Stand-up paddleboarding has been one of the fastest growing outdoor sports in recent years. It's been growing so fast that even general interest publications like Time Magazine and The Wall Street Journal have taken notice. New start-up outfit Nocqua believes it has a way to make paddleboarding even more fun and popular, empowering paddlers to get out in the dead of night.

Part of what's fueled paddleboarding's popularity is that it's not as location-dependent as its close cousin surfing. Thanks to its integral propulsion (paddle) and large, stable board, paddleboarding can be enjoyed inland on lakes, reservoirs and rivers.

Nocqua formed earlier this year with the intent of unshackling paddleboarding, along with kayaking and canoeing, from time constraints. Its 2000 LED lighting system provides ample lighting for paddling under the star-spattered night sky. No longer will paddleboarders feel compelled to pack it up when the sun sets.

The ability to paddle at night could be a particular advantage in the winter, when the sun sets by the time many are just leaving work, and in the middle of summer, when it's uncomfortably hot and sunny during the day.

"The Nocqua 2000 LED lighting system reveals the wonders of being on the water at night in a way that simply cannot be experienced in the daylight hours," Nocqua explains on its website. "The thrill of being on the water under the stars, the connection with marine life below and a viewing experience like never before."

Night definitely adds a new dynamic to outdoor sports. Hiking by headlamp under the glistening stars above is a markedly different experience than hiking under the sun. I love mountain biking anytime but am particularly fond of heading out at night. Even trails that are routine and dull during the day are thrilling when vision is limited to what's dimly illuminated by the artificial light from a bike or helmet light.

Travel on the water is different than on land, and the 2000 system is very different from lights designed for land use. Instead of shooting a beam directly ahead, like a bike light or flashlight, the system attaches to the underside of the board, kayak or canoe, and creates a 360-degree light field that allows the paddler to see in all directions. A headlamp could seemingly be used in conjunction with the system for paddlers who prefer to have a direct beam.

The Nocqua 2000 LED system includes 2 waterproof LED light bars, which each contain 72 LEDs. Together the light bars put out more than 2,000 lumens. A set of straps wraps around the vessel, securing the light bars to the bottom. Power comes from a rechargeable, water-resistant lithium-ion battery, which provides up to two hours of run time. An available power switch glows different colors to let the paddler know how much battery power is left and offers an SOS safety strobe setting.

Those looking to stay on the water longer can purchase extra batteries and either keep them on hand as spares or wire the system with one battery per light bar, doubling the system's run time.

The Nocqua 2000 system launched in April and is available from a variety of dealers around the US, in addition to Nocqua's web shop. It retails for US$399.99, and extra batteries cost $59.99.

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