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Paddle Boarding

Paddle boarding has become the “in” sport of choice on the west coast. I found a few articles on line that stated paddle boarding’s been around for a long time, originating in Hawaii. The dates varied, but all said the boards were used as another form of surfing, also known as stand up paddle surfing, or SUP. In the 1960’s Hawaiian surfers trained on SUP’s during low tides.

When I first witnessed a paddle boarder, I thought it a funny site to see a person looking like they were walking on water. Then I began seeing more and more paddlers in all shapes, sizes, sex and age. I even saw a man paddling his standard poodle around Dana Point Harbor. I always wanted to try it, and earlier this year when I vacationed in Kona I thought I would, but at $60 an hour, I decided against it, besides a friend of mine had an extra one that I could use back home.

I finally hooked up with my friend and we headed for Dana Point, along with her boyfriend who’s paddled for years. After a few instructions; place board in water, kneel on the board while paddling then rise up to a standing position with legs apart placed at the center of the board. I first found myself wobbly and out of control. Soon my sea legs adjusted and I paddled my way across the bay. What an amazing feeling. Gliding on the water while standing up is quite the sensation. My girlfriend showed me how to turn the board around, which is much the same way you use your paddle to turn a kayak. No problem. I mastered it.

After intermittent rests I’d go out again, each time feeling more at ease. The last time, however was later in the afternoon and the wind had picked up and boats were leaving their moored positions. About the time I reached the middle of the bay, a wind and undercurrent, caught me and fiercely shoved me toward the jetty. I didn’t want to go there because the water was rough and the boats were making their way out. I tried turning my board in the other direction, which caused my board to spin in a circle. A splash behind me gave notice that my friend fell in. When I did get control, and headed toward the shore, a dingy motored by, creating a wake. I knew I had to take the wake head on or I’d be thrown off the board. I managed that task just in the nick of time and struggled back to shore. I’m proud to say I never fell in. My friend made it back, soaking wet with a few choice words to no one in particular.

The following day we went out again, but this time to the Back Bay in Newport Beach, which was less windy and no motor boats allowed. Here, more dogs of all kinds were passengers on the boards, wearing life jackets. Can you picture it? What a great sport.