My (and Our Family’s) “SUP”er First Time Stand-Up Paddle Boarding!

I stand-up paddle boarded (or SUP’ed for short) for the first time while on vacation on the Big Island of Hawaii, which is appropriate considering its origins. Yes, that’s T riding along with me, too!

I’ll just come out and admit that I don’t really believe in the idea of a bucket list; it’s just not something that I’ve ever thought about making at my age because at under-40, and thankfully healthy, I don’t feel I’m in any real rush to live life according to a check-list. I guess I also just have the mindset that if something new and novel comes from the natural flow of my daily experiences, then so be it. And with a four-year-old in my world, please trust me when I say that it’s not hard to find something new and novel in my world on a daily basis.

Having said that, however, there are a handful of things that I’ve made a mental note of as fun activities I’d like to try or places that I’d love to go someday along my life journey. One of those activities I’ve wanted to try for a while – although not crazy-adventurous to most – is stand-up paddle boarding (known as SUP in short, or Hoe he’e nalu in Hawaiian). You know, the stand-up, surfboard-looking exercise where you balance yourself on a 10-12 foot-long board all while steering around with a very long paddle in hand. Doesn’t sound too far out-of-reach for a goal, right?

Don’t mind me. I’m just trying to stand up on a paddle board!

And I’m standing! I’d say it’s a miracle, but surprisingly, it wasn’t that hard to do, even for me!

However, for anyone who knows me, I can be fairly clumsy; in other words, Grace is nowhere near my middle name. It’s been said many times by C that if I can walk from point A to point B without tripping over my own two feet that I can celebrate that event; sadly though, most times my actions garner no celebrating. I also tend to steer clear of any activity that involves even the potential of falling (skiing, rock climbing, even simple hiking), and I was one of the last girls on my softball team growing up who learned how to slide into base because, well, that involved voluntarily falling. So why I now wanted to try something that included one, constant balance, and two, potential falling, I didn’t have a clue.

But despite all of those obstacles, I still wanted to stand-up paddle board – badly! It just looked so fun, and I’d heard from friends how much fun it was and how once you are up on that board how it just gives you this sense of peace and power all at the same time. I also had now spent almost a whole week watching a variety of persons (young and old, men and women, even some kids) happily and pretty steadily gliding by me along the shallow, glassy waters of the Hilton Waikoloa Village’s lagoon. Turns out that after talking to a couple of them that more often than not, they were first-timers themselves and declared quickly that it wouldn’t be their last time SUP’ing either. So while C, T, and I were hanging out on the beach during the last full day of our stay a few weeks ago and I kept noticing the paddle boarders joyfully gliding by, I declared that this was going to be the day I gave SUP’ing the old vacation try.

SUP, RMT’ers?! I’m a very happy stand-up paddle boarder, that’s what! Just be careful if you ask me about it, because I might never shut up! It was awesome!

OK, all those folks were right, RMT’ers: SUP’ing IS awesome! I finally gave in and rented a board for a 30-minute session, and I realistically gave myself a good 10 minutes of the time to get on and stand up on the board, yet I stood up within about two minutes and was off and paddling within the first five! I never once fell off the board either, which exceeded any of my expectations. In fact, one man even told me while I was out there that I was making it look easy (really, me?!). Now that’s gnarly!

T and I paddle along the lagoon at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii. This is pretty much the perfect place for anyone to SUP for the first time due to its shallow nature and location behind a natural breakwater, which means glassy, calm water conditions, especially in the mornings before the afternoon sea breezes kick up.

Then I asked C to put T on for a little ride around with me… and T loved it, too! Now not only was I still standing, but standing and saddled with additional responsibility (and a tiny bit of distraction) in front of me on the board. I admittedly was a bit more nervous with T out there in front of me given that I’d not yet fallen and now if I did I not only had to right myself but also make sure T was OK first. Luckily, our maiden voyage together went off without incident other than smooth sailing and good times. Cowabunga!

C effortlessly paddles along on his maiden SUP voyage.

C also took a spin on the board. This was no real big deal as he’s surfed before, and that’s all a paddle board is: A long board-style surf board used with a long paddle. Either way, it was C’s first time out, too, and while not the craziest sporting adventure he’s ever embarked on, C admitted he had fun. In fact, he’s even gone so far as to help me shop boards to see if owning a board would be a better cost-per-use than renting a few more times (come on Costco, where’s that $300 board you used to sell?!). Righteous, dude!

T and I, just two of the newest – and happiest – SUP’er clubbers around!

After reading all of this, it’s fairly obvious what I thought of SUP’ing (I loved it). And what would you say if I told you that I haven’t stopped thinking about SUP’ing since May 1 (which is true)? So I guess it’s a good thing I don’t believe in bucket lists then, because while SUP’ing technically would be checked off, what’s not is SUP’ing again, and soon.

T says Aloha from the paddle board for now!

Have fun trying your something-new this weekend, RMT’ers!