A friend put a shout out on Facebook a few months ago: “Anyone want to try paddleboarding with me?”
Being Heather, I was all….”Hells, yeah! Schedule permitting, I’m in. Send me the details.”
That was a few months ago when the lake was still a wee bit chilly and we decided to wait for warmer days.
Friday afternoon, Theresa texted me — “Can you go tomorrow morning?” Ironically, I had been putting off committing to run with anyone in the morning, so I was free to go.
8 a.m. Saturday morning brought 300 swimmers to the Stull Center area for the Bay Swim and 2-foot waves on the lake side, so when paddleboarding instructor Amy got there, we hemmed and hawed for awhile trying to think of a place we could go on the peninsula. We ended up at the Presque Isle marina.
Amy and her husband, Jeff Jones,
own owned Elements Board Shop. They closed up shop, but they teach lessons regularly and rent paddle boards out of their panel truck “Big Red” which is actually blue thanks to $100 worth of paint, a few rollers, and a couple of former teen employees with nothing to do.
We joked that it’s definitely the kind of van that parents warn their kids to steer clear of. Amy and Jeff laughed.
Jeff unloaded the boards, paddles and life jackets and then he left to watch the Bay Swim. It was a Chicks On Boards class, not a, er… something else On Boards class.
Instructor Amy is California-girl gorgeous. The kind of woman you want to hate,but you can’t because she’s so nice and sweet and down to earth.
She runs down the basics before we get on the boards: don’t lean forward or look down or you will fall off; keep your knees bent and legs hips-width apart; pull yourself to the paddle; the paddles will float, so if you fall off, get the board first.
Basics covered, we push our boards into the water a bit, then kneel on them. Using our paddle (horizontally) to push down against the board, we stand up and…voila, all three of us students are standing.
My friend Theresa is at top, instructor Amy in foreground.
At first, I felt awkward. My knees felt shaky and I was afraid to move my feet, for fear I’d fall off. But, after a little paddling around, I quickly got the feel for the balance required and the paddling force necessary.
It wasn’t difficult to pick up quickly, and it was a really good whole-body workout (legs, arms & core), especially when we got into some wind. If you’ve ever canoed upstream, you get my drift.
The whole experience was very peaceful. We paddled around the marina for a good hour or more, chatting and sharing like women do.
City view from the Marina outlet
Theresa…who was laughing at how I had gotten so confident that I was taking photos. I’m like, dude, do you KNOW how hard it is to feed the blog beasts daily???
We made it back to shore without anyone falling off. In fact, Amy told us she had only had two people fall off during all the lessons she taught last year.
If you’re looking for a fun and relaxing cross-training sport — this would be a great summer option.
One word of caution: If you have balance issues, you may have a harder time with this sport than we did. Wear a bathing suit.
Theresa and I met in Jr. High — maaannnyyyy years ago. We knew each other long before we became successful, badass career women.
(Ignore my hair. I’m growing it out!!! And, I thought I was going to end up in the water, so…obviously I didn’t put a whole lot of effort into the mess that morning. LOL.
* Read more about Paddleboarding here.
* Visit Elements on Facebook or call 823-5296
Want to try it?
* Chicks on Boards classes are held on Saturday mornings at PISP at 8 a.m. Cost is $25 (cash). Call Amy at 823-5296.
* Classes for everyone are offered at other times, as well. Plus, they’ll do group lessons or custom classes for any group you want to bring. Call Jeff or Amy at 823-5296.
* Jeff rents paddlleboards by the hour on weekends in the summer. Look for the big blue Elements van at kite beach (between beaches 8 & 9) at Presque Isle State Park. Bring cash ($20 for an hour).
* Try it during Discover Presque Isle when the Jones’ offer visitors the opportunity to try paddleboarding for free (Check the DPI schedule for location/times).