Why take up Paddle Boarding? A novices Journal

first sup lesson

The first time I saw a paddle board up close, I was more captivated by the lovely woman on board than the actual board.

Given that I had a knee to be replaced and a nearby hammock calling my name, I missed out on my chance to paddle with that lady that day.

Now I “had”..the operative word..paddled canoes, kayaks and row boats, hell I even skippered a twelve meter yacht but I was hooked into my excuses.

My Dad once said told me sagely…”son, excuses are like assholes, we all have em and they have all been used”. Yup good ol blue collar, merchant marine practical wisdom.

So…there really is no excuse folks and here are some references why and beside getting to share a great experience with some one you love is never a bad thing…even Beau knows that!

Here are five reasons why more all people should SUP:

1. Paddle boarding is an exercise that is easy to learn. The actual process of getting the fundamentals down can take less than an hour with good instructions, and because it is so easy to learn, most of those lessons discuss safety and water courtesy for most of the class. Generally, a good instructor will begin on shore, then take you to shallow water, and within minutes, most people have progressed from kneeling to standing up.

2. Exercise improves your mood and memory as well as increasing your overall health. A recent study by published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and cited in a Harvard Health Review suggests exercise has important benefits for your brain. They write: “The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.” And they just studied walking. Imagine how many benefits a day on a paddle board can provide for your brain.

4. Paddle Boarding improves balance and coordination and that improves your posture as well as a whole host of age-battling infirmities that result due to inactivity. Because SUP works the core of your body, your back, shoulder muscles, and the rest of your body, but does this in a natural outdoor setting, which puts the focus on fun rather than fitness, more people who try SUP for health are likely to stay with it longer than most other activities.

5. Paddle Boarding is not just for kids. Because 28 year olds need to know that older folks are also entitled to a good time on the water.

Update end of April

Remember the first time that you taunted the gods and launched your bike down that hill outside your house? There was that defying gravity and cautious climb onto the seat…your toes stretched out to the wood on the pedals so that your feet could pedal. Then there was that moment of truth..the jerk forward to make the kick stand go up..and then..motion..the wobbling of balance..the fear of the bush at the end of the block that you didn’t want to crash into…again

Well ..Thank you Mr. David Peabody for taking me back in time because today..I got up..stayed up..and stayed dry for more than a hour and a half! I must confess that it is great to have a fellow Cali boy get you loose on a paddle board.I must thank Ecomarine for being the best at what they do..getting people up and moving. Here is the thing..I was back from my paddle, with a permanent grin and a couple came in..at least ten years younger than I and I could see the doubt in the wife’s eyes…”we cannot do this..it is for kids”. Well the fact is..after losing thirty pounds in three months and lots of positive thinking..an ol paddler such as my self is now hooked!

So lets talk about the power of positive thinking or even just talk about not arguing your limitations. David helped me to adapt due to my damaged leg and by the end of the class, I was moving along both with confidence and control. Even with rain.or as we say in the Northwest..mist..coming down, the docks at Granville island were calm and zen like. Even the low tide and the odd object floating by in the water could not sway my joy..but it did motivate me to stay standing up. David made sure to keep me focused.. quietly reminding me to “keep your paddle in the water”. When you relax…that is when you need to brace. This kid was good..but then he had followed the same path as I..letting go of pounds and finding the joy in floating tall and strong about the water.

So what is the next step? Well I am buying a frequent paddler pass to work through May and then picking a board in June. If anyone is interested in what happens next..please stay posted. To the staff at Ecomarine..I say “hurrah” and thank you for taking me back in time Mr. Peabody! I may compose a small article to help those who are doubting their own skills and what it takes to be coasting along on a SUP. It is truly magical!

Day 2

Once I used to work out of Granville Island. I was about to set sail on a journey that would keep me away for six years. I got married on the Island..and many years later…I feel in love on the island..and so it goes..these changes that are noticed by the passing gull and the ebbing and flow of tides.

So today I take my first solo paddle.I am asked “what is your intent today” and I say ” I just want to get some stuff out of my head”. There is a grinning clerk who says..”you want to get your zen on..”, yes I reply. I want to get my zen on. I suit up in wet suit and jacket and head down the dock. I am assisted by a young guy who quietly looks at me. I could be his Dad or crazy uncle but we get things moving. He asks “were are you going to paddle?” and honestly, I do not have a clue.

I am like the kid rolling up and down the block on a tricycle. I paddle to the mouth of the docks and decide to go up and down the rows of docks. At first the muscles and my sense of balance keep my thoughts to a minimum. I read the names of individual boats and smile. While I use to walk these docks, now I am getting a different view. I am this novice paddler garbed up in a wet suit and paddling jack. I am standing upright and I am dry from the rain but wet from sweat.

Yet there is a calm that starts to build. With each paddle, the clock stops. The city is about to enter into rush hour but I am quietly floating behind  boats tethered to the dock. It is an odd feeling. There is this sense of both freedom and lunacy. Who is this fool paddling in the rain? I smile back to serious looking runners. My route becomes a cyclic path. Row by row of docks and then back to the mouth of the harbour. I ponder dry customers sitting at Bridges and local tourist on the Granville Island ferry. I am content.

I am letting go of thoughts that ruffle my feathers. I shuffle my feet and find a quiet tempo. Yup I am getting my zen on. With each stroke, I fall back to a simple truth. I am in action, muscles alert and ready. I am quiet, no words between the ear lobs. I listen to fishermen on the dock. “Who is that clown on the board?”. My two hours stint is over too quickly as I return to the dock. My legs are vibrating and I fall onto the dock. I sit still like a monk who has just finished racking the rock garden. In action there is peace. The rain falls and cars are bumper to bumper on the bridge. I am hesitant to return to rush.

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