “Legs are really involved for paddleboarding. You need to stabilize. It’s not like standing on land. You have to keep your knees bent, always working with those legs, working with the upper body as well.”

Girard said the waters are calmer in the early morning and evening, making for a more enjoyable experience. For the early risers, there will be coffee and tea and it’s a nice way to start the day. For those paddling in the evening, it’s a great way to wind down, he said.

“It’s a little more of a smooth paddling tour for that one,” said Girard. “Enjoy the last sunlight of the day and then go home, go for a nice meal and then go to bed.”

There will be an early morning, women-only program as well, said Girard. It runs on Thursdays, beginning July 13, and again coffee and tea will be included.

Equipment will be provided for those that sign up and participants should wear a swimsuit and have a change of clothes.

Girard said there are other benefits as well. Since paddleboarders are high on the water, they can see a few feet under the water.

“If there’s seals, if there’s starfish, if there’s anything, you will see that under your board,” said Girard.

For more information on the parks and recreation department’s paddleboard offerings, including pricing, please see the activity guide at

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