June 18, 2015 by Joe Kukura

A new outdoor workout that blends core exercise with sport has emerged just two hours north of San Francisco. If you like to keep up with the latest trends in fitness, look to Lakeport, California, where an enterprising Pilates instructor and a stand-up paddleboarding shop have teamed up to fuse these two activities into one hybrid fitness challenge called core boarding.

Core boarding is an unconventional but highly effective technique combining the balance of Pilates—core work that strengthens and tones the midsection—with cardio exercise. The twist is that core boarding is not done on a machine at the gym, but on a paddleboard out on a lake in the great outdoors.

“Core boarding is a unique activity during which we perform core, body weight, balance and cardio challenges all while on a SUP [stand-up paddleboard],” says core boarding instructor Shannan King of Carve Pilates. ”This is a total body workout, all while receiving the relaxing benefits of being in the great outdoors!”

King is no stranger to innovative forms of Pilates; she also teaches equestrian Pilates, a form of Pilates designed specifically for horseback riders. Her core boarding classes typically take place at Highland Springs Reservoir, a 146-acre body of water with a scenic and idyllic wide-open recreation area extremely popular among hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. And since only non-powered boating is permitted, it makes the reservoir an ideal spot for core boarding—a tranquil atmosphere that encourages a deep connection with your mind, body and nature.

But the best part about core boarding is that you don’t even need to own a paddleboard to get started. Stand-up paddleboards are available for a small rental fee through Mendo-Lake SUP, a rental shop in Lakeport.

“We can transport over 20 SUPs and accessories for any adventure,” says Mendo-Lake SUP owner Mike Conser. “Our rental fleet is comprised of only Lakeshore Paddleboard Company flatwater SUPs. These are not your typical $300 to $400 cheap rental SUPs and paddles. Each and every LPC board is a high-end SUP.”

So whether you’re a Pilates enthusiast or have never dared to try anything like Pilates on a paddleboard before, King insists that the one thing that makes core boarding great is that it’s designed for anyone and teaches the ability to strike poses and perform exercises on the water in a gorgeous outdoor setting like Highland Springs Reservoir. And even if you are already a stand-up paddleboarding expert, you may have never experienced a workout quite like this one.