Last weekend was the first weekend in months that we didn’t have something planned (softball!) to keep us from enjoying the “local life”. Since we had the time available, we decided to spend the day playing in the river at a nearby sandy launch spot, and give paddleboarding a try.
My wife has gone paddleboarding a time or two before, and enjoyed it. She has also been trying to come up with a past time that the whole family enjoys, so we can build a stronger family bond. Paddleboarding was the first thing everyone agreed on, after dozens of other suggestions, so off we went.
As I understand it, paddleboarding was originally a means of transportation between islands in the South Pacific. It has evolved over the last decades into a way of enjoying the water, no matter where you are. From Wikipedia:
The sport of stand up paddle boarding has, in less than ten years, spread from surf beaches to nearly ever other type of watercourse. Races are held on lakes, large rivers and canals; paddlers navigate river rapids and ride standing waves that are common therein; gliding is the practice of covering long distances along sea coasts, often using tail winds to aid the trip. A related, traditional sport, paddleboarding has been done kneeling on a board and paddling with the hands, similar to a butterfly swimming stroke. However using a paddle is now sometimes also called paddleboarding.
What I find interesting about paddleboarding is that it evolved from a need and practical use, into a sport, hobby, or simply a fun way to enjoy the water. Since it can be enjoyed on almost any body of water, the calmer the better for those folks like me, it is not just limited to oceans. Lakes, rivers, ponds, and just about any other body of water can be utilized for paddleboarding.
From a practical standpoint, knowing some of the basic skills of floating on a long board and moving across the water does has its potential uses.
So I got my 5 minute basic paddleboarding outline, stepped up on the board, moved around a bit, and decided that standing on a floating platform is NOT my preferred method of travel. I’m a little on the shaky side while standing on a floating paddleboard, and this may have something to do with how I get seasick. Its possible that I’ve just not developed my “Sea legs” yet.
Luckily, I HAVE developed my see butt, so I spent the rest of the day sitting in my kayak, more on that later.
The wife and kids loved it. My girls get a lot of their balance and poise from their mother. Standing on a floating object was no problem for them. They traveled all over, spending well over three hours on the water.
My teenage daughter recently started surfing, and commented on how this is a lot like surfing, only without the waves. She said that this would be a fun way to play on days without any waves. I’ll take her word for it. I don’t surf either.
But kayaking I can do. When we first arrived at the river we had run into a friend of ours, who is also from Sistersville, West Virginia, about 45 minutes from where I grew up. He had his 6 year old son along, the typical fearless rugrat that wants to do EVERYTHING. In typical hillbilly fashion, he went from asking me to pull him along on a paddleboard, to slow motion wake boarding behind me. Leave it to a couple hillbillies…
We did our paddleboarding at the Stuart Causeway (Click fora map). We rented out paddleboards from the great folks at Treasure Coast Paddle. They were very helpful, and over the top friendly. Good service is a must when spending money, and you get it with these folks. Thanks guys!
In closing, I want to say that I’ve always felt that paddleboarding it was like wearing pants without pockets – just no place to carry anything. And for the most part, I will stick to that belief, and probably not go out of my way to go again. But I’m glad I did, and while I’ll not spend much time on another paddleboard, I know the wife and kids will, so this is a must-do for anyone living along the water. Go give it a try, and don’t be an uncoordinated lump like me.
This Florida Living thing isn’t such a bad life, sometimes…
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