Paddling at Night
I tend to paddle a bunch at night. I usually work late so getting up super early is rough. Then I work until the day is done, go home & eat dinner with my family. After the kids are down, a couple times a week, I’ll load up and head out to the lake for a workout.
So far, I’ve just paddled at night at Tempe Town Lake. I don’t really see that changing so some of my comments are specific to TTL.
Paddling at night is very, very cool. It’s beautiful out there with all the lights reflecting off the water. There is a bunch of ambient light so it’s easy to see what you need to. Then it’s also dark enough to make it seem like a completely different experience. Obviously there is no sun beating down on you so that is great. It also always seems extra calm. Talking with one of the rangers, I hear that it’s typically quite calm (no wind) in the evenings. That results in a glassy surface which is lovely to paddle on.
If you are going to paddle Tempe Town Lake, it is open for boaters from 5 am – 10 pm so make sure you’re off the water by 10.
As far as details, if you’re going to paddle after sunset, you need a light by law. For paddling SUP, you just need an all direction white light.
There are a few different types of lights. We’ve settled on an elevated light that attaches to the stand up paddle board in a couple different ways. We actually use 1 of 2 different types depending on the board we are paddling.
For my standard epoxy fiberglass board (a SUP ATX lake rider LR model), I use the Paddlers Supply Company LED Kayak Deck Light with Suction Cup Base from REI. It’s about $40. It has a very strong suction cup that sticks to the fiberglass surface. No worries that it will fall off. It’s super easy to put on and super stable. Then it has the clip that I attach to the leash cord just in case anything were to happen.
Now when you have one of the comfort top boards where the padding stretches the full length of the board, the suction cup option isn’t going to work.
The way this light varies is in the attachment mechanism. Since there is no open fiberglass to stick a light to the board, I clip it to the leash anchor point.
I can’t actually get the clip around the bar so I’ve attached a thick zip tie with just a little slack. You cannot attach it directly to the leash cord either as there would be too much slack when attached. So I attach the clip to my zip tie and then I pull the other end of the bungee to eliminate slack and tie it off on the light.
This again works wonderfully.
Tempe Town Lake Night Paddling Tips
If we’re out with friends, we still go out to Boat Beach as I like the feel down there. I like being with the bridges. If you have people that are waiting on the bank, it’s a bit nicer there in the evening than the Marina.
If I’m by myself or 1 other person and basically doing a workout paddle, I go to the Marina. You can drive right up and drop your board and equipment steps away from the water. I drop my stuff on the grass right near the boat ramp. Then it’s easy to park very, very close.
I typically either head west toward the lighted bridges or on occasion will go east toward the other bridges. If you go west toward the lighted bridge, rounding a pylon and heading back to the boat ramp will give you a workout of about 1.1 miles.
Then getting out at the Marina is a breeze. Just walk your board up off the boat ramp to the grassy spot grab your car, strap your board on and you are ready to go.
One other bonus of paddling from the Marina at night is that you don’t have to deal with any sand which is nice.
Another random tip: I now don’t worry about stashing my flip flops anymore. I just chuck them on the front of the board pad and they don’t even move over the course of a workout.