Paddling Around

by Ginger on August 25, 2014

in Celebrations, Day in the Life

One of the things on this year’s to-do list is to “do something really fun for my 35th birthday.” I never know what I mean by that when I make these kinds of statements in January, just that I want to do something more exciting than just go out to dinner. I love going out to dinner, don’t get me wrong, but we go out to dinner all the time–it’s not really anything more special than a typical weekend day. And this year I figured, well, it’s a “milestone” year, I’d like to do something really fun.

Which is how I ended up on a stand up paddleboard this weekend.

I’ve been talking about wanting to try it for a bit–we see the paddleboarders at the beach, and it looks so much more…peaceful, I guess, than surfing. Anyway, it’s been something I’ve been thinking about maybe possibly perhaps wanting to try. So that’s what N.C. got me for my birthday, a lesson & some time out on a board.

We didn’t go out on the ocean (which I’m grateful for!). Instead, we went out on Carlsbad Lagoon, where things were moderately calmer (although we did have to contend with quite a bit of wake from the boats that share the lagoon), and we didn’t have to worry about getting out past the breakers. The guy who did our lesson spent 20 or so minutes teaching us the basics on land, and then we were off in the water.

We started out on our knees for a ways, to get us a little used to the board & the paddle. We headed to a marina to stand up for the first time–the water was calm and still there without the wakes and wind of the rest of the lagoon–and boy am I glad we did that. For as calm and peaceful as the paddleboarders always look? Yeah, it’s harder than it seems. It took me a bit to get my balance, even on the calmer water, and my legs were a bit shaky in the whole endeavor there at the beginning. Right when I thought I was getting fairly comfortable, we headed back towards the open lagoon, got hit with some mild waves and….


Into the water. Oh well, I was expecting to end up in the water a few times, so the fact that it was less than 30 minutes into our time on the water & when we hit our first waves? Eh, I’m ok with that.

Back on the board (well, eventually. I fell off the board trying to get back on. I never said I was graceful), and back on my feet, and out onto the lagoon. This time, I held on, and we made our way across the lagoon, watching fish jump (seriously, some of these fish were getting 2-3 feet off the water!), boats speed around, and kayakers and paddleboarders make their way around the water.

We took a brief break on the opposite shore, and my legs felt super wobbly back on land. Balancing on the board was taking all my lower body & core strength, and being on land really highlighted what kind of effort it was taking. (Yeah, yeah, I’m out of shape.)

After a few minutes sitting on the beach relaxing, we headed back out again. This time, we were heading into the wind, and the boats were still speeding around making waves for us, so it was…a pretty good workout. I was starting to get comfortable-ish though–enough so that I could have a conversation with our instructor while we were paddling at least. It was hard work, but also not hard work, in that it was working many many muscle groups (and oh man, did I feel it the next day!), but I was starting to get comfortable with the rhythm of it all.

Yeah, right about then was when I fell in the water again.

Oh well.

Back on the board, and we paddled around for a little while longer. I worked on getting my stroke form down, and making smoother turns, and, oh yeah, not falling in the water again. I succeeded in that last one, only getting wet again when we brought the boards all the way to shore & I hopped off into the shallows. N.C. paddled around a bit more, and our instructor let him try the smaller, faster board that he’d been using, while I watched from a chair in the shade. N.C. did great on the littler board, though he did hit the water once, but that thing was definitely more challenging than the massive beasts we had been learning on.

We left with a handshake to our instructor, information on rentals, and that nice tired feeling from a good workout in the sun. I definitely want to do it again–despite the hard work, it WAS the kind of peaceful I thought it might be when I first started watching paddleboarders months ago, and I enjoyed the challenge and the serenity of it.

And almost more importantly, I felt a bit of satisfaction with myself–trying something new, that I had no idea if I’d be any good at (while in a bathing suit no less!), at almost 35, made me feel pretty happy. I tend to get wrapped up in my own thoughts of what I can and can’t do, and I didn’t do that at all this time. I felt good about myself for trying, and I felt good about myself when I was done.

I’d say that’s a pretty good birthday gift.

april August 26, 2014 at 4:51 am

I bought a groupon for that and then never ever used it, but I still would like to try it sometime. I know Hillary does it – I think she has her own board now.

Tragic Sandwich August 26, 2014 at 6:52 am

This is really high on my list of things to do, although it has to wait until Baguette can stand to see me at a distance, instead of rightcloseup.

nonsequiturchica August 26, 2014 at 9:48 am

I would love to try that some day- it looks hard! I have heard that it is a total-body workout. Sounds like a fun birthday present!

clara August 31, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Happy birthday to you! And a happy blog birthday too.

Paddleboarding looks so elegant from afar; I saw people doing it at the lake we were at last week. In Vancouver, people do yoga on paddleboards, which someone commented was “so Vancouver” (kind of like “so San Francisco” I think?). How hard would that be, holy cow.

Anyway I think it’s a great way to start your new year. Adventures!

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