SUP is short for stand up paddle board. I’ve wanted to try it for about a year and a few weeks ago I finally got my chance. I’d read that it takes balance and core strength. It did! It was supposed to be relaxing, invigorating, and mind-clearing all at the same time. It was!
I took a lesson from a tour company in Honolulu on Waikiki Beach. We started in a lagoon where I tested my balance and got the hang of maneuvering the board and paddle. In these calm waters I practiced moving around on the board – swaying back and forth, changing direction, going fast and slowing down. On the advice of the tour guide I even practiced falling. In those parts, the advice was to fall flat (as in flat on your back) to avoid injury by coral – kinda scary but the advice paid off once we got into the ocean.
It was a bit windy but we headed out into the ocean nonetheless. I was really anxious to move out of the lagoon and test my skills in the open water. We started out on our knees to get past a breaker of coral and out into the ocean. The water was choppy and required a good bit of focus so at first I wasn’t looking anywhere but down. Our guide assured us that he’d keep us away from the waves and just glide along the coast for a nice tour of Waikiki from a unique perspective. While this sounded like a good plan initially, I watched as other SUPers paddled out and rode the waves like surfers. How could I resist?! I told the guide I definitely wanted to try my hand at catching a wave.
We paddled out to where the waves were breaking. The thought of falling on the coral made me nervous and, as with most things in life, the anxiety of it was worse than actually falling. I needed to get my first fall over and done with so I could get on with SUPing. I didn’t have to wait long. In trying to catch my first wave, I promptly fell and followed the guide’s advice to fall flat. Literally, a wave of exhilaration had washed over me. With a silly grin on my face, I took to the paddle board again. All it took was one more wave and I fell again. I pulled myself back on to the board and at that point I knew I was going to get this. I looked down and noticed a few scratches on my foot, no biggie, I just needed to remember not to kick when trying to right myself in the water.
After those first two falls, the SUPing was sweet. I caught waves and rode them until they gave out on me. The waves were not big, but it was a major accomplishment for me and I loved every minute of it.
This SUPing adventure was exciting, but I got the peaceful part too. We paddled around and saw sea turtles swimming beneath our boards. Very cool.
Did I mention T was watching Baby Girl on the beach? It was not easy to leave her, but I’m learning that a happy momma makes a happy baby.
I really enjoy (endorphins anyone?) using my body to accomplish some physical feat (i.e. an act of skill, endurance, and strength). SUPing fits the bill. Of course, the views of the ocean, beach, and mountains were pretty nice too.
This is all well and good, but how about SUPing in New Mexico? Lucky for us, there is such an opportunity. SouthWest Windsports in Albuquerque provides lessons and equipment for SUPing. Check them out on Facebook or http://www.windsurfnm.com. Just about any body of water can be used for SUPing so I think I’ll try cruising down the Rio Grande next – the Sandias are a marvelous sight too.