If you are like me, and travel is about having an authentic adventure and feeling that special connection with your new surroundings, then look no further. I met a bonafide Huckleberry Finn of river life, right here in the center of Prague.
At 21 years of age, Samuel is an old soul who holds an astonishing amount of history in his head and a clear love of the Vltava in his heart. The safety of all participants is his paramount concern, and he keeps all who join him very calm and reassured with his genuine smile, bare feet and relaxed, casual demeanor.
This river is a jewel—a clean and friendly waterway to be celebrated and revered. Dotted with swans, ducks, little fishing boats, paddleboats, sailboats, riverboats and small ferries, it feels more like a cozy little neighborhood. And being on a board, paddling at your own pace, is a much better vantage point to view the buildings and bridges of this incredibly well-preserved medieval city. And it’s also a much better work out, and better way to truly experience the river than standing on a bridge or boarding a boat.
This is a safe experience for all, with inflatable boards of different sizes and lightweight adjustable paddles. The upwind paddling can be a good arm work out in heavy wind, but the downwind glides are fun and easy. Every guest is assured of a great upper body workout, including great balance and core strengthening. But the beauty of paddleboarding out on the water, is that you don’t even realize you are getting such a good work out in, because you are just having too much fun!
When you get back on land, it feels like you have conquered the river and are taking a very unique piece of Prague home with you.
On a warm and sunny day you will find many people gathered to relax and enjoy the ambiance from the riverbank. They come for the view (and that view will now include you!) as you paddle along and they marvel at your balance and wise choice to paddle with the veritable Samuel.
You, on the other hand, get to see Prague from a much more elevated vantage point. You are experiencing the force and power of the river’s water firsthand, and feeling at one with it, while viewing the city from a buoyant perch, as you float and glide and dip your paddle in to propel along her gentle, graceful surface. And as you do, your heart and mind will find a new gentler and slower pace, more in line with the water. And you are released from the struggles of land life, both physically and mentally. You find a new Zen, with so much wide-open space to breathe and relax into.
You find the river’s flow, feel the glide, sense the float, and discover your own inner strength and power—you are empowered. The wind is on your face and tickling the hair on your arms and you feel it cool your neck, while the sun warms your back. You are in that most gorgeous special atmosphere, the one where the water meets the air, and where the water’s power can be more easily felt.
This Bohemian Sea, as it is commonly referred to, is the longest river in the Czech Republic (at 270 miles long), and has flowed from so far away to get here. You feel it’s power and age as it holds you up and carries you along. And you think about all the damage this river has caused when it floods its banks (most recently in 2002), but also of it as the lifeline of Prague in terms of historical significance. “Prague without the Vltava River would be like an orchestra without its conductor.” And you care so much more about her history, and her future. And you are so grateful for the opportunity to have experienced her so up close and personal.
As guide and guru of this important and powerful river-force in Prague, Samuel also helps his guests feel more connected to the city’s history with relevant stories, fun facts, and tid-bits along the way while paddling. And his comfort level on the water will ease all worries that might pop up out there on the river. He really is your own personal Huck Finn, and your own River Ambassador to the magnificent and magical Vltava environs here in Prague. Learning a new waterway most definitely requires an ambassador!
I highly advise signing up for at least two SUP excursions, as we did, since the weather is fickle here. And temperature and wind conditions do make the river a markedly different experience. And as they say, you can’t step in the same river twice, because both you and the river will be different each time you enter the water. So the beauty of this experience is that you can never paddle this river the same way, no matter how often you go.
Prague itself is quiet, clean and industrious. It is a serious place with seriously gorgeous architecture to admire just about everywhere. So embrace your inner ghoul, get ready to eat a lot of goulash and Trdelnik (Prague pastry), and savor the silence. There are extraordinary sights, smells and history to be soaked up while you spend time here. Just don’t forget to get out onto the river to see it all from a paddleboard, with Samuel of SUP Prague. You won’t regret it!