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Stand Up Paddling in New Mexico?



My name is Michael Pogzeba and I’m a wind and water addict. Welcome to my four step program  to get you into the better fitness, and more have more fun exploring New Mexico and the southwest water ways. The 4 steps are: 1) get registered, 2) get educated, 3) get geared up, and 4) get on the water! You’re going to love the adventures you will have stand up paddling where ever you go.

My background as a water sports instructor include a 4 year tour of duty in the U.S. Coast Guard as navigator doing search & rescue and law enforcement on the east and west coasts. I am a certified scuba diving instructor. I currently teach windsurfing and stand up paddling in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. I started windsurfing in 1983 while in the Coast Guard. I began teaching after I joined the New Mexico Windsurfing Association about 10 years ago. I also maintain CPR and first aid certifications. I am a dealer of over 20 lines stand up paddling, windsurfing, kite boarding and land-sailing equipment and accessories.


Most Common Question

Where do you stand up paddle in the desert? That’s the most common question I get asked when I tell people that I am TOTALLY addicted to stand up paddling. The answer is simple. We have lots of wonderful lakes and rivers around the state to paddle. A perfect example is the Rio Grande right here in our own backyard. There is always the old standby Cochiti Lake (pronounced: ko-chee-tee) just 45 minutes north of the big A and 25 minutes from Santa Fe. You’ll find plenty of board heads exploring the shoreline or floating the gentle current of the river and soaking up the beautiful New Mexico sun.


A Brief History

Stand up paddling originated at least 1000 years ago by the ancient Polynesians and Hawaiians as a means of transportation between islands and as a fishing platform. They would also frolic in the waves for recreation when they weren’t out gathering food. The sport is enjoying extraordinary renewed interest world wide and is now the fastest growing water sport in the world.


Gear & Safety

Modern technology has made it possible to enjoy stand up paddling on rivers, lakes and the oceans. Boards are durable and fast and come in a large variety of shapes, sizes and constructions to suit every paddling style, environment and purpose. The advancements in equipment, as in skiing and bicycling, have made the sport safer and even more accessible to more people of every age.


There are numerous board constructions and price ranges. They include rigid inflatable built like commercial rafts (even cheaply made types probably better suited to swimming pools), roto-molded plastic similar to many of todays kayaks, epoxy and fiberglass, carbon fiber lay-up, and carbon-kevlar. The predominant consideration when purchasing a board(s) is the places you plan to spend most of your time paddling. If you will be on rivers or require portability the consider inflatables. They are extremely durable and take some abuse while still performing admirably. If you paddle lakes and oceans you will probably want a hard board. Next in line is the shape of the board. Are you touring, racing, surfing, do yoga & fitness routines? The type of construction material and the amount of shape engineering definitely affects the price of boards and you will truly get what you pay for, buy the best you can afford so you can enjoy your investment for years and years. Don’t forget to add a leash so your board doesn’t get away from you if you fall.


Paddles also come in similar constructions. The weight and stiffness of a paddle are most affected by the construction. Aluminum and plastic are preferred construction for low price and durability while carbon fiber and some wood and fiberglass save weight but add to cost. If you want to paddle longer without as much fatigue then buy the lighter paddles. The more expensive paddles will surely perform better and your local dealer can help you find the balance between cost and performance that’s right for you.


Safety equipment includes life jackets (PFD’s), leashes, whistles, strobe lights & chem.-lights, throw ropes. Your board also serves as a safety device for floatation. Many states , including New Mexico REQUIRE the use of safety equipment so consult your local laws and always be prepared (Semper Paratus)


The Paddle Surfing Lessons and Adventure Experience

When you come out for your first paddling experience you can expect to learn paddling basic safety considerations, equipment handling basics, basic paddling & turning techniques, balance tips, and have a splashing FUN time.