Paddling Class with an Expert

On our last day away from home, we had the opportunity to attend a class with a paddling expert from Werner Paddles. Danny Mongo was our instructor for a stand up paddle board maneuvering and bracing class at a popular paddle shop in Madison, WI called Rutabaga. We signed up for this months ago, before I even could call myself the proud owner of a SUP.


We awoke from a very stormy night to very ominous morning sky. Packing the vehicle to make our way to Madison, was quite depressing, to say the least.

I really wanted it to be sunny, hot and beautiful for our class. My husband kept reassuring me that it could pass through and be done by the time class started, but I was not so sure. We arrived in Madison, visited my favorite grocery store, Trader Joe’s and stopped for lunch before arriving at Rutabaga. While eating lunch, the skies brightened and the rain stopped.To our surprise, we left the restaurant and noticed it had gotten much more humid and hot outside. HURRAY! Let’s go paddling:)

We were a little early, so of course, because they have whitewater boats, my husband and son just had to try two of them out. They honestly have quite a big selection of anything and everything that floats.




This company, has a nice little lake which is connected to Lake Monona, where you can “test drive” anything in their store. How awesome is that?

So the Jackson Zen and Karma were brought out.


The boys tried them out, each in there first picks and then they switched. They paddled around and decided one was better then the other, but neither was quite ready to part with their own kayaks yet. (Thank Goodness) We really haven no more room for another kayak.


Then it was time for class. We were all introduced to Danny Mongo from Werner Paddles, and all given some basic paddling information before hitting the water.


We took the third level class, because we really needed to know how to do some more advanced techniques before we hit Lake Michigan. I can not say enough about how much we all learned. None of us even knew you could turn quickly the farther back on your board you stand, and just pivot it around. Now, let me remind you, alot of us went for a swim trying this out, including my husband and son. I must admit, I never really mastered this, because I am not confident standing that far back on my board. Maybe in time, possibly.


Danny even got creative and did a yoga standing tree pose on his board, which was spectacular. Then my husband decided to try his yoga pose and did a warrior II. Very nice. If that was not enough, my hubby even stood on his head on his board. Straight up, and then straight in to the lake. Good job honey!!!!!


(In case your wondering, we even played in the pond fountain. Fun,Fun,Fun)

We all left wet and happy. A big thanks goes out to Danny and Amelia for some great fun on the water. Thank You!

If you ever get the chance to take one of his classes, go for it. It was very rewarding. Now we need to find time to get to the big lake and see what we can do.

Happy Paddling Everyone.


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