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The popularity of the modern sport of SUP'ing (stand-up paddleboarding) has its origin in the Hawaiian Islands. Since its relatively recent introduction in Northern Michigan, SUP'ing has quickly gained popularity.
In addition to its fun-factor, SUP'ing is a fantastic core workout, and it's easy to learn. The large size of the board makes it extremely stable, and most novices feel comfortable within just one hour. The sport is especially popular with women. Because of their lower center of gravity, women are often more skilled at paddleboarding than men.
Traverse City is also a hotbed of kiteboarding activity, a sport that harnesses wind power to pull the participant, feet strapped to a small surfboard, across water or snow at high speed. Using the kite and a control harness, the user can perform wakeboarding moves, launch 30-foot jumps above the lake, carve virgin tracks through fine powder snow, or just ride the waves into a Lake Michigan sunset.
With the rapid advancements in kite, board, and rigging technology, the learning curve for kiteboarding has been dramatically improved. What once took months to learn now takes hours. Some beginner classes take place right in town, just steps from the downtown shopping district.
And local car-top carriers, once limited to skis and kayaks, now sport an increasing number of surfboards. Unlike their saltwater counterparts, Lake Michigan waves are wind-driven and storm driven – and the best seasons for surfing are fall and winter, when the breakers can easily reach eight to 10 feet.
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