Learning to Paddleboard

It was the first day of the rest of my life… and I was determined to learn a new skill! I pulled up to the Lions Head boat launch in Robson ready to go wearing my board shorts and swim top. My instructor Andrea was down by the water smiling and waving. I signed a waiver and laughed nervously as I explained I was a total beginner and had never tried stand up paddle boarding before!

I suited up in my PFD and we lifted our boards into the water; it was surprising light and easy to carry despite its size. Andrea instructed me on how to get on the board and I climbed onto it on all fours. I braced myself with my hands and slowly stood up on wobbly knees . She instructed me to stand with my feet shoulder width apart and keep my knees bent so my body could move up and down with the movement of the water. Andrea showed me how to properly hold the paddle – which felt backwards but once I started paddling I could tell it was efficient.

I learned how to draw the water from in front of me and push it behind me to start moving forward on the SUP. Andrea got us moving around on our boards. Surprisingly I didn’t fall in. I began to feel much more comfortable on the board and started scooting around the calm waters with more speed. I kept my knees bent so I was able to absorbed bumps and ripples along the surface of the water. We paddled along the beautiful Columbia River as it lazily meandered around Castlegar. A bald eagle circled above us in the sky scanning for the flash of silver of a jumping fish.

In no time at all, our lesson was over and we paddled back to the boat launch. I drove away with a with newfound confidence; not only in my new paddle boarding skills but also in my sense of self. I had a new hobby, a new passion, and a new perspective on exploring the beautiful world around me. I drove home dreaming about owning my own stand up paddle board and using it to find secret islands and coves in the beautiful waterways of the West Kootenays to share with friends.

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