I just returned from a quick girls' getaway to North Carolina to visit a friend and former colleague and deliver a dog...in a transportation kind of way, not the birthin' kind. Said friend is a paddle boarding guru and fitness fanatic who was kind enough to humor me in my clumsy and decidedly non-athletic attempts to master the art, and while I wasn't completely successful, I...
a) didn't drown
b) made no trip to the emergency room
c) escaped with no injuries, other than a paddle handle-shaped bruise across my hip (see below), and...
d) most likely provided lots of free giggles and guffaws to her neighbors...and the world, if the video gets out.
Anyway, I have a lot of respect for this sport now. Anybody can run around on flat ground and kick a soccer ball on the first try, but I bet there are very few who can just jump on the board and go. It was a good learning experience, I'm proud of myself for even trying, and I want to try again soon.
Here's what I learned...tips for paddle-boarding, which maybe, just maybe, can also be applied to life.
Paddle into the wind. If you don't, you'll run aground. A little resistance is a good thing; don't go with the flow.
Plant your feet firmly and squarely. Be certain of where you are on the board, and don't step too far in any direction.
Stay centered. Don't let one side be dominant. Put as much emphasis on one area as another.
Relax! Don't rush through it. Take a deep breath, and don't expect immediate results.
Don't overcompensate. Waves are going to come, the board is going to wiggle, and your response is critical. If you react too much, you're going to fall.
Lean on your friends for support. There is strength in numbers! They can help you up, give you balance when you're unsteady, and help to break your fall.
Don't worry about who's watching. You'll have more fun, be more successful, and chances are, no one is watching anyway.
Fun can be costly. You may get to try it out for free, or for a while, but you'll end up paying for it eventually.
Don't fall on the pole. (See "c" above.) It's never a good thing, in any context. (I could elaborate, but it's probably not necessary.)
If all else fails, sit down and drink a beer.