I've been meaning to look into SUP (Stand Up Paddling) for a while now. I figured that I'd first hire a board to check if it's something I'd actually do over the long-term - before buying a board, paddle, roof racks, waterproof camera housing, and all the other bits and pieces one ends up needing to get properly into a sport.
I arrived at SUP Cape Town at 9am and handed over my R200 for the hour of fun that lay ahead.
One of the staff gave Riaan (a friend and long-time colleague) and I a quick overview of how to stand on a board, paddling technique, and safety on the canal. We hopped down from the side of the canal onto the huge boards and within about 15 seconds felt fairly comfortable and confident enough to paddle along towards the One and Only hotel.
Paddling against the light headwind was a little strenuous, but not too significantly so. It did however cause me to congratulate myself on postponing the trip I'd planned to take on Sunday afternoon when the wind was somewhat more angry.
We paddled along the canals watching schools of fish as they swam beneath us. We kept to the right of the canal, dodging the occasional City Sightseeing boats that puttered past (their wake providing a few moments of excitement as our boards bobbed and weaved beneath our feet).
The paddle up to the One and Only, and back to the launch site took about half an hour, and the paddle to the CTICC and Westin Hotel and back took about another 30 minutes.
I'd recommend you don't take your phone (or camera) on the board. While it's fairly easy to stay above water, I horsed around a little too much and managed to lose balance momentarily, causing me to topple into the canal (much to the amusement of a small group of tourists). :)
Visit SUP Cape Town at the V&A Waterfront canals, over the road from the Caltex petrol station at the V&A's primary entrance. They also have a gazebo on Clifton 4th where they hire boards out at the slightly-reduced rate of R150 per hour.