I had never seen paddleboards before, much less tried one. They look like surf boards, but I couldn’t remember being that close to surfboards either. And you stand up on the things and paddle. People riding them out on the lake reminded me of gondaliers, standing and paddling as they floated across the water.
Did I want to try one? No thanks. Well maybe. Yes, please, if there’s still time.
Paddleboarding: Life Lessons
Relax. Breathe. Distribute your weight. Focus on where you want to go: you will go wherever you focus. Reach out. Dig deep. Push and pull. Give space to fisherman and they will give you grace. There will be waves- enjoy the rocking but don’t be lulled. Be proud of accomplishments but not blinded by pride.
After a few basic instructions (kneel here, this is the front of your paddle, put your paddle here, when you stand put your feet where your knees are), I was pushed out to deeper waters so I wouldn’t crack my head on the rocks if things didn’t go so well. An experienced paddleboarder met me and started encouraging right away.
“You’ll go where you look,” she said, “so if you look down…”
I got the message and looked out toward the horizon, then focused in on the opposite side of the lake. I didn’t feel so philosophical in the moment. I just wanted to stay upright. We headed toward the bluffs across the water and I instantly became acutely aware that many more boats had floated into the cove since the last time I’d been out in a kayak. And fishermen had left many jug lines floating all over the place. My guide informed me there was a woman fishing from the dock and we would need to give her plenty of space for casting. We made a large arc around her, mingling amidst the boats. Boaters greeted us with friendly smiles and talked about their dogs and the perfect day to be on the lake.
Then came the time we had to turn around and head back. For the first time I had to deliberately turn the board parallel to the gently rocking waves. The thought that I might lose my balance tripped through my mind momentarily, but I didn’t have time or the inclination to make that my focus. After two or three rocks, I was turned around, headed back the way we’d come. That was actually kind of fun. I took another breath, reached out with the paddle and dug down deep as we headed for the “home” shore.by