I have wanted to try paddle boarding for a while now, and got the chance this past weekend. If you are a regular reader, you already know that pretty much nothing athletic comes easily or naturally to me. But I try, usually with mixed results.
A friend and I drove to Hurricane Hole (on Stock Island, just north of Key West) and rented paddle boards from Lazy Dog. I was eager
to get going. After all, you see all these people standing up and cruising around looking calm as can be, so I figured it wouldn’t be that hard. When faced with the paddle that is taller than me, the giant board and the water, I was suddenly a bit more anxious.
I started off seated and thought for a while that I would have to rename the activity “sit-on-your-butt paddle boarding“, but after a while (a “while” is defined as: “the amount of time it takes to see total beginners standing and paddling, people with their dogs on the boards paddling and people toting along small children on their boards“) Finally, I decided I would attempt the stand. After all, what is the worst thing that could possibly happen? I would fall in two feet of water and break an ankle? It seemed unlikely so, mustering all the energy I had, I managed to get to my knees, and subsequently stand up. Then I needed to figure out how to actually paddle.
The water was as calm as I have ever seen it and yet, somehow my legs were shaking once I managed to get myself upright. As soon as I realized that death was not imminent, I actually had a good time. I did however, picture myself trying to take Babka along with me and the image made me laugh: Babka flailing around; me calming her down then trying to stand up; then Babka jumping off the board and back on to the dock at the last second, just as I paddle away. On second thought, she is not going to come paddle boarding for a long, long time.
After a while of paddling, when my legs started to get tired (more from shaking than from actually exercising
them), I decided we should turn back and end on a high note. I zoomed right onto the dock and asked that the board be left out for a few minutes so we could get some photos. My photo is taken while I am on the dock – you know, ending on a positive note. My friend, on the other hand, wanted an action shot. Too bad I
didn’t have video rolling when he went sailing right off the board and into the water!
I highly recommend giving it a try when the water is calm. I am already looking forward to next time.