Paddle Boarding with My Girls

A few months back, an awesome friend of mine gave me a paddle board. New ones run for $900 + and used ones steady somewhere around $400. She hooked me up with an ankle strap, paddle, and board for a whole lotta free. As I mentioned before, she's awesome like that. The board is old, beat up, and has done its fair share of time on the water but it still works!!

I bought a rack for my car roof last year while driving up the coast with my girls (easier to put luggage + stroller on top than to keep it in our small car). The rack works perfectly for a board - lucky me!! Now, let me tell you, this board is a beast. Loading it up and even getting it onto the water takes some serious balance but I feel like I've mastered the required movements. Newer and lighter boards have a handle and you can carry it under your arm easier. This one is far too heavy and big for me - I shimmy it from my roof to my head and then maneuver it carefully from my head into the water. Lifting it from the water is probably comical to beach bystanders - but, after some fiddling and balance tests, I manage to get it back onto my head and onto the roof of my car.

This morning my girls woke up well before their alarm. My oldest is in school so she has a morning routine that results in her being on time for school. However, today they got up so early and I knew that storms were supposed to roll through this afternoon so I asked if they wanted to hit the water before school.

"Yes!!!" they said. That works for me!

I live on the east coast of Florida in a small beachside town. The town is affordable, lacks traffic, and has ample parking along the water - plus, I live a super short drive from the beach. We grabbed our suits, grabbed their life vests, and headed out.

The beach was empty, as it usually is. The water was calm and flat. Boats speckled the intracostal with no signs of life - perhaps sleeping below deck still or they just "parked" there to avoid marina fees. We got onto the water and just like that ... we got to enjoy being in nature as the sun was rising.

It was beautiful! 

To be honest, I often contemplate moving. I suffer from wanderlust - the fantasy of living different locations appeals to me - constantly! I always think about a life out there that has yet to be lived. Where would I go? I wonder. What area of the USA is as appealing as where we live though?? I couldn't imagine being landlocked again (that sucks!) and I couldn't imagine being near water that was too cold to enjoy. Maybe living abroad is the answer?? ... I think about this all the time.

We do take advantage of being near the beach in our town. We take advantage of the year-round warmth. Sure, it gets exceedingly hot during the summer but we shift time outside to morning hours or late afternoon hours. Plus, being hot near (or at the beach) is still better than being hot and stuck in a city surrounded by pollution and car exhaust (I grew up in NJ and spent plenty of summer days in -- NYC and hot days + the smell of the subway is an easy way to make your stomach turn in circles). I really can't imagine living anywhere else with my girls for the time being. No other place has as many perks as where we currently live.

If you aren't familiar with paddle boarding here's some advice from a novice ...

  • Rent a board 
  • Get a lesson from an expert. That one session will teach you a lot about the activity. 
  • Watch them load it on a rack.
  • Watch them take it off the rack and carry it to the water. 
  • Pay attention to the tide and wind. Calm water matters. If it's choppy and windy, you might suffer a bit. It's not easy to maintain balance but it's easier the more you practice and engage the muscles. 
  • If you're losing your balance and feel you are going to fall, my friend's advice seemed pretty solid, "Fall off the board. Don't try to hang on. You'll hurt yourself that way." She's a sea goddess so trust the advice.

When I first paddled with my friend down in Jupiter, I remembered my lower legs feeling it the most - keeping balance was tricky and I wasn't comfortable. I went to my knees a few times to give myself a break. Take all the breaks you need. Sit, kneel, lie down on the board ... just chill and float.

And, get yourself a little waterproof bag for your keys, phone, snack, sunscreen, and whatever else you might need.

Ok - that's the basic advice.

I feel like today started off great because we got a dose of nature before the day technically started. We got back home, showered off, and got my girl off to school in time. She may be a little tired by the end of the day but that's fine by me!!

I think it's imperative to teach (and show) my daughters how to enjoy nature. We spend a lot of time together outdoors. This activity is more work for me but my girls feel the balance, the shift in the board, get to look in the water for fish and sea creatures (my oldest is really hoping to see mermaids at some point), and my youngest LOVES standing.

I lucked out getting this board. Eventually, I want to save up and get a nice, light, board that's a bit easier to move to and from the beach/car. Until then, we'll continue enjoying the board we have.

And ... here's a plug for my friend, Susie, who is a yoga teacher down in Jupiter. If you're into paddle boarding or want to learn or are looking for a yoga teacher (or class) you can find her here ...

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