NEWPORT BEACH — Most locals shy away from lessons aimed for tourists. The thought of a shaggy-haired beach boy demonstrating how to pop up on a surfboard can seem a little corny.
But a new club in Newport Beach is hoping to avoid such corniness. It welcomes beginners to stand-up paddling, the sport steadily gaining popularity.
SUP Dog (short for "stand-up paddle" and a play on "what's up, dog") is the name of a loose group of paddlers who gather weekly for evening harbor paddles and weekend events. Mandy McDonnell, the club's organizer, started paddling with friends and then decided to invite beginners to join.
"Every time I'd get back from a paddle, I heard someone say, 'I've been wanting to try it out,'" said McDonnell, who grew up sailing in Newport Harbor. "But they might not want to go to a rental place, or they're intimidated to try it on their own."