Everyone is asking why or how did we decided to get into Stand Up Paddling (SUP)? To explain I must tell the story of my very first SUP experience which took place two weeks ago.
First, a little bit of back story. Peter grew up on a skateboard and mountain climbing. Both activities took advantage of his natural ability to balance. He though SUP would be the best activity, yet. I, on the other hand, never had great balance. I have developed my balance over the years with Yoga and so I thought I might be O.K. But honestly, I am by nature a total klutz. I remember one evening, years ago, walking on the sidewalk on Delray Beach and literally falling into a large cactus. OUCH!
Dan and Jaclyn told stories about their experiences Paddle Boarding. I asked Jaclyn if I could go with her sometime. About two weeks ago she invited me to meet her at her parents home on Siesta Key at 9:30 am. Without hesitation, I said yes! Not long after pulling into the driveway and saying hello to Philip and Peggy we were off to the Gulf. Their home is ideally located across the street from the water. We crossed the street and went down a private resident only beach access and emerged on the bright Siesta Key sand.
Jaclyn took one look at the raging Gulf and said, Oh my, Dad, I thought you said the water was calm today? Philip suggested we look out past the large breaking waves. Once past the breakers it did appear fairly calm. Scanning the horizon, we then noticed hoards of surfers riding the giant waves to shore. Surfers typically surf the Gulf a handful of times during the year. Otherwise, the Gulf is as smooth as glass. Just to up the ante, beyond the surfers was a very large church group performing baptisms and singing on the beach.
The wind was whipping. Jaclyn mumbled something about not really wanting to get wet. In spite of everything we pushed our boards into the water and paddled furiously past the breakers. Oh and yes, we definitely got wet getting out there.
Once safely beyond the breakers Jaclyn patiently instructed me in the finer points of SUP. Where to put me feet, how to get up and how to paddle. I was game to try so up I went and then a swell would throw me off the board and into the surf. Up again, paddle a few feet, then back into the drink. We paddled along, then rested before I realized that we were WAY off shore. I don’t think I have ever been that far out unless I was in a boat. Jaclyn commented that if I was not a swimmer, we would not have gotten in the water today. It was also helpful that I was able to get back up on the board no matter how many times a rouge wave threw me off.
We did have fun and we kept paddling around. Jaclyn was up 99 percent of the time, while I fell into the water about 100 percent of the time. Eventually she suggested we head into shore. She told me to hang onto the board and paddle to get in, any way physically possible. As luck would have it, I caught a giant wave and flew toward the beach. I had zero ability to do anything but just hang on. For a scary moment I thought surely, I was headed to ground zero at the Church service. It seemed possible that I might take out the entire congregation! Suddenly, there was a nice (Church?) lady trying to help me with the board. In fact, it was Peggy who with Philip had been on shore nervously watching us the entire time. They imagined the two of us drifting out to sea.
In spite of everything, we did get a few photographs posted here today. No way do they clearly illustrate how far out we were or how big the swells were. You can see from my hat in the top photo that when wet it obscures all vision. That’s why I was determined to not get my hat wet on my voyage with Peter!
Needless to say, it was a day to remember. I think this story convinced Peter that we would have lots of fun with a couple of SUP’s. And so with that amazing experience our adventure began . . .
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