Tuesday, May 21, 2013
My attempt at stand up paddle in Kauai
When I decided I hadn't psyched myself out, I ended up never once being nervous at all. It wasn't because I was all calm, cool and collected but it was more like "I just want this over with so I don't have to think about it anymore." I also knew that based off of prior trips, the second half of the trip is full of sodium bloat, extra weight and decreased muscle stamina due to not working out every day. So I scheduled it for our second full day on the island for the first appointment of the day so I'd be at top form. (We even did the Upper Body Vacation Workout the day before, which was kind of a mistake because I was sore SUP day!) When we got there, we signed in, met my instructor which was a local guy who was of course, a cutie. Thanks for the pressure, God.
They loaded the boards into his truck and we followed him down to Hanalei Bay. I studied the Mr's video from his lesson many times over the past few years, I knew that I would start out in shallow water and the instructor would hold my board while I got my footing. Well...that's how the Mr's went...that's not how MINE went. Kick back and pick up a mai tai people.
My instructor was great. Very nice, personable, knew what he was talking about and got down to business with his lesson. Your knees at the center of the board, put your knuckles down (with paddle in hand) on the board to push up, pressure in the heels and not in the balls of your feet or you'll go off balance. Long, deep strokes (I swear I almost busted out laughing 3x as he was talking about doing long, deep strokes...I'm a 7 year old boy), focus on the paddling and not the balance and be completely relaxed because tensing up is going to throw you off. He reminded me the board is designed to float, I'll be fine and asked if I'm ready to go. I nervously laughed because even though I didn't have butterflies (I think my compression shorts squashed them all) it's the getting ON the board I have had no way to simulate all of this time. It was totally out of my control and doing it in front of, you know, a pack of kayakers and other beachgoers watching me wasn't high on my to do list. I got on pretty gracefully on my knees and he told me to rock back and forth on it to see how stable it was. Uh yeah, I suppose that's stable...for a board floating on water! He said he wanted me to paddle out a little bit because it's easier to stand up when you have some momentum. Pardon? You want me to paddle real fast then stand up at the same time? I don't remember signing on for that. I specifically remembered the Mr having the little scrawny haole ("how-lee" aka white) boy hold his board for him while he got his balance in the shallow part and THEN paddled out. I would like that guy, please. He said to sit on my feet and get comfortable first and he'd tell me when to stand.
Oh, should that have been the time I told him I was recovering from a foot injury in which the tendons on the front of my ankles I was now paddling on were all screwed up? Nope. I didn't want to be treated any differently than anyone else and I didn't anticipate being on them long. Just under a quarter of a mile later, my feet were asleep because I couldn't get the long, deep strokes he wanted. (*giggle*) I was holding myself up from holding myself up. Finally we got to a point where I could no longer see the bottom of the notoriously shallow bottom of the river. This is where he wanted me to stand for the first time. I tried to lift off of my ankles every now and then but the fronts of my ankles were flat against the board like one long after workout quad stretch and my first time standing resulted in me attempting to stand on two numb feet. You can guess how that ended.
As I kind of dug the refreshing dip as a relief from the hot sun, I then realized I couldn't touch the bottom of the river. Oh fer real?? I see some shoreline behind my instructor and I tell him we'll need to swim over and I need to get back on the board and he's like "no, you can get back on the board from here." I looked at him like "whatchu talkin' about Willis!?" and he flashed that smile like "hey, no biggie sistah!" and I said "have you SEEN my size?" That is the conversation happening below...
He told me to grab the hole in the middle of the board (where you carry it) and then lift my chest up onto the board. Oh really Mr 145 pound man?? Let me get right on that. I told him I couldn't and he told me I could so I tried. While I've got much better upper body strength than ever before it was a lot harder not having a bottom to touch to help propel me up. It took me a few pushes but I got at least halfway on the board, checked my HRM (I was at 148) and then I told my instructor "I just remembered my husband is taping my big ass from behind, THAT has to be attractive," which is exactly what I'm saying here...
I'll be honest, if I ever thought that was a possibility, I never would've done it. It was something that never crossed my mind that I would have to hoist my big okole up on a paddle board after having fallen off in the deeper part of the river. I guess I'm glad to some degree I didn't think of that scenario. I finally laid flat out on the board to give my ankles a break and regain my composure. I was spread out like a beached manatee. I had to go back to paddling on my knees. This felt really awesome given I did exercises on my knees on the hard floor so even though it was a little padded, I was feeling kind of like it was never going to happen. The concept of standing up on the board while it was moving just seemed like a completely impossible task for me and you'll find out tomorrow...it was.
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