If you live near a body of water deeper than a puddle, you’ve probably seen some crazy coot moving across the horizon, a long paddle sweeping first on one side, then the other. You may even have seen your local yoga studio advertising Stand Up Paddle Yoga.

Kim Ferguson and Gilbert on SUP

Kim takes her dog Gilbert along when she explores her local harbor.

In Stand Up and Paddle: 10 Tips for fun and Fitness, I called us 21st century gondoliers, though we are not usually carrying passengers. So why is this awkward-looking sport growing so fast? Here are my top 10 reasons to give it a try.

  1. You can launch from almost anywhere: beach, bulkhead, dock, or ramp.

  2. It’s easy to learn. If you can walk up a set of stairs, you can paddle a standup board.

  3. Wildlife viewing is fantastic; you can see all around you—and down below the surface.

  4. Like walking, it can be a great cardio workout—or just a leisurely water-top stroll.

  5. You can take your pet along.

  6. Exploring a harbor, bay, lake, pond, or stream is easy and fun.

  7. Inflatable SUPs can double as an extra tender or water toy.

  8. It’s a great way to cool off on hot summer days.

  9. Paddleboards are narrower than a rowboat and draw only about six inches, so they’re perfect for narrow or shallow waterways.

  10. It’s the fastest, easiest, cheapest way to get out on the water.

Bonus for fishermen (are you listening, Lenny Rudow?) Watch this video and start fishing from a SUP.

Got a reason to add to my list? Still asking "why SUP"? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.