Now, there are many things the active outdoor person can do in Rostock. While the beach is particularly appealing and warmly welcoming (especially in summer) you may want to try out something else that still brings a lot to the table for not only the nature and water lovers among you but also for those who seek a good workout: stand up paddling, or in short: SUP.
For me, stand up paddling, which means you stand on a surfboard-like board with a single paddle you use to navigate on the water, began as an exercise due to a back injury I suffered many years ago. My physiotherapist recommended I strengthen the lower, deep back muscles. And I wouldn’t have believed you if you had told me back then that this sport can become quite exhausting! An old friend of mine and professional athlete gave me the introduction on how to operate the board and paddle, and while I’m certainly not unfit for exercise due to other regular activities, I underestimated the physical effort of the sport tremendously. Still, I wanted to move in style on the water and pushed on until I was so exhausted I couldn’t go on at pace any faster than that of a lethargic turtle with the main propulsion soon the Warnow itself, not me, nor the paddle. I still enjoyed it and definitely felt that unusual kind of workout-feeling a day or two later – probably not exactly what my physiotherapist had in mind when she sent me to the SUP rental.
There was something else I discovered, though, aside from how energy-depleting just a little faster pace could be (think of breast-stroke swimming), how easy it is when you go slow and how demanding it is as soon as you pick up the pace even by a miniscule amount. I discovered that as soon as you stop paddling as a workout you notice the serenity and beauty of nature around you.
The sun shone and had the clear blue sky all for itself with not a single cloud within eyeshot. The water lapped against the board, moving me constantly but slowly up and down; I saw people taking a walk at the riverbank and birds flying towards the reeds, eager to catch themselves some insects for lunch. And I was still doing a good workout for my back without even noticing it: The constant balancing actually requires some immense effort from your back muscles, and because the beginner boards are quite broad, it is almost impossible to fall off.
There are more things you can do on the board. Do you like yoga? How about increasing the difficulty levels and doing it on the board? You always knew that sooner or later you’re going to need new challenges, and the best motivator for not falling off, is a cooling, soggy surprise. Got enough confidence already? Bring along a book and read it while drifting slowly wherever the Warnow wants you to go. Race your friends or just meditate – be creative!
Despite all the love I have for the sport, I spent way more time at the beach last summer. Going there by bike and going for a swim was great exercise, too, and has been rewarded with some beautiful sundowns that coloured the sky in all kinds of purples, reds and oranges, in a pattern devoid of anything but pure emotion and beauty sprinkled across the skies. It’s a delightful and low-cost alternative for students, since going “supping” can be quite costly at around twelve Euro per hour.
However, everyone who shares even the slightest love for water should try it out for themselves. You’re not only doing your body a favour. Exploring the riverbanks of the Warnow might also offer some new sights and perspectives even a long-time “Rostocker” haven’t seen before.
You can find the SUP rental in Gaffelschonerweg, on the “Holzhalbinsel”, and in Börgerende, Warnemünde.