Sunday, July 8, 2012

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding


On Saturday, Jay and I cashed in a Living Social deal to go Stand-Up Paddle Boarding with Potomac PaddleSports. The deal was for half-off their class SUP 101: Stand Up Paddle FUNdamentals, a 3 hour introductory class to the sport.


Jay and I signed up for the 8 am class, which bummed me out at first because we wouldn’t be able to sleep in.  Boy, am I glad we took the early class, the high for the day was 106 degrees and the water was already the temperature of soup!  When we got there, we didn’t know what to expect, and we were instructed to put on our PFD’s (Personal Floatation Device) and helmets. We were promised a fun day, that is why I am sparkling, or it’s actually because my camera has a “sparkle” mode…


We had 3 instructors and 1 mentor guiding us through the class. We learned everything from parts about the board, local paddle board history and various skills.  We learned things like: PFDs are different from life jackets because they won’t actually save your life, Virginia does not own any part of the Potomac River, it is illegal to wade or swim in the Potomac river (paddle boards are considered a “Craft”) Plus we saw a bald eagle!!


Our first skill was obviously how to self rescue, which included two ways to get back on your board if you fell off. This meant everyone was getting WET!! Sadly, the Potomac River was not much of a relief from the heat. Our instructors told us that the water temperature was a warm 91-95 degrees throughout our class. Just like taking a warm bath ;)


Before we knew it, we were both standing up on the boards, paddling our way down the Potomac. We learned the basic stroke, several ways to turn around and the rescue stroke (sitting down). We also learned how to fall, which is very important. Jay fell once, claiming it was because he was starring at me… (boys!). I only lost my balance once but quickly returned to the “tripod” position and never fell from the board.


Now we are all set to rent boards and paddles on our own to go out. We had a great day and learned a lot. The thing that impressed me the most was how easy it was. Paddle Boarding is definitely a finesse sport that anyone can do. Even I, who has terrible balance, had a fun and successful day. Now we just need to get out there again and put our skills to the test.


Have you gone Stand Up Paddle Boarding? What did you think?