A few summers ago when we were on our annual beach vacation, my siblings and I rented paddleboards, and we took them out in the Back Bay in Sandbridge, Virginia.
The Back Bay is calm, much calmer than the ocean, for sure. It has ripples and eddies and swells, but nothing like the vigorous waves of the Atlantic. It was the perfect place to learn how to paddleboard. None of us had ever attempted it before.
I’ll tell you that I was nervous. I had no idea how I was going to get from a crouching position to a standing position on the board.
Basically, paddleboarding is as simple as standing on a heavy board similar to a surfboard and paddling to move yourself forward, backward or in a direction with one oar, similar to what you’d use in a rowboat.
My lithe and nimble sisters and sisters-in-law hopped right onto their boards. I took it a little more slowly. You kneel on the board, plant your hands in front of you, lift with your legs into a standing position, and then slowly stand upright. The board is pretty heavy and weighted, so you need less balance than you’d think. That’s not to say you don’t have to stay balanced, but it wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined.
We headed out into the open water with the breezes at our back and the smell of ocean air wafting over the sea grasses. We paddled out to a duck blind, circled it and raced around it. We all had the hang of the boards.
Paddleboarding builds great core strength. You need it to maintain balance. It also works your legs because you are also using them to stay erect and your arms as you paddle.
To me, it was a great way to relax and get exercise at the same time. The water is my happy place, so the serenity and stillness of gliding through the water was good for the body and soul.
After about two hours, we were worn out but not tired enough for my sister-in-law, a devout yogi, to execute a backbend and handstand on her board.
I stuck to standing without falling.
So many lakes and rivers have paddleboards for rent now. Try it today! I recommend it for any skill or fitness level or age (as long as you’re a proficient swimmer). Always wear your life vest!