Stand Up Paddleboarding: How it has inspired me to be better

My friend was getting married recently, and I wanted to do a mini- bachelorette for her; something that didn’t involve cocktails.  I booked a reservation for the three of us (MOH, bride and myself) to go paddleboarding.  I’m a former gymnast, and balance is kind of my thing, but it’s been a while since I’ve put that to the test.

We arrived at our local paddleboarding company and the owner, Jeff, greeted us with a high five and a glint in his eye, assuring us, that falling in is the best part.  We laughed and walked towards the water’s edge. 

Getting Ready

He picked the paddles and began to size us, making sure that our wrists bent over the handle with our arms raised over our heads.  I noticed lobster elastics marked the spot where our other hand is supposed to grab the paddle.  With the life vests on and a lesson on turning, stopping, and keeping calm, we were set up for our adventure. 

As I entered the water, I made sure to steady myself on my knees (as previously directed) and stood up once out on the water.  The position from kneeling to standing is a relatively smooth transition: paddle on the board, feet come together and stand up!

Physical Activity

I stood up and started to paddle, genuinely enjoying the simplicity of the sport.  I can direct where I want to go and how fast I want to go.  I practiced stopping and turning in the water.  That was a bit trickier because you’re moving the paddle in the opposite direction, for example, if I put the paddle on the left side and push it forward, it will move my body counterclockwise. I noticed that my core muscles tightened as I made turns and steadied myself. We paddled for an hour, and it was rejuvenating.

Mind & Body

My favorite part of paddling is the calmness that takes over.  It’s overwhelming how serene the activity is and my surroundings are.  The light reflects off the water, and there’s a gentle splashing of the waves.  It’s that repetitive, lapping sound that becomes the soundtrack of your trip. I waved at the kayakers and paddlers as they passed. My senses heightened as I could hear the laughter from my friends, a dog barking on the bridge and the hum of a passing boat. 

I  am a mom of a two-year-old, and this time on the water is what I needed.  With the hustle and bustle of balancing work, life, and parenting, this is an activity that undeniably resonates with me.  It allows me to reflect and enjoy being in the moment.  For me, that’s the number one benefit of stand up paddling.  It’s an activity that gives back to you, the precious commodity that we’re all searching for, time.

What Now?

Since that trip, I’ve continued to paddleboard and work out.  I go to the gym twice a week and eat healthier.  I’ve been researching information on paddle fitness and paddle yoga.  This activity has motivated me to go further into the sport and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  One day, I hope to bring my daughter paddleboarding and share my experience with her.  If you’re looking to self reflect or bond with others, this is the solution!

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Shandon Foley

Shandon is an educator of thirteen years, who writes both fiction and nonfiction. She has two flash fiction stories published with Conceit Magazine and has written blog posts for Classgears, an educational software company. She enjoys writing news and events for her town's online Patch website. Shandon values her role as a working mom and spends her time reading, freelance writing, and spending time with her husband and daughter. As a former gymnast, she is passionate about fitness training and leading a healthy lifestyle. For more information about Shandon, please visit her website notesonthego.org