I Paddleboard! I’m A Paddleboarder!

If you’ve never seen the movie What About Bob? you are seriously missing out. It was my favorite movie growing up. While my peers were sitting around watching Disney movies, I was watching Richard Dreyfuss beat up Bill Murray at Lake Winnipesaukee. It doesn’t get much better than that. In fact, I just watched it a few weeks ago, around the time I crossed paddleboarding off my list. Here is a short clip of when Bob goes sailing for the first time.

 

So, as you can imagine, my paddleboarding experience was pretty much identical.

what-about-bob

There I am!

 

Oops. I mean,…this.

I'm on the left.

I’m on the left. I know you’re jealous of my awesome shorts tan lines.

I’ll be really, really honest. It was just ok. I wanted to love it, but there were a few things I would change. I will call these my Rules for Paddleboarding.

First of all, it was too easy! I was hoping paddleboarding would be something I couldn’t talk and do at the same time, let alone smile for a camera! The boards we had were, as you can see from the photo, basically kayaks. There were grooves for our feet. I guess this is great for beginners and all, but…is it weird that I sort of wanted to fall in?

Rule #1: Just say “No” to wimpy, kayak-y paddleboards and be a big girl. Use one that’s like a surfboard.

Second, we paddleboarded in a marina, which, you know, has a lot of boats. The water was dark. Did I mention there were lots of old fishing boats? There was visible oil in the water, which was a little depressing. There were a few birds, but little wildlife to look at. There were a few pretty houses, but I was left wanting a lot more. It was in Tarpon Springs, so walking around afterward was super cool and well…Greek food. I mean, you don’t need much more explanation beyond that. But still. I wanted pretty fish, birds, waves, and clear-down-to-the-bottom water you expect in Florida.

Rule #2: Paddleboard in the actual ocean. Stay away from boats and oil.

Last, I really wanted to get in the water. On a hot day, nothing feels quite so nice as splashing around in some water. This goes along with Rule #2; paddleboarding in water you actually want to jump into is key. I wanted to take my time and sit down for a bit to rest my feet. I wanted to kick a little in the water and splash my friends. I wanted to bring a snorkel and dive down when I saw something cool.

Rule #3: Jump in.

paddleboarding2

Rule #4: If someone is checking out your butt, make the most of it.

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Kayak

I was a little nervous the first time I went kayaking.  The only thing I could compare it to at that time was canoeing, and the one and only time I’ve ever done that was a train wreck, to put it nicely.

When I sat down in the kayak and pushed off, I felt so…buoyant.  Never once have I felt like I would flip out or capsize.  The arm workout is great, but you get to sit back in a better position than a canoe.  On a hot day, the water dripping down off the paddle feels really nice.

Once I rented a triple kayak and although my friend in the middle couldn’t help paddle, she manned the camera and got some really cool shots.

Check out my guns.

Triple kayak fun

Beautiful scenery

One of my favorite places to kayak is Wekiwa Springs in the Orlando area.  I haven’t yet taken the plunge and kayaked in the ocean.  Maybe I should work out my arms a little more before I try that.

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I went canoeing with my mom, dad, and brother when I was probably 10 or so.  I was a scrawny little thing, weighing in around 65 pounds.  My parents decided to stick me in a canoe with my larger-than-life brother: 6’4”, 200 pounds, and seven years my senior.

Needless to say, he rocked and squirmed and I held on to my lifejacket with the fear of capsizing.  My parents laughed at my horrified face the whole time, so on the way back my mom partnered with my brother, and I relaxed as my dad rowed us along.  I think I got sun burnt, but it was better than the alternative.

My mom gained an appreciation for my initial endeavor after she flipped out the second time and lost her shoes.  I’ll never forget her holding up the lifejacket that had these words: “PLEASE HELP.”

Today, when I pass canoers, I remember that day and simultaneously feel grateful to have discovered kayaking.

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