Sunday, April 27, 2014

Failing at Stand Up Paddle Boarding

How not to stand up paddle board
Original photo source: ChrisGoldNY via Photo Pin Creative Commons
The past few years in Canada I lived close to the Ottawa River, a calm stretch of water that cut through the capital city. Sometimes in the evenings I'd take walks along the banks (or do outfit photo shoots) and see an increasing amount of people stand up paddle boarding. 

"What is the point in standing up on a surfboard and slowly paddling yourself up and down the river? God forbid the water is even lightly choppy. There's no adrenaline rush at the end or any real reward, not to mention it looks a little dumb," I'd say to myself. Obviously I did not hold this activity in high regard.

Rewind to the day I tried stand up paddle boarding for myself and got my ass handed to me. 

I'd been on my own in El Salvador for four days, and like so many of you kindly commented, it wasn't too hard to meet others, some who turned out to be really cool. I think we'd easily be friends "in real life" if, you know, I lived in Ireland or Australia or the States (hey wait). Anyway, I was staying at La Tortuga Verde, and for only $3 an hour a couple of girls and I decided to rent some boards and give stand up paddle boarding a shot. We hopped in a pick up truck for a quick drive down the road to where the beach funnels into a small lagoon. When I say hopped, I literally mean I was perched one leg in and one leg out of the cab in the back. (Sorry mom, when in Rome...)

We drove as far as the road would take us, then lifted the boards onto our heads and walked 500 meters along the sand until there was no more surf and the water had calmed down. By this time my shoulders were already burning from having to balance the heavy board amidst strong winds. Technically though I hadn't even started yet.

I climbed up on the board and shakily stood up. Just attempting to keep my balance had me holding my breath in an effort not to move, but alas that defeats the purpose of having to paddle. It was much harder than I thought and now I can see why people say it's a full body work out as it engages your core immediately.

After a while two shaky minutes of standing up and paddling but going nowhere, I knelt down and had a bit more success. But that hurt my knees after a few so I resorted to sitting on my butt and paddling kayak style. Much more comfortable but slightly demoralizing.

By this time, the other girls I was with were having more success but they were starting to get frustrated by the wind too, which continued to get stronger. I decided to stop trying to force my way through the lagoon for the sake of saying I paddled through the lagoon and turned back around so I could park myself on the beach and lay out on the board. No more failing and no more sand on my back = win win in my books. The next time I checked behind me, I saw the girls had stopped their struggle as well and were lying on their boards catching some rays in the sun.  

On our way back we were going against the current and wind with hardly any momentum, so I gave up entirely and walked along the sand, guiding my board with my paddle until we finally reached the end. 

All in all, I was so happy to only have gone for an hour. We got back to our hostel and I chugged a beer, then grabbed another and collapsed in a hammock for the rest of the afternoon where I recounted the day in my journal, aptly titled, "The story of how I got my ego handed to me on the day that I tried stand up paddle boarding." I'm nothing if not eloquent, right?

Selfie at La Tortuga Verde
Selfie after a day in the sun
Follow me on Bloglovin / Email / Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest 


  1. I feel like paddle boarding is one of those things that people make look easy, but it's actually REALLY hard. I would be no good!

    1. Tell me about it! Especially if you have no abs like me lol

  2. I've been paddle boarding before and it definitely is not easily. I hate how movies make it look so simple when in actuality they've been training for a long time. But hey, all that matters is trying.

    1. I appreciate that Donald! At least I'm not the only one who finds it difficult.

  3. Paddle boarding is not for me but as Donald stated, at least you tried. That counts for something. :-)


    1. Thanks girl ;) I don't know if I'll be trying again though. Sometimes in life you just gotta cut your losses, ya know? hehe


09 10