I Fell Off My Paddleboard

According to this website, Stand up paddle boards (SUP) offer a fun, relaxing way to play on the water. With a minimum of gear, you can paddle ocean surf or placid lakes and rivers.

Paddle boarding delivers a full-body workout and thus has become a popular cross-training activity. And since you stand at your full height, you can enjoy unique views of everything from sea creatures to what’s on the horizon.

That might be the case. However, five minutes into the on-the-water portion of my Sunday foray into the sport, I was in the water, I’d lost my Solar Shield sunglasses, and thinking, “what the hell had I allowed Mrs. B. to talk me into?”

Stand Up Paddleboarding looks easy–it’s not!

We’d both discussed trying to get out and “do some new things” this summer. Like summers past, umpiring and once Mary returned to work—Saturday’s and Sundays often were “catch up around the house days.” Not too much new happening with the Baumers.

I’m not complaining about umpiring. Save for some reservations during my first week back on the field, baseball has been an adequate tonic for dealing with the loss of Mark. I say “adequate” because nothing—not even learning to walk on water if that was possible—will take away the deep emotional pain that we’re both feeling and will continue dealing with for a long, long time.

Sea Spray Kayaking & Paddleboarding in West Bath, offered a 3 ½ hour learn-to-paddleboard clinic on Sunday. We met up with their instructor, Scott, at Mailly Waterfront Park, in Bowdoinham. Being able to do this on a fairly mellow body of water, like the Cathance River, just 20 minutes from our house seemed like a no-brainer. It was convenient and of course, Mary thought it might be fun. I went along with it, knowing that I’ve never had much success standing on boards of any kind.

When Mark was younger, in his pre-teens and even into high school, he went through a skateboarding phase. I recall trying his board and feeling like I had little to no balance. While paddleboarding seems easy when you watch people doing it, so did surfing, while watching the surfers in Malibu when we were there in late April. I didn’t think I’d become a world-class surfer watching them.

I guess remaining forever young involves some measure of taking risks (short of injuring yourself).  When I was struggling to remain upright on my paddleboard, that sentiment eluded me. In fact, I got pissed and yelled at Mary, “thanks for signing us up for this.” I know, I can be a dick at times—what’s new?

We both managed to make it through the session. Mary actually enjoyed it. for me, fun was absent while I was tolerating being wet (and a bit embarrassed, if I was being totally honest), but today, I’m laughing about it, or at least not grimacing. And while I didn’t enjoy paddleboarding, Scott and Sea Spray were awesome. He’s a great guide for anyone trying something new. And his company seems to have thought about everything so that basically, all you have to do is show up at wherever they are putting one of their numerous clinics. Our group of fellow newbies were friendly and spirited.

I replaced my Solar Shield sunglasses for $19.95—another reason why these slip-over-your-glasses sun blockers are the best—and I’ve got some Monday morning blog fodder to post. Mary is even talking about wanting to go out with a friend who’s into paddleboarding. Going out with someone experienced and not so grumpy is probably a good thing.

Next Sunday we’re heading to Sebasco Harbor Resort for kayaking. I think this will go much better. Plus, it’s our anniversary weekend.

Oh, and tomorrow, I start a four-week beginner’s tennis program. Who knows, maybe I’ll be joining the senior circuit, soon!