SUP Caloundra

byJane Chapman-24 Apr 2017

Jane Chapman wrangles an SUP around Currimundi. 

Stand up paddleboards (SUPs) have arrived. In fact, they are everywhere. You must be living under a rock if you haven’t noticed these cool, vertical, water riders at beaches and waterways across the Sunshine Coast. This on-trend, aquatic pastime is growing in popularity and is appealing to both surf and non-surf fanatics. You are just as likely to come across a SUP rider catching a huge wave in the surf as you are gracefully gliding across an open waterway.

SUP surf fanatic riding a big wave
SUP surf fanatic riding a big wave

I love a new experience, especially one where I can get outdoors and immerse myself in the natural environment. SUPping was the perfect new adventure for me, and I thought I’d take my husband along for the ride.

Currimundi Lake is a popular SUP spot on the southern end of the Coast and it’s also the starting point for the Sunshine Coast’s Lake Trail. I contacted the awesome guys down at KiteThrills Currimundi to help me learn the basics. The team not only hire out a variety of boards by the hour, but provide training and encouragement for novices, and they also have a wealth of aquatic and local knowledge.  

Currimundi Lake
Currimundi Lake

Monday morning came around. The sky was blue, the wind was still, the temperature was warm. It was time for my SUP date. My husband I were SUP novices and Jarrett, aka Kitethrills Currimundi SUP oracle, assured us that the high tide and lack of wind equalled “Perfect conditions for beginners to take on the Currimundi Lake Trail". Great!

I’m keen, excited, and a little nervous as Jarrett runs through the basics. SUP riders make it look so effortless, and I’m not what you would describe as a natural in the water. I’m hoping that I won’t fall off and make a complete fool of myself.

Currimundi Lake | The start of the Sunshine Coast Council Currimundi Lake Trail
Currimundi Lake, the start of the Sunshine Coast Council Currimundi Lake Trail.

SUP originated in Polynesia and became popular at Waikiki beach, Hawaii in the 60s. Addicts claim SUP is not only a great workout, but it improves balance and core stability too. Another draw card for the pastime is that it doesn’t rely on the water conditions being perfect, unlike its surfing cousin. I think of the sad looking surfers I see when the surf is bad, staring longingly out to sea, waiting for the surf to return and the surf God to smile. On a SUP, you can hit the water practically every day of the year.

We hump our oversized, epoxy boards and long paddles down to the water’s edge. Mounting the board, I felt clumsy. I was sure I was going to fall straight in.

I had to remember the basics:

  • Start on your knees - check;
  • Feet hip width and over the centre - check;
  • Eyes on the horizon so you don’t fall in - check;
  • Use your legs - check; and
  • Straight arms, soft knees and twist your core - check.

I found that by using the paddle, like a tightrope walker uses a pole, I managed to stand up. After a wobble or two and a play around with paddle strokes I was off. Schools of tiny fish, darted around in the shallows and I realise I’m pretty slow, unlike my gondolier husband who speeds off exploring in no time. So much for a date.

The seven stage Currimundi Lake Trail zigzags up and down the creek, with several points of interest and nature spots along the way (see the map below). Following the trail upstream, I’m blown away as a couple of stingrays swim beside our boards. The trail is about 6 km in total and at the rate I’m going, it’s going to take all day.

After 25 minutes of gentle paddling, and a journey under the Nicklin Way bridge it’s time for a rest at Spot #2, The Promenade. It’s pretty, calm and boasts numerous Black Sheoaks. It’s easy to forget the busy Nicklin Way and I’m lucky enough to see and hear (you can’t miss their distinctive squawk) some noisy Cockatoos. A short break and dip in the warm lakem then it’s time to set off again.

Getting my balance.
Getting my balance.

