Go ahead, walk on water: Paddleboarding in SJ

Margo Pellegrino paddles near her home at Upper Aetna Lake in Medford Lakes.   (Photo: Jose F. Moreno/Staff Photographer)

Margo Pellegrino paddles near her home at Upper Aetna Lake in Medford Lakes. (Photo: Jose F. Moreno/Staff Photographer)

Worldwide, stand-up paddleboarding (aka SUP) on oceans, lakes and rivers is experiencing a revival and attracting new, enthusiastic fans. It’s becoming a favorite summertime sport in South Jersey as well.

Evelyn Dichter of Medford tried stand-up paddleboarding for the first time in Ocean City, Maryland, a few summers ago. Instantly hooked, she wanted to enjoy  the sport closer to home.

“I love the freedom of being able to explore different areas and just being outdoors,” she said. “I paddle on various lakes in Medford and Medford Lakes because it's convenient to where I live.”

Through paddling around the calm waters of Medford Lakes, Dichter has had the opportunity to see her own neighborhood with renewed perspective. “I like exploring new lakes, especially ones with homes situated on them. You may think you know what a home looks like by driving by it on the street, but paddle by the backyard — and you will be amazed!”

Professional kayaker and paddleboarder Margo Pellegrino lives in Medford Lakes. She is a clean-water and healthy-ocean activist who started stand-up paddleboarding in the summer of 2008. Since then, she has explored many waterways in the region.

“I SUP anywhere from LBI on down to Ocean City …  and a few points further south. Corson’s Inlet is my favorite spot because sometimes you see seals and dolphins. I also paddle on the Rancocas River, as it’s relatively close by to my home, and the little lake behind my house.”

“I think SUP is taking over the planet. The Medford Lakes Educational Foundation even (had) a race as part of their family fun day fundraiser. Folks are really getting into it,” she said.

“Where I paddle on the Rancocas is also kind of fun,'' Pellegrino said. "The north branch of the Rancocas goes through downtown Mount Holly … It is especially fun to paddle during lunchtime hours when the lawyers and guys in suits are strolling by, and I’m in my comfy paddle gear enjoying myself on the amazing resource that they hardly pay attention to … unless someone is SUP-ing on by.”