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Standup paddleboarding has exploded in the Southern Appalachians, and Chris Tilghman has been there from the beginning. Tilghman is an all-around boards-man who grew up surfing at Myrtle Beach, moved to the North Shore of Hawaii for five years, then settled down in Blue Ridge, Ga., where he opened Surf Blue Ridge, one of the first companies to guide SUP trips in our region. Tilghman is as comfortable shredding class III-IV whitewater on his SUP as he is SUP surfing breaks on the coast. This year, he’s planning to offer multi-day guided SUP trips on the lakes and mild rivers of North Georgia. We asked Tilghman to serve up his favorite pieces of gear, whether he’s ripping wave trains or paddling deep into the backcountry.


Kinetic Surf Designs Evenflow

This 12’6” tour style of board is all I paddle on flat water anymore. I like the nose design because it has more rocker than other touring boards, which allows you to cut through the chop a lot better. It’s also more narrow than other touring boards, which requires a bit more balance, but it’s still stable enough to fish from. Plus, it’s shaped in Myrtle Beach. $1,200;


Kialoa Aloha

This is my go-to paddle. It’s adjustable, but still affordable, and everything this Oregon-based company does is made in the U.S. It’s always nice to support that when you can. $149;

North Shore Inc. Garb Tie Downs

Getting the board to the lake can be the toughest part of SUP. These tie downs make it easy. They’re a bungy/strap combo that are quicker to use than your standard rooftop straps. $33;


Corran Addison Waist Leash

This is designed for paddling whitewater, but it’s good for any river that has shallow sections. The leash is coiled so it doesn’t drag in the water [and get snagged on rocks or strainers]. The waist strap is easy to find and release if you’re swimming through whitewater, and it will “self-release” if you can’t get to the strap in time. $42;


TASC Traverse UV shirt

The TASC Traverse keeps the sun off your skin with UPF 50+ performance wear built for the outdoors. Made from bamboo-based blends, the soft fabric is also lightweight and breathable, regulating body temperature, blocking odor, and pulling away moisture. $77;

Tahoe LR 50 oz_gear view_FIX

Camelbak Tahoe LR

This lumbar pack was designed specifically for paddleboarding. It sits low enough to wear a PFD above it, and it even comes equipped with a paddle holster. $70;

Mountain Khakis Swiftwater Board Short_FIX


The relaxed-fitting Swiftwater board shorts are quick-drying, cool, and comfy on the water. $79;


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