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As stand-up paddleboarding grows in popularity, more lessons offered in Roanoke Valley

Smith Mountain Lake, Philpott Lake offer new opportunities on the water

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FRANKLIN CO., Va – We're learning more about a sport that's quickly growing in popularity in the Roanoke Valley, stand-up paddleboarding. From Smith Mountain Lake to Philpott Lake and even the Roanoke River, there are a lot of new opportunities in our area to get involved.

Although it has been around for decades, stand-up paddleboarding didn't officially become a sport until about 15 or 20 years ago. Since then, the sport has seen a huge increase in the number of people getting involved.

The huge increase in interest is what's leading Franklin County Parks and Recreation to team up with Roanoke Outside and a handful of other organizations to put on training courses this summer.

"There's a lot of safety things that are covered as well as technique things that are good to know as that foundational basis before getting started on your own out there with boat traffic and people zipping by you," says Matt Ross, the outdoor recreation manager for Franklin County.

Courses this summer include learning to paddleboard, a 1.5-hour class where the basics of the sport are taught by a seasoned professional. There's also another set of events, called the Tuesday Evening Social Classes, which work to help people get more comfortable on their boards and connect with others interested in the sport.

Many rental locations require people to have some experience before hitting the water.

For more details on the classes and how to sign up, click here.