A page a day

Life on California's beautiful Central Coast

Don’t talk to me, I’m paddling

Stand up paddlers take an awful lot of grief from regular surfers, but when the ocean is a dead calm as it is in Santa Barbara all summer long, SUP gets the last laugh.

I’ve had a couple of opportunities to try stand up paddling this summer, and this week I finally started to get the hang of it. It’s a lot harder than it looks.

Imagine yourself standing on a longboard (a surfboard that’s as long as you are tall, plus a couple of feet) in the middle of a swimming pool. Balancing. Now, your friends jump into the pool and start splashing around. Don’t fall down. Keep balancing, and now here’s a long paddle. Propel yourself forward. Don’t fall.

There are a few tricks to this which took me one session to figure out. First of all, you have to focus on the horizon (this is also vital in surfing and yoga, not too hard to understand why it works – the horizon isn’t moving). Second, you need to relax and trust the board to be buoyant even when it’s wobbly on the water. SUP may be harder than snowboarding – the snow’s not fluid underneath you. After my first session I kept thinking: “I’d be great at this, if the ocean would just STAND STILL!”

Once you get the hang of standing on the board, it’s all about propelling yourself through the water at a decent pace. The momentum actually makes balancing easier, so you’re less likely to fall off once you get going.

I have a long way to go before I’d proclaim myself decent at this, but it’s been really fun to try something new, be on the water and laughing at myself when I fall in. It will probably be awhile before I’m brave enough to try riding a wave .. or taking a canine passenger along for a ride.

(Online photo.)

Paddleboarding with a pal.


1 Comment»

  Kayaking Lake Cachuma « A page a day wrote @

[…] not allowed (because the lake is a source of drinking water), so it probably became apparent that inexperienced paddlboarders become swimmers pretty […]

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