Stand Up Paddle Boarding Is Not Just For the Coordinated

By Karolyn Castaldo on July 10, 2012

For those who know me well, you’ve realized long ago that I am one of the least coordinated and well-balanced people on this planet. I have two left feet and I often trip over thin air. It’s a wonder that I haven’t broken more bones or sprained more body parts in my lifetime. That being said, I amazed my boyfriend, my cousin and myself this weekend when I awkwardly stood up on the paddle board and began to row myself into the middle of the lake with only minimal difficulty.

Photo from Instagram by Karolyn Castaldo

Though this sport seems to be extremely difficult to bystanders, it’s really not that hard. Going into the day, I expected my naturally athletic boyfriend to pick it up easily, so when he said that it wasn’t challenging, I, of course, was not convinced. I watched with apprehension as he glided effortlessly along the water. Then, I watched my cousin do the same. My nerves did not ease because she is just as athletically gifted. Finally, it was my turn. When I stood shakily on the board, I expected it to instantly flip as had happened when I tried to surf in the 5th grade, but it remained still. I was truly shocked.

Those of you that have tried and failed at surfing should not cower in fear from SUP, because the board is much wider and more stable. On the lake, the water was calm with the exception of a few disruptive waves from passing speedboats. The paddle was long enough so that there was not a lot of movement that would cause you to fall or shake the board too much. However, just because it is not as easily-tipped as I expected does not mean that SUP is not a great work out. Not only do you feel it in your calves from keeping your balance on the board, but it also works your core with every stroke.

While I don’t see myself stand up paddle boarding every day of my life, this activity was definitely enjoyable, even for the coordination-impaired. Even I improved infinitely as the day went on. The three of us shared the time on the board over a few hours and that was enough to tire all of us out for the day. As you get better and better, I hear there are people who do it well enough to do yoga on their boards or even paddle all the way to work! I’ll stick to the leisurely paddles in the lake for now and be plenty happy with that.

Have you tried stand up paddle boarding? What did you think of it?

I'm an East Coast girl experiencing life in the West. I love skiing, reading, and writing and I am always down for a big bowl of pasta.

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