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Dixon native's guidebook presents the ins and outs of stand up paddleboarding

Published: Thursday, June 26, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
Ben Shaw

DIXON – What’s SUP is what’s happening on the water these days.

SUP – stand up paddleboarding – is the subject of a new book by Dixon-area native and SUP aficionado Ben Shaw.

Shaw, 38, of Lost Nation, has written “Wisconsin’s Statewide Guide to Stand Up Paddleboarding.”

“Stand up paddleboarding is the fastest-growing water sport in the USA, and it’s exploding in the Midwest,” Shaw writes. It’s an ancient Hawaiian sport, brought back to life by surfers such as Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama and Rick Thomas.

His 120-page guidebook identifies more than 50 trips and “SUP sweet spots” in the nearby Badger State, via maps and QR codes, and by region and water type.

With easy-to-follow text and color and black-and-white photos, Shaw also provides instructions on how to SUP, how to SUP with Fido (he paddles with his pooch, NooRoongGi the beagle), and how to SUP in an environmentally considerate manner. It also has a list of stand up paddleboard retailers.

Shaw’s no stranger to the sport: He’s been stand up paddleboarding for 7 years.

The Illinois native, Shaw Media’s vice president and chief technology officer, and son of company CEO Tom Shaw, chose to write about the sport from a Wisconsin perspective because “Wisconsin is a natural playground for SUP,” and at the moment, the sport is a little more popular in our northern neighbor, he said.

Wisconsin “has every kind of water an SUPer could want: lakes, rivers and the coast of both Lake Michigan and Lake Superior,” Shaw said.

Still, he has his favorite Illinois SUPer spots, namely the Pecatonica and Kishwaukee rivers, both of which are within a few hours’ drive of the Sauk Valley.

And, given the growing popularity of the sport, an Illinois guidebook won’t be far behind, Shaw said.

“SUP is easy to learn, a great workout, one style of surfing that doesn’t require a coast, and it’s perfectly suited to the water trails of Wisconsin,” he said.

To get a copy

"Wisconsin's Statewide Guide to Stand Up Paddleboarding" is available at Books on First, 202 W. First St. in Dixon, for $15, or from the publisher, Trails Books of Boulder, Colorado, (bigearthpublishing.com) for $18.95.

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