Stand-Up Paddleboarding is a fantastic new craze that has recently swept over the surfing, kayaking, and canoeing communities. I say recently because I had never heard of it until last summer– in fact it is an older practice that has more recently become a sport. The paddleboarding origins lie in Hawaii, where surfing instructors stood on their boards to keep a better eye on students. Recently it has become the fastest-growing water surfing activity because it doesn’t rely on waves– at the Edge we don’t have waves big enough to surf on, so paddleboarding becomes a peaceful and relaxing way of gliding along our shallow flatwater lake.
I was able to get on the board right from the dock, without getting my feet wet. I love swimming in deep water but I don’t like to touch the bottom of any lakes, even though ours is nice and sandy. Needless to say, I was glad to board the board like any other boat-like watercraft, right off the dock.
It took me a few minutes to stand up on the board. There are three levels of paddling– the low level works much like paddling a surfboard with your arms and legs while keeping your paddle tucked under your chest. The second level is to kneel on the board and hold the bar of the paddle, using it just like a canoe paddle. On the second level, I found myself accidentally dipping the handle into the water as if I were kayaking– the only trouble with bringing a kayak paddle out on the board is it would be difficult to paddle in the third level: the standing position.
I put my hands out before me on the board and adjusted my centre of balance to work with my hands. Before I stood up, I took a minute to tell myself “Yes, you might fall into the water. If you fall in, that’s okay. The water is nice.” I slowly placed my feet where my knees used to be, in the centre of the board, and I stood up without incident.
When you stand on a paddleboard, it isn’t like standing on a surfboard. You keep your feet together, pointed forward, in the centre of the board. Straightening your knees is the easiest way to fall in the water, so you should keep your knees bent as much as possible. I would like to attribute the fact I didn’t fall in the water to my ballet history, but more likely it is just easier than it looks if you are trying it on a flatwater lake. I only spent five to ten minutes standing on the board, and my legs definitely felt the workout. If I go stand-up paddling each day of the summer, my legs will come out looking like Lance Armstrong’s.
Standing on the paddleboard feels like standing on water. The view of our lake was so different from the sights I was familiar with from years of living and paddling at the Edge. I can imagine how peaceful it would be to experience yoga on the board– yoga, right on the water. It takes a very short amount of time to become comfortable on the board, and I know the participants of the Quest for Balance II: Yoga and Stand-up Paddleboarding retreat will love it! I look forward to getting back out on the water tonight, and maybe even attempting some yoga on the board.
I can see myself paddling different conditions on the board. I’ve wanted to learn surfing for a while now and it is clear that Stand-up Paddleboarding is my gateway into that sport. If I can get comfortable enough to do ocean waves, I’ll be able to get out there and start surfing.