Prior to my recent vacation, I had tried stand up paddleboarding (SUP) once. It was in the Gulf of Mexico during a volleyball tournament. My back was hurting from hitting the ball around the day before, my legs were in ridiculous pain due to my first week doing Insanity, and, well, I’d had a big night the prior evening — and let’s just say my balance and overall sense of well-being was not great.
(Hey, I’m usually all about moderation, but sometimes you’re dancing for hours and you’re thirsty and suddenly you realize you probably should’ve stopped drinking vodka tonics, like, an hour ago. It happens to the best of us, right?)
Anyway, having never surfed or really done anything much with any sort of balance board before, I didn’t fare too well. I was able to stay on and paddle out into the waves, but coming back in? Oof. After falling in three times, I just settled in on my knees and paddled my soggy butt back to shore.
So, when I learned that I could rent a SUP from an outfitter near where I would be staying in Canada, I jumped at the chance. I just knew I could master the sport if I could take my time and practice on a body of water without serious waves.
And I was right. My first time out was tricky — I stayed on my knees for a good while, and nearly fell in on my first attempt at standing because my feet weren’t evenly spaced. I started to wonder if maybe I should just stay on my knees, but realized I would be wildly disappointed in myself if I did. Wasn’t the whole point of this to push my boundaries while getting in a fun workout?
I gave it a few minutes, then tried again. And getting to my feet this time? Piece of cake. Remaining standing was challenging that first time out — my legs trembled constantly — but absolutely exhilarating. I tried pushing the speed a little, then mixed things up with a few yoga moves and some core work. I tried something new each day, and each day I became stronger and more confident, paddling way out beyond the sheltered bay. By the end of my rental, I came up with a workout I positively loved and can’t wait to do again!
Oh, and if you like this, come back next week — I’ve got a whole slew of tips and great moves to try from the folks at Naturally Superior Adventures, which is where I rented the board.
Got any moves you love (or would love to try) on an SUP? —Kristen