If you live close to a lake, ocean, or really any body of water that is popular for water sports, there is one activity that is gaining popularity that you must try at least once; paddle boarding. For me, it’s a unique relaxing way to enjoy my local summer hot spot, Lake Tahoe. Paddle away from the beach where families are congregated, children scream as their toes hit the cold water, and waitresses pass out tropical getaways in a cup and all of it starts to go mute. The water is clear, making the bottom look deceptively close. I can bob with my feet over the edge or paddle along the shore looking for new beaches that are much more accessible than by foot. No matter the choice, I know I’ll find my bliss on the lake.
When you choose to paddle, you have the freedom to enjoy it at your pace. Bring your dog for a cruise on the front or paddle fast and hard for a core and arm workout. Get two and play a old school game of chicken to see who will fall off first. Want to improve your balance? Try working on your yoga posses without falling off.
Never tried it? Don’t be afraid, it’s pretty easy. The toughest part is standing up. Follow the steps in the diagram but don’t worry if you need to start out on your knees to get a feel for it. Once you are standing, make sure the paddle is angled away from you so you are “scooping” the water towards you. Keep your knees slightly bent so your legs can act like shocks to absorb the waves. Watch out for larger waves from jet skis or boats. If you’re not watching, they’ll dump you right into the water and that won’t be relaxing.
I don’t recommend purchasing a board without trying the sport first. These boards easily go for $1,000 and that’s without out the paddle. There are plenty of renting options out there. If it’s peak vacation season, reserve one ahead of time otherwise you’ll most likely be out of luck. If you’re summer spot is like mine, you can have it ready on the beach waiting for you. This is a nice option since you don’t have to worry about tying one to the roof of your car and making sure you get it back on time. If you don’t mind loading and unloading yourself, there are places not on site that will rent to you and they are usually a little bit cheaper. Don’t want to go it alone or don’t know where to go? Most rental shops also offer lessons or even tours on the water.
Find it addicting? There are options. Boards come in various sizes and you can get a hard board or an inflatable one. I have both and each have their benefits. An inflatable board is made out of the same material as the extreme river rafts so they are durable and easy to store. The downside is there are a lot of inflatable boards that are not high quality and as a result, they sag in the middle and leave your feet cold wet the entire time. If you are looking for an inflatable one, I recommend a Tower paddle board. It’s rigid and has lasted years for me. Of course a hard board is a little tougher to destroy and would be a better choice if paddling near ocean reefs. Either way, I recommend getting two. No one wants to get stuck on the beach! Know of a great paddle board? Share it below!