How can one only describe and narrow down how much they love Stand Up Paddleboarding in only 8 reasons?!? Now that is a challenge. I only dove into SUP in the Summer of 2014 after learning how to paddle in the ocean a couple of years ago. My heart always kept saying to try it again so when I did in the Spring of 2014, I knew I had to purchase a board. And that is when life changed for the better! I have to thank OC Paddleboard for all of their support and introducing me to a great community of paddlers. So the top 8 reasons I love to paddle are (drum roll please)….
There is no greater feeling than being on your board listening to the waves lapping against the rails. I joke that I’m on my own private boat many afternoons. Really that is the feeling you get without the engine noise and knowing that you are being productive and healthy by paddling. You also get to explore nature and elements you would miss if you were on a boat. I’ve paddled within feet of dolphins in the ocean off 45th street beach in Ocean City. I’ve viewed various birds, turtles and fish. I’ve paddled under the moonlight seeing plant life and nature from a different perspective. Exploring new SUP spots makes the sport an adventure.
Competition and Challenge
Not everyone who paddles joins in on the sport on a competitive level and that is the beauty of it. I am balancing the joy of paddling with the competitive side of me. I love a relaxing paddle solo or with friends just as much as getting out in a race. The challenge comes from learning about tides, winds and weather which all attribute to each day being different even in the same location. The other challenge is looking and trying new places to paddle. Any given moment when driving with me, I may spot water and want to check it out to see if it is paddle worthy.
Part Siren, Part Mermaid
Since I was a baby, my family and friends have joked that I am part fish. More recently part Sea Tail Creature that lures others to the water. I need the Ocean (and now the bay) as much as I need air to feel alive. So whether you are part fish or not, the water will draw you in. And if not then maybe I will!
What better way to recharge and feel alive than out under the sun on the water. Maybe it’s the Vitamin D, maybe the salty air or the peacefulness. You cannot deny the positive energy and vibes that come from moments out on the water. So recharge yourself and get on your board!
Whenever I’m on my board, my mind clears. The clear mind and freedom I feel on the water, leads me to a creative and inspirational place. Ideas begin to flow and motivation grows. My overactive brain of 70,000 thoughts at one time begins to slow and I am able to focus on the thoughts that often I don’t get to listen to… the creative ones, the vision ones, the dream ones, the ones that bring awareness and Aha moments.
One of the greatest things out on the water has been meeting new people. Whether they are surfing, paddling, kayaking, boating or on the docks as we paddle by, I have met so many fascinating people and some lifelong friends. The community of paddlers is supportive and a camaraderie I haven’t experienced in all of the sports that I have participated in.
In my profession, you have to make sure you have life balance to ensure you don’t burnout or experience vicarious trauma. I have many tools and outlets to create the work/life balance but paddling has taken it to another level. One moment out on the water and I feel invincible for the rest of the day. That feeling mostly lasts for a couple of days until I can get back out on the water.
Who wants to be in the gym on a beautiful, sunny day when you can work your core, legs, arms, back, shoulders constantly as you paddle with little impact!?! I’m an avid exerciser/athlete. I’ve done everything from competitive swimming to Half Ironmans to Crossfit to Olympic Weightlifting but nothing compares to the feel after a great paddle. Yes, you can go out for a nice, relaxing and slow drift on the waters or you can turn it into more of a workout. No matter what you are still working all those muscles and that core! You will still find me lifting in the gym and more so in the off-season but SUP compliments any fitness or athletic goals you might have. You also don’t have to worry about being “in-shape” to get started out on a board.
Now after writing some of my reasons, I must leave you to get out on the water. Hopefully, you will join me in the ocean or the bay for paddle.