New Thing #2 – Paddleboarding

Living in South Florida definitely has some advantages.  One of these is the access to water.  I travel 5 minutes east and I hit the ocean or the Intracoastal.  For those of you not from South Florida, the Intracoastal is a network of canals and barrier islands that allow small watercraft to navigate in calmer waters and avoid the motion of the ocean.  For those of you in South Florida, yes, I did spell that right – in-TRA-coastal, not in-TER-coastal, even though that’s how we always say it.  Now that I’m done with geography and spelling lesson for today, I’ll tell you about my paddleboarding experience.

Unfortunately, both my camera and my phone are broke right now, so I wasn’t able to take any pictures, but here is a picture of Eva Longoria paddleboarding.  If you squint and increase the width of the picture, then that’s exactly what I look like on a paddleboard.  🙂

Canaan and I rented two paddleboards from Paddle Away Sports in Boynton Beach for four hours.  The only instruction we received before we went was to watch a 5 minute youtube video on the basics of paddleboarding, which was mostly common sense.  The only counter-intuitive part is the way you hold your paddle so the outside of the curve is facing backwards.  You’d think that you’d be able to “scoop” more water with the paddle the other way, but you feel the difference on the board when you turn the paddle around.

My first concern was if it would be difficult to balance on the paddleboard or difficult to stand up.  I’ve been on a surfboard before and it was extremely hard for me to stand up and balance.  But the paddleboard was so solid and sturdy that I didn’t have any trouble.  Even when boats would go by and their wake would reach us, all I had to do was bend my knees a bit and rock with the board.  I did have a few wobbly moments where I came close to falling, but I’m proud to say that I didn’t fall once!

I was also concerned that it would require more arm-strength than I could muster for four hours.  I’m not in the best shape, but I do work out occasionally and play softball, so I’d say that my arms are moderately strong.  While we only ended up going for about 3 hours, I didn’t have any trouble at all!  I’m writing this the next day and I’ve noticed a little tightness in my muscles today, but I wouldn’t even say that I’m sore today.  So it really wasn’t as much of an arm and shoulder workout as I thought it would be.  I’ve gone kayaking a few times and I feel like my arms are more sore after kayaking than after paddleboarding.  The most sore parts of my body for me after both sports are my hands.  I’d recommend gloves of some sort to avoid blisters.

I definitely prefer a kayak to a paddleboard because you can go much faster and cover more ground in a shorter time.  It took us about an hour to go under a mile and it felt like it took us even longer to go back the same distance.  The slow pace of the paddleboard would have been ideal if we were in a nature-filled area with beautiful flaura and fauna to see.  However, we were paddling along with views of water-front mansions and condos, so it felt a little slow.  We did see some beautiful things in nature –pelicans and other birds of prey diving for food, about a million fish jumping, and schools of fish underwater.  Canaan saw the tail end of a shark or dolphin with a dorsal fin going back into the water, but I was facing the other way and missed it.

So while it was a good time and I’m glad that I did it, I probably wouldn’t go paddlboarding again unless a kayak wasn’t available.   I’d love to hear if anyone else has gone paddlboarding and how they liked it.  But it’s definitely one new thing I can check off my list.  2 New Things complete! 28 more to go!

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