Keep Fit: Take Your Hamptons Workout Outdoors

Get your SUP on this summer!
Get your SUP on this summer! Photo: Kelly Laffey

About a month ago, The New York Post ran an article about how gyms and fitness studios in the Hamptons have become the “it” activity, at least—if not more—popular than going out a night. Securing a spot in class is a constant battle, much like securing a Saturday-night dinner reservation or waiting to get into a trendy bar.

The situation has even warranted a new market. To help ease the congestion and ensure devoted fans can get into their preferred class, SoulCycle has launched a SuperSoul program. The $4,000 price tag guarantees the purchaser 50 classes and the ability to sign up before reservations open to other customers.

I enjoy fitness studios and the diversity of workouts they offer. As a year-round resident, I appreciate the popup gyms that come into town, allowing me to try out new ways to keep fit. But fighting to get a spot in class and stressing out about doing something that is supposed to boost mental and physical health seemes decidedly the opposite. You made it into class? Awesome! You’re not in? Luckily, the East End offers many opportunities to take advantage of the natural beauty, and to get a pretty solid workout.

No one knows that better than stand up paddleboarding instructor extraordinaire Evelyn O’Doherty, a former school teacher who fell in love with SUPping and surfing and now teaches lessons and camps in each.

This year, Outside magazine ranked the Hamptons as the most relaxing place to standup paddleboard in the country. More than being a leisurely activity though, standup paddling is a total body workout, improving core strength, cardio and balance.

Evelyn and I began a recent day by paddling at Louse Point in East Hampton. We picked a particularly windy morning. As I got on my board and felt the current immediately propel me, I knew that this would be both a relaxing and an intense way to start the morning.

O’Doherty is an experienced paddler, entering numerous SUP races per year—and training in the Hamptons waters year-round. At our session, she offered the below tips for getting the most out of standup paddleboarding:

1. When paddling, there’s no need to pull your paddle any farther than your feet. The energy expended by paddling the remainder of the way, the equivalent to most of the length of the board, is not worth the small amount you’ll propel yourself forward.

2. The paddle should remain as perpendicular to the water as much as possible. I had been putting my paddle in at a bit of an angle, so changing my form felt a little unnatural, but I immediately noticed the difference in power.

3. Dig deep. Be conscious of how deep your paddle is in the water. I often found that I was only paddling with my paddle halfway in the water and therefore only getting the benefits of half of my stroke.

4. That I should do the 10th annual Block Challenge. Evelyn had me at “they throw bagels to you while you’re on your board.” Despite my anxieties over being a beginner in an open-ocean paddle, Evelyn, who has completed the challenge numerous times, seemed to think that I could be equipped to do it. I’m still considering!

To paddle or surf with Evelyn, visit

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