Stand up paddle boarding—commonly referred to as SUP—is rapidly becoming an increasingly popular water sport across the United States. With so many flat water areas inside or within close proximity to Chattanooga, TN, SUP is quickly emerging in this Southern hotspot as both a recreational tourist activity and a serious sport.
According to 2013 Outdoor Industry reports, SUP had the most first-time participants of any sport in the country that year, and “2015 Paddlesports Report” data shows a steady rise of interest since 2010.
On a broad scale, SUP takes many forms—from recreational or fitness flat water paddling, to racing, SUP yoga, ocean surfing on waves, or whitewater paddling.
That said, most newcomers enjoy SUP for the sole reason that you can go at your own pace, while enjoying the natural, beautiful scenery.
One of Chattanooga’s famed flat water pathways includes the Tennessee River Blueway, a 50-mile water trail that runs from the Chickamagua Dam to Nickajack Dam and courses directly through the Tennessee River Gorge—nicknamed the Grand Canyon of Tennessee. The path is not only easily accessible from downtown Chattanooga with fairly low difficulty, it’s absolutely gorgeous. Because the water cuts through high mountains, immaculate cliffs tower above, and lush fauna surrounds you, making your journey feel otherworldly.
Other low-difficulty grade areas of flat water paddling in Chattanooga include Lookout Creek on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee Riverpark, North Chickamauga and Harrison Bay State Park, to name a few.