Inaugural Cooper River Park Paddle

A self-supported trip created by Soggychurros

Trip Overview

After what felt like years of waiting, I finally received my stand up paddleboard yesterday. Gave it a test inflate and everything looked good (though pumping manually was so miserable that I instantly got on Amazon to buy an electric pump as soon as I finished). I had already decided I'd be practicing for the first time on the Cooper River, so I packed up a dry bag and some snacks and headed out around 10am this morning.

It took a good 25-30 minutes to get the SUP pumped up and everything situated, but I was soon out on the water. I have never been on a SUP in my life and I wasn't confident I could get on from the raised dock without falling in, so I just waded in and launched right from the bank.

And off I went. I was hesitant to try standing up at first. My husband had told me the Cooper River would be "clean", but, while I'm sure it's not overly polluted, it's still... kind of gross. I'm not a very outdoorsy person, what can I say? In any event, I really didn't want to fall in. I tried to stand up once right away, figuring if I was going to fall in, I might as well get it over with. I was able to get up, but felt very unstable and dropped back down to my knees to avoid going in. After spending a few minutes familiarizing myself a bit more with how to handle the SUP (and being chased and hissed at by a very angry goose), I tried again and managed to get up and stay up. I set off in earnest on my maiden voyage.

I had intended to make it all the way to Driscoll Pond, which was pretty ambitious for me. It's about 4 miles, and I was going out and back for a total of 8 planned miles. Things started off well and I was getting increasingly confident on my SUP. There were an awful lot of geese and so many new goslings, but I was mostly able to stay out of their way after that first unpleasant encounter. There are some quite shallow spots, but I was able to maneuver without getting off the board.

All in all, it was a really lovely, easy paddle and I was having a grand time until my ankle leash (which I was not wearing, but was accidentally trailing in the water behind the board) got caught on a submerged branch a little past Grove St. Took me a while to figure out what was even going on, but eventually managed to get myself unstuck. Shortly after that, it became clear that it was too shallow ahead to go any further without getting up to carry the SUP, so I decided to turn back early. My hands and shoulders were starting to hurt anyway. Good thing the paddle back downstream was so much less work.

In total I ended up doing about 7 miles from the west end of the park to just past Grove St and back, and it took a little under 4 hours. 10/10. Had a great time. No one else was out on the water, so I had it all to myself. I saw tons of fuzzy little goslings, quite a few blue herons, some very cute ducks, a couple of fish that leaped right out of the water, and one small turtle. Can't wait to get my dog out there with me. He'd love to see a turtle haha.

Safety Notes

Watch for fish hooks hanging in the trees on the east side of the park and steer clear of the geese ;).

Trip Details

  • Trip Dates: 6/11/2024
  • Sport/Activity: Stand Up Paddling
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location