What do you get when you combine dogs with water? Wet dog smell? Yes. But, you can also find in it your newest paddling partner.
For the past four years, stand up paddle board instructor Samantha Eastburn has merged canines and water sports in her unique SUP Pups classes. In the waterways around Liberty Station, owners and dogs set sail around San Diego Bay and gain a love for the water together.
As a water sports fanatic, it was only natural for Eastburn to turn her passion into a career. After graduating from Arizona State University, she found herself in San Diego as a jet ski tour guide who spent her off-days with her rescue dog Jack. One day, Jack joined Eastburn on her paddleboard and has spent very few days away since.
Though he was timid at first, Samantha helped Jack find his comfort in the ocean. Now, years later, Jack joins Eastburn in her private SUP Pups classes at The SUP Connection, located at The Courtyard Marriott in Liberty Station.
Today, Eastburn provides full, hour long lessons for owners and their dogs and is certified by the World Paddle and International Surfing Associations to provide in depth instructions.
"It's very important for me to equip the people I instruct with as much information as possible," she said. "We go over vocabulary, how to to balance, how to paddle and everything step by step. My goal is that they are able to come back with their dogs on their own and be ready to paddle board together without my help."
Though each dog and owner duo is different, Eastburn says that every kind of dog, no matter their size, can conquer the open water.
"I've worked with almost every type of dog, but each dog has their own unique personality," she said. "We spend time making sure they're comfortable on their boards so both the dog and the owner can have a nice experience."
Eastburn offers classes for $55 every day at 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Each lesson comes with life vests for both the dog and owner, GoPro pictures and views of the downtown skyline and Coronado Bridge.
On Saturday, June 25, The SUP Connection will host a Doggie Paddle Into Summer event at Liberty Station. From noon to 4 p.m., guests are invited to play games, explore doggie vendors, enjoy a barbeque lunch and partake in group SUP Pup classes, all for $20-35.
For more information about SUP Pups, visit sandiegosuprentals.com/sup-pups.
The SUP Connection: 2592 Laning Rd., Liberty Station, 619.365.4225