The List / United States

The List #26: Shut up and SUP

I was able to cross one more thing off of my List yesterday: trying stand up paddleboarding (SUP). It’s an activity/sport that I’ve been wanting to try since I first saw someone paddling around in Sayulita, Mexico. It seemed like a peaceful, graceful way to get around on the water; the views didn’t look half bad, either.

For Mother’s Day, I reserved a SUP lesson for my mom and me at Journeys on St. George Island, a family-owned and operated company that specializes in kayaking and paddleboarding. St. George is a barrier island located in Franklin County on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Accessible by boat or the four-mile long bridge from Eastpoint, St. George is one of those places that you don’t stumble upon–you have to know enough to get there. That’s the beauty of the island: it’s small, has a lot of local charm and has both a bay side and gulf side to enjoy.

We loaded up the boards and drove over to a small beach on the bay side for our lesson. Our guide, Jeremy, gave a brief rundown on how it works: “It’s pretty simple. Start off on your knees, then stand up.”

Oh. Well, that’s easy enough.

For once, it was as easy as it seemed.

After the initial instability-knee-shakes subsided (it felt like standing on a bosu ball at the gym) and I had the paddling rhythm down, SUPing was almost exactly as I had imagined it. My mom and I worked our way along the shore, enjoying the beautiful day and the peace on the water. My dog Ferdie even gave it a shot, but I’m not sure he was as enthused as me.

And enthused I was–am. So much so that I already have plans to go SUPing when I get back to Colorado.

Because any day on the water is a good day.

If You Go:

  • When renting a board, talk to the folks at the shop. Some boards are sturdier, but heavier. Some are more maneuverable, but a bit harder to control in the waves. Take the time to find the right board so that you have an enjoyable experience.
  • Wear lots of sunscreen. Drink lots of water. The breeze may feel nice and cool, but it’s easy to get burned–and dehydrated.
  • Paddleboarding is a sport that almost anyone can attempt, at any age. From young children to octogenarians, it’s a low-impact, go-at-your-own pace activity that can be enjoyed on any body of water from rivers to lakes to oceans. Or swimming pools, large fountains, a slip-n-slide…get creative!
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