Rolley Lake Paddle

Quick Facts

Paddle Report: September 2020

For the Labor Day long weekend, we stayed close and did short-distance day trips. At our friend David and Rofie’s suggestion, we headed out to Rolley Lake for a leisurely afternoon and BBQ dinner.

Sandy beach at Rolley Lake.

Rolley Lake is a small lake about 1km in diameter, with very calm water ideal for a beginner paddler to practice. It’s much less crowded than other popular lake parks with beaches, such as Sasamat Lake, Buntzen Lake, or Alice Lake; even on a Saturday afternoon of a long weekend, we had no trouble finding parking and even a picnic table.

There is a trail that circles the lake, which takes 40 minutes to complete. The day use area has several pit toilets, a sandy beach, and a marked swimming area. There is also a campground nearby, but of course it’s fully booked up months in advance.

Junior was a little apprehensive about paddling at first, having recently been on the more rocky ocean waves around Jericho Beach, but I promised him this lake was super calm and there is no way we will fall in for a swim.

We had a blast on the paddleboard. Junior was able to fully relax and kick his legs in the water, then lie on his stomach and put his arms in the water, then jump up and down on the board.

In fact, the lake was so calm that after Tina’s practice lap on the paddleboard, Junior felt comfortable enough to get onboard with her! This is a new milestone for the two of them. First time carrying a passenger for Tina, and first time being paddled by Mom for Junior. Tina reported that Junior continued to be a goofball and tried to shake her board as she nervously stood up.

With David and Rofie’s help, we also enjoyed a great BBQ dinner. Beach goers were mostly socially-distanced quite well, unlike the crazy jam-packed Sasamat Lake.

For a laid back afternoon at a lakeside beach with picnic tables, and a beginner-friendly lake for paddling practice, Rolley Lake is an excellent choice.

Paddle Report: March 2021

In preparation for summer, we got two new paddleboards. One for Junior, and one for, ahem, Mom. We had a warm and sunny day to try them out, so we checked the weather forecast for our favorite small local lakes, and turned out Rolley Lake was to be the warmest.

We did a quick jaunt around the lake first, then had a quick lunch at the picnic area. After that, it’s launch time!

For Junior, we got him a Thurso Prodigy Junior. At 7 feet 6 inches, it’s one of the smallest SUP that I could find, which should make it easier for Junior to manoeuvre. The carbon fibre paddle was surprisingly good as well. Since we received the board, Junior had been insisting that he paddle by himself instead of riding shotgun on my board.

First time on a paddleboard by himself!

For Mom (we agreed that if we go paddling together, I would stick with my old Body Glove Performer 11), we got a Sea Gods Carta Marina.

The Body Glove has served us very well over the last 2 years, taking us to some amazing places. With the industry-busting discount at Costco (its MRSP is supposedly $1000 but Costco sells it for $500!), I still think the Body Glove Performer 11 is the best option for a beginner’s paddleboard. A 2-hour paddleboard rental at Deep Cove currently costs $45 (never mind the $100+/hr canoe rental at Moraine Lake and Lake Louise). You just have to go paddling 10 times to break even! And most of the places we visited over the last 2 years didn’t even have SUP rentals.

However, a major flaw with the Body Glove Performer 11 is its poor tracking (ability to go straight). I got the 2019 model, and supposedly the 2020 and 2021 models modified their fin shape to address this problem. But they still look like they have 3 little fixed fins, and by design they don’t track as well as a long central fin. They also don’t have D ring attachments and rear bungee cords for storage, making them a poor choice as a touring SUP.

Sea Gods – Carta Marina 2021

In comes Carta Marina. It’s a 12 feet touring SUP that addresses all of the shortcomings above. It’s also made by a local company based in White Rock, BC. Besides, this board looks positively amazing!

For Junior’s first paddle, we didn’t go far from shore. He was clear that he just wanted to paddle sitting down.

After a small lap, we tied the two boards together and made a tandem paddleboard.

The water was still quite cold, so I didn’t venture far with this set up. Even though Junior was wearing a wetsuit and a lifejacket, it would still be a very bad idea to have him fall in.

Instead, we let Little Bro have a go.

After my passenger disembarked, I took the new board for a proper lap around the lake. The tracking was amazing! I could paddle 10 times on one side before having to switch sides. On the flip side, it was actually quite a bit harder to make the board turn. I think I will practice the step-back turn when the water gets warmer.

The two slow-down red points were me stopping to take photos.

In terms of speed, my average speed on the Body Glove was 4.5km/h, with a max recorded speed of 5.1km/h at Barnet Marine Park. I don’t think I can definitively say I’m much faster on Carta Marina yet. Today at Rolley Lake the conditions were perfect: nearly windless with no one else on the water to distract. Besides, I only did at 15 minute sprint instead of a 1-2 hour paddle. I’m definitely more efficient because I am changing my paddle sides so much less, and once I point it to a destination the board tracks like an arrow. I hope to see if I can get up to 6km/h after I get to know the board a bit better.

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