It's harder than it looks, yet easy to pick up.
And it's extra fun!
I'm talking about stand up paddleboarding. As of a few weeks ago, I had no idea what it was or where it was even available. Last week, I had the opportunity go paddleboarding with World Paddle Association certified instructor Dan Wittmann of Wut SUP Standup Paddleboard and Rentals in Gulfport and we paddled on Gulfport Lake. Right in front of The Dock Bar and Grill.
Dan made it look easy. He was jumping up from knees to feet within seconds, while I spent about 45 minutes; before I would even stand. Reason being it's all about balance, and I have none.
I paddled back towards the beach near the dock to attempt to stand up. In my mind, falling in 3 feet of water was much less scary than falling in 30. Two numb feet and shaky knees later, I was stand up paddling in Gulfport Lake.
The whole time we were in the middle of the lake, several boats and jet skis passed by, creating small wakes that were manageable for a beginner.
Until two jet skis rushed past us.
The wakes were larger, but Dan said they shouldn't bother the boards since they were spread apart and moving in slowly. The first wake hit my board on the side, rocking it back and forth. I did a circus-like balancing act for about 15 seconds in attempt to stay dry (keep in mind, I'm in work clothing), but I failed. I fell off and straight into the lake with probably about 40 feet of water underneath me.
When you fall in dark water, you'd be surprised how quickly you can move to get back onto a floating object.
Lesson one ended, but I returned two days later to try my luck again. I brought my friend Hanna Kittrell with me to try it out. She picked it up immediately and I didn't fall off, so I considered that a win. The score is now tied. Dan said he never had someone come out and paddleboard and say they didn't like, and I can see why. It's peaceful, low impact and it's probably the most fun I've ever had on the water. The moral of the story is, I'm addicted!