With another year coming to an end, I have to admit that I have made a sizable dent in my list of new things to try (skydiving, SCUBA diving, cruising, flying a helicopter, and more). Slowly but surely like the tale of the Turtoise and the Hare, I’m getting through a lengthy list of adventures to learn, perhaps revisit, and eventually add to my repertoire.
After seeing mysterious paddleboarders circling my kayaking paths, I knew it was something I needed to try. Despite a wicked cold snap here in South Florida, I unwrapped my new wetsuit and jumped on a rented paddleboard. With just five minutes of instruction, I was set free for two hours of exploring the Intercoastal around Fort Lauderdale, Florida (see photo above).
With my stance wide, knees soft, and core engaged (my pilates instructor would be proud), I went paddle stroke by paddle stroke. To my surprise, I was rather good at it (much better than I was flying the R22 helicopter earlier this month). Now mind you, I didn’t look as elegant as some of the celebrities that you see practicing the sport in Hawaii, but I made a gallant effort. And so, my grace and balance was tested when other water lovers came out to play on the Intercoastal, aka a wakeboarder and motor boat. Winning the Oscar for the “Best First Time Paddleboarder,” I rode the wake heading right into the waves like I would with a kayak, yet certainly there were many close calls or near spills. I know the passengers of that motor boat were anxiously awaiting my capsized paddleboard, but I held strong.
After nearly an hour and a half of paddling with the sun out, sporting a 5 mm wetsuit, and adrenaline pumping after conquering my first near falls, I voluntarily abandoned ship or better said paddleboard to get a little cooled off. Plus, it was a great opportunity to teach myself how to re-board a paddleboard. I learned that it wasn’t as difficult as expected. I took the same wide stance, soft knees, and attention at the horizon in front of the board as before. Fortunately for me, it took little to no muscle as the 5 mm wetsuit had made me as buoyant as a whale.
Will I be heading out on the paddleboard again? Absolutely.
If you are interested in paddleboarding in Fort Lauderdale, check out Paddles and Boards that are based right on Sunrise and the Intercoastal.
So what’s next? What’s in store for 2011 and beyond? Who knows? However, I have a good hunch that 2011 will be a year of more good times and good stories.