Retail is sort of like the stock market.  When you’re up, you’re up.  And, Sperry Top-Sider, the brand best known for its beloved boat shoe, is having one of those moments.  In case you haven’t noticed the brand’s semi-recent fashion collaborations with Michelle Smith of Milly or Band of Outsiders, allow me to enlighten you: when it comes to cool factor, Sperry is at an all-time high.  I love my suede Harlow wedges and wore them all winter long.

But, you also may not know that Sperry has a collection of sport shoes designed for…what else?  Being out on the water this summer.  And, that we were…


Stand up paddle boarding is having a stand-out moment of its own, too, in oceans, lakes, reservoirs and rivers across the globe.  It’s accessible for adventurous and more leisurely types alike and offers both an effective full body workout and a relaxing, zen way to explore, depending on your locale.  I’d done it twice, once on the east coast and another time while on vacation in Aruba, but, needless to say…never in the Hudson River.

So, when the Sperry team invited me to join SUP pro and brand ambassador Slater Trout for a spin around the Hudson on a stand up paddle board, I hesitated for a minute or two (was the water going to be really dirty?!) and then decided that for STRENGTH+Sole, I’d have to jump right in.



Things to know before you go:

  • You can definitely paddle barefoot, but, it was easier in Sperry’s H2O Escapes.
  • Wear a wetsuit (if you’re in chilly waters), a rashguard/waterproof shorts or bathing suit plus a life jacket and lots of sunblock.
  • If you’re a first-time or a new paddler, select a Supernatural board for maximum balance; once you’re more experienced, you can move on to a more advanced board.
  • Use a paddle that’s taller than you, but, makes sense relative to your body height – you should be able to easily grab ahold of the handle on top.
  • Once on the board, your stance should be loose: bend your knees (don’t lock them), engage your core and use your entire body to paddle, bending forward and pulling the paddle back in the water only as far as your feet positioned in the center of the board (not past them).
  • Leave your smartphone on the shore!



And, by the way, as Eric Stiller, our host and founder of Manhattan Kayak Co. informed me, the Hudson is the cleanest that it’s ever been, thanks to environmentalists including Riverkeeper who have given it a 180° clean-up since its lowest point in the 1970s.  In fact, eco groups are now exploring cultivating oysters, notoriously delicate creatures, in our city’s fine west river.

So, while I live by the motto “perception is reality” as a marketer & events producer by profession, that afternoon, I experienced a major correction: I wasn’t afraid of falling in, at all.

On the Hudson River, in my Sperry H2O Escapes, I was riding high.



Product/experience provided by Sperry; all thoughts/assessments are my own.
Photo 4 by Eric Stiller, Manhattan Kayak Co.; photo 5 by Slater Trout & photo 6 by Brian Tetrault, Sperry Top-Sider.

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One thought on “Supernatural

  • June 23, 2014 at 7:23 AM

    Great video and pics. Looks like a lotta fun.


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