The next pit stop is Spot #4, Paperbark Point, which features a secluded seat, perfect for spying on the many species of birdlife which use the lake and fringing vegetation for food and shelter (look out for Royal Spoonbills feeding in the muddy sediment, brown honeyeaters and rainbow lorikeets indulging in Wallum Banksia nectar, and Spangled Drongos happily playing in the trees).

Crossing the waterway, a school of jumping fish bounce along the water’s top, like skimming stones. I see Spot #5 - the Noel Burns Pontoon. This foreshore reserve provides an ideal shady location for a picnic or barbecue (there are public barbecues, toilets and water here). If you look closely you can see the unusual cheese tree with its circular cheese-shaped fruit. I wish we had supplies as I would have loved to have stayed here for a while, to enjoy refreshments and the peaceful scene.

The trail is about 6 km in total and I have to confess that it’s probably better suited to a kayak or canoe. SUPing is pretty slow going and it’s difficult to take supplies with you.

I ran out of time to complete the 7 stages and decided to turn back at Noel Burns Pontoon, only completing the short circuit.

Even though the going is slow, I really love the sense of quiet and feeling of serenity you get when SUPping along the waterways. The only sounds are the paddles splashing in the water and the hum of nature. I often run along the footpaths of Currimundi and can’t get over how special it is viewing the nature reserve, walkways, secluded beaches, trees and wildlife from this new perspective.

Returning to home base I realise I hadn’t even fallen in can you believe it!  My husband had a small slip, which was rather funny, and made me feel a bit better about being the slow duck to his powerful swan. I didn’t get a high energy workout, but I did feel the workout through my core. I reckon that taking the SUP into the surf at Currimundi patrolled surf beach would be the way to ramp up the adrenalin and intensity.

Currimundi Lake by water is a nature lover’s paradise. The abundance of birds, water life, natural fauna, trees and flowers really add to the experience. My personal favourites were the numerous stingrays which swam beside our boards, the jumping fish which bounced along the water’s top like skimming stones and the schools of tiny fish which darted around in the shallows.

To finish the date, I was treated to a healthy brunch of smashed avo on sourdough and locally made Tim Adams coffee (yum) at Beachside Espresso (located inside Kitethrills HQ).

Beachside Espresso
Beachside Espresso

And it turns out that Kitethrills have a lot more to offer than simple SUP hire and expertise. SUP yoga classes are held every week, group sunset SUP paddles every Thursday at 5pm (which are free for the SUP community and only cost board hire for newbies, BYO drinks for afterwards) and there are a heap of kayak, double kayak, surfboard and body board experiences too. I’ve not even mentioned kite surfing and the experienced teachers at the Kitethrills Kite Surf school. Wow, so many new and exciting water activities to try right on my doorstep.

Things to note

  1. Take a hat
  2. Take sunscreen
  3. Take a waterproof camera if possible

Benefits of SUPping

  1. Core stability
  2. Balance
  3. Relaxation
  4. Connecting with nature

Other SUP trails nearby

  1. Golden Beach
    Depart from Military Jetty and glide along the backs of Golden Beach with views of Bribie Island and the Glass House Mountains.
  2. Pumicestone Passage
    Depart Tripcony Quay and SUP with the Glass House Mountains as a back drop. This ecological estuary and marine park features an array of lush aquatic life including dugongs, dolphins, and turtles, not to mention the birds and kangaroos.
  3. Tooway Creek, Moffat Beach
    Depart from Tooway boat ramp and enjoy the fish, birds and bushland scenery as you glide along the creek.

Thanks to Jarrett and Mike at KiteThrills for their knowledge and images.

Who rents SUP Caloundra?

1 Watson Street, Currimundi, QLD, 4551, Australia
T:  61 7 5438 8118
M: 0490 372 182

Golden Beach Hire
Corner Esplanade and Gregory Street, Golden Beach QLD 4551
T: 0401 657 830

Sunset SUP with Kitethrills every Thursday from 5 pm.
Sunset SUP with Kitethrills every Thursday from 5 pm.



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