Skipping the WA run to discuss something else: stand-up paddleboard. Yes, SUP. The sport that has often made me want to make “What ‘SUP?” jokes in my writing at my job. The sport I have described as walking on water, a smooth ride, and simple. Can I just say that I. Was. A. Bit. Off. A bit.
As SUP is the sort of activity that is touted as something you don’t need a lesson in. You can simply rent the board and away you go. Luckily, our rental purveyors gave a three minute lesson on the grass, which meant we were able to at least learn the basics. Namely, that you will fall in. Oh, and start on your knees.
A few paddle suggestions later and we were off, on our knees and wondering exactly how anyone managed to stand up, let alone surf or do yoga on these ovular boards.
The best way to stand up once you’re out on the water is to hold your paddle perpendicular in front of you, then place your feet one at a time where your knees were, quickly. One man paddling ahead of me attempted to do this by rolling back on his toes and doing a modified jump from kneeling to standing. Bad. Decision. In he went.
So I practiced paddling on my knees a bit more before getting the guts to stand – one foot at a time. And then I was standing and paddling. Unfortunately, you cannot just paddle on one side, as if you were part of a viking crew. Nope, SUP requires paddle once or twice on one side, then paddle once or twice on the other (at least if you wish to go in a straight line. Should you wish to do donuts on the water, ignore that advice).
With your center of gravity higher up, balance immediately goes a bit wonky (and I feel bad for my friend with me, as he has vertigo so imagine how this was going for him). Which means you spend a serious amount of time clenching your abs and hoping you are able to stay upright.
I did well at this for twenty minutes or so, and the moment I let my guard down, and tiny bit of wake from a jet ski came upon me and I wasn’t ready for it. In the water I went. Which after almost half an hour on the board, was refreshing rather than freezing.
Eventually, I did manage to enjoy the scenery – personal docks attached to waterfront homes. And I even was able to hold a real conversation with my friend, discussing an award he won at work for changing his health status from a bit unhealthy to totally hot. I mean, ripped. I mean. Um. The glowing picture of health. That’s a nice thing to say, right?