No Fear: Learning to Paddleboard Solo

If there was anything I could tell the younger version of myself, it would be not to be afraid of doing things on your own. If you’re always waiting for someone else to get things started, you’ll never get to do half of the things that you want to do. My significant other is working Saturdays right now and for the foreseeable future, a good deal of my friends I haven’t seen in person in months because of the pandemic. Young me would sunk into a deep depression with no one to do things with on these Saturdays. Me today? Well, I’m going to learn to paddleboard and have adventures on all the rivers and lakes surrounding my city.

I’ve been eyeballing some sort of watercraft for a few years, mostly looking at kayaks, but I knew that I didn’t have the right vehicle to transport one or the room to store one. This led me into a google rabbit hole for a few weeks and I finally decided. I wanted a stand up paddleboard, an inflatable one that I could transport in the truck of my car and store in the closet in the spare bedroom. I also knew that I wanted a beginner one, so if it wasn’t the hobby for my Saturday afternoons, I wasn’t out a large amount of money.

Getting the Board!

Lots MORE research later, I decided on the Nautical Paddleboard from IROCKER SUPS. Lots of great reviews and seemed great for a beginners. I ended up getting theshorter of the two options, because several reviews mentioned the larger one being harder to carry if you were short (I am) and harder to finish pumping up manually if you’re small (ditto on that one too). IROCKER does sell electric pumps, but I wanted to see I could get to the required 15 PSI on my own.

With COVID, it turns out IROCKER has been hit with a very large amount of orders. It seems everyone had the same idea I did and they were completely sold out of everything. I guess when the board is 12 feet long, you’re definitely socially distanced! The COVID induced surge in orders resulted in a back order of all their boards so I had to wait for their next round of production. It wasn’t too bad though, as it took about two weeks to ship my board. Once in the mail, I received my new baby in about 3 days. It’s a pretty large box! Here is my Malamute/German Shepard (Auri) for scale.

First thing I did after getting my SUP in the mail? I pumped her up of course! Getting up to 15 PSI on my own was no joke! It took about 10-15 minutes to pump her up. The last 5 PSI are no joke! I was basically putting all my weight onto the pump to get that last bit of air in there.

Testing that you can manually pump up this beast solo proved to be useful.

Getting Out There

My inaugural float was on a small city “lake” that the San Antonio Parks and Rec website suggested for paddling. Guys, I’m not gonna show you pictures. The water was GROSS! But it was great motivation not to fall in!

The next Saturday would have been my Dad’s 62nd birthday. If you follow me on Instagram, I talk about him a lot. He traveled a lot, had a larger than life personality, and loved the outdoors. I try to do something in his honor on his birthday every year. It also keeps me from wallowing in my grief for the day. So, I got up early and decided to check out Boerne Lake, a little man made lake outside of Boerne, Texas. (Of course, someone knew where I was going and when I planned on being back. A must for when you go adventure solo!”

The water at Boerne lake was also much cleaner.

While a good portion of the lake looks like a lake, it is man made so you can paddle up the west side that looks more like a river than the lake itself. It looked like the water was a bit low, as you could the bedrock on either side of the river. There were a number of other kayakers and paddleboarders. You can even rent them in the park if you can’t bring your own.

I had brought a small cooler with some leftover tacos and some great local beers and hung out at the turn around point just enjoying nature for an hour or two.

Prickle Juice Prickly Pear Gose from Roadmap Brewing

Overall, I spent 4 hours out on the water on my own. I had a great time, enjoyed nature and my own company and did something I wouldn’t have been able to do if I had waited to convince someone else to go. But of course, that wasn’t the end of my day. Boerne lake is just north of the city of Boerne. This little town has THREE local breweries and you can drink anywhere on main street. So I grabbed a peach sour (it’s peach season in Central Texas. Its KINDA a big deal here) from Tusculum Brewing and enjoyed walking around for an hour or so.

In Summary

I had a great day learning to paddleboard on my own and a few days later I was able to hit the water with my boyfriend. AND was able to show off the few skills I’ve learned. Mostly basic turns and not falling off the board. I’ve found a social group online I might try to hit up and have a few other locations I might try for my future solo Saturdays. I’ve also found paddleboarding to be great cross training and low impact cardio to help with my marathon training. I’ve always been lacking in the core work before now!

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