How to SUP with your PUP

Last year we received an email from Maria Christina Schultz sharing her story of learning how to stand up paddle with her dog Riley (aka “the SUP PUP”). Her story spoke of a desire to take up a new sport and it had to be one that Riley – her Australian Shepherd sidekick –  could enjoy as well. Stand up paddling naturally fit the bill so the duo quickly picked up the sport. Maria then wrote about a vet visit where she learned that Riley had hip dysplasia. The doctor said one of the best activities to keep his legs strong would be swimming. Stand up paddling became cemented as their sport of choice to both have fun as well as stay healthy.

Through her experiences over the past 2 years, Maria and Riley have learned a lot about how to enjoy the activity of stand up paddleboarding. So much in fact that we later learned Maria was working on writing the guide on how to get into the sport and even more importantly share this adventure safely and enjoyably with your dog!


“How to SUP With Your PUP: A guide to stand up paddleboarding with your dog” is now out and we got our paws on a copy! We liked it so much that we thought we’d write our first ever Ruffwear Book Review on it and share it with all of you!

At first glance, we thought… awesome pictures! As dog people, we all love good images of dogs having fun and this book is full of practical and inspirational photography. But diving deeper into this helpful guide, you will find not just tips on how to paddleboard, but tips specifically from the perspective of including a dog in the activity. Maria does an excellent job of walking you through the factors you need to consider when you are just getting into the sport, while highlighting the details that will also make the activity more safe and enjoyable for your dog. The decisions she helps you with include what kind of board to consider based on the size of your dog, what accessories you need and any safety items to be sure to have.

Once you have the gear figured out, Maria and Riley get into the fun of the whole process – training you and your dog for the fun to come. “How to SUP With Your PUP” includes training schedules designed to get from dry-land training to the water in a safe and methodical way so that by the time you hit the water, your dog is already comfortable with the board and where to be positioned on the board.

Lastly, and most importantly, there are great troubleshooting tips including what do you WHEN you and your dog fall into the water. Note the “when” and not “if”. Falling in is part of the fun!

“How to SUP With Your PUP” is an excellent guide for anyone considering the sport of stand up paddleboarding and especially anyone who wants to share the fun with their dogs. This book will not teach you how to paddle but what you need to get started and how to get you and your dog comfortable together on the board.

For some great tips on how to paddle, click here: Werner Paddles Paddling Tips

Thanks Maria for providing a great guide to stand up paddleboarding with you dog. As one of the world’s fastest growing water based activities, this book will serve as a great resource for many as they explore their local lakes, rivers and coastlines with their four-legged friends.

For more info, visit and you can purchase the book at Amazon HERE.

Dominion Riverrock You can meet Maria and Riley in person at the Ruffwear booth at this weekend’s (May 17-19, 2013) Dominion Riverrock in Richmond, VA. Maria and Riley will be doing demos in and out of the water, selling their book and signing books too if you ask! For more info on the Riverrock visit

6 thoughts

  1. Awesome! only Bardia hasn’t quite mastered his gangly limbs yet so I don’t think we’re ready for paddle boarding together. I’m quite nervous just about getting him in a kayak this summer.

    1. Weena,

      Start slow, and start training on land! The principles that we use in How to SUP With Your PUP can also be applied to kayaks and canoes.

  2. Thank you! My dog (an active, water-loving Springer) was also diagnosed with hip dysplacia this year and it has been a real challenge to ensure that he continues to have the quality of life that he has always enjoyed – whilst recognising his physical limitations. This gives me hope!

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