Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My attempt at stand up paddle in Kauai

The Mr did stand up paddle on the Hanalei River on Kauai back in 2010.  I remember how nervous he was when he did it.  He said before we left he was going to do it and as our trip went on, I never heard much about it.  It was a few days before we left that I said "so are you going to do that or not?"  Feeling I'd thrown down the gauntlet, he called and made his appointment.  He loved it, instantly declared himself a paddler with one session under his belt and has been chomping at the bit to get back to it wherever he could.  I knew when I finally did it, I wanted it to be on the Hanalei as well because, well, it's Kauai.  Where better?  When he did it, I was a Jacqueline of all trades.  I ran the big DSLR camera, the crappy point and shoot AND the video camera all at the same time.  I wanted him to have a ton of pics/angles, etc.  I knew I sadly wasn't going to get the same thing with no one staying behind to document it so I was going to get crappy hard shell fogged plastic pictures of my attempt at stand up paddle.  So fair warning, most of the pics except maybe the first two are gonna suck.  I won't lie, I'm still a little torqued off over that but unless we hired someone to do all of that, I suppose I'm lucky to have anything at all.  At least that's what I keep telling myself.  *Grumble*  Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful to the Mr for hopping right up on the board, never falling and filming me too while trying to keep up. I'm just being mopey and can't help but shake my head as stuff like that is my norm.

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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22 comments:

  1. Sounds like the two instructors have two very different methods. Probably based on how they learned themselves. Still though, the fact that he treated you like everyone else and expected that you could get back on your board from the water is a good thing.

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    1. Yeah they do and I'm glad I know both so I can maybe mix them together when I do it again. Yes, it's a very good thing. I'm lucky to have had an instructor (and hubby!) that had more faith in me than I had in myself!

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  2. Seriously woman...u did it!!! and yeah as Diane said, u have to get over it..I know its hard but its hard enough some people judge u but u shudnt put it in people's head when they dont even think about it!! U are doing so awesome!! so get of out that...and yay on paddleboarding!!!

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    1. Yes I did, you'll see more tomorrow! Success Along the Weigh is all about learning to "get over myself." If it were easy, none of us would have insecurities about anything, would we? :)

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  3. You overcame what your initial "old way of thinking" told you you couldn't do. When faced with the fear of not being able to get back on that board in deep water the fear crept back in but you indeed "got over yourself" and did it and for that I am extremely proud of you. I honestly didn't know if I could have done that myself and I was teary eyed when I saw you climb back on that board. My smile had to have been soo big in that moment because of the pride I had for you! You did it baby!

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    1. You told me many times that day you were proud of me and I saw that smile. I can't tell you what it meant to me to have you support me and faith in my abilities. This whole thing is about testing ourselves and I'm glad we're finally at weights where some of those things that were so out of reach weight limit wise are now within our grasps. It's getting over those mental hurdles that are going to be the hardest but with you by my side, there's nothing I can't do and if I can't then no one I'd rather tell me "we can try it next time!"

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  4. I'm so happy you gave it a shot! I've been wondering. I have to say that I was laughing through reading this...not at you but the way you express things. I'm sure it was/is frustrating you but it seems like you found some humor in it. Can't wait to see part 2! You rock lady!

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    1. I am too! I know it doesn't seem like it but you'll see in part 2. I wrote the whole thing out and saw it took up like more than half of the length of my blog front page and thought "uh yeah, might wanna split that in two!" I have to say I'm really surprised I wasn't nervous, I thought I would be...maybe I'm getting too old for butterflies, whippersnapper! :)

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  5. I'm SO proud of you!!!!! Even if you never stand on that board (can't wait for the conclusion now!) you did it! You are one brave woman, my friend! Proud of you!!

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    1. Aww, thanks girl! I really wanted the Mr to see me do this because I know how much he loved it. Given how scared I was before we booked it, I was relieved how that all went away once it was a scheduled appt. I hope just ONE person out there on the fence about trying it because of their size says "screw it, if she can try, so can I!"

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  6. I'm SO proud of you for doing this! Paddle upright or not- you went out and did it- and you did get yourself back on that board! Progress, lady, is a beautiful thing.

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    1. Thanks Di! Girl, you should've seen the look on my face when I realized I had to hoist from that level. Thankfully I didn't panic and relied on those sweet upper back muscles I've been working on! HA!

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  7. Like everyone else, I'm proud of you for doing it--in so many ways, the mental battles of this journey are the hardest part, aren't they? We can do sooo much more than we give ourselves credit for. Way to go!

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    1. Absolutely. I always tell people this is mental journey over a physical one 90% of the time. While I hope I never have to use that newly acquired skill again, it's nice to know I could if I HAD to!

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  8. Yay, you did it! I'm so happy for you, even if it didn't go quite as smoothly as you probably would have hoped. :) Can't wait to see Part 2!

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    1. I knew I was going in at least once but dang man, I wish it could've been in more shallow waters!

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  9. Oh, tell me you did NOT just give me a cliff hanger!!! Oh well, I'll tune in tomorrow. YAY, YAY, YAY for you for going for it!!! I know you have to be so proud of yourself and I am too!

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    1. Oh yes I did and I thought of you when I was doin' it! No lie! Thanks! I'm pretty proud I didn't wimp out. :)

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  10. Way to go, girl!!!! What an incredible experience! There are MANY victories here just reading this first post. I am SO happy for your for doing this!!! Yipppppppeeeee!!!!!!

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    1. Thanks mama! There were far more victories than I planned for there to be. I learned so much about what I'm capable in the face of uncertain situations, that's a gift I'd pay $65 for again!

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  11. I'm so glad you did this! It may not have turned out like you had hoped, but it's SOO much better than not doing it. And look what you DID accomplish, WOOT!

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    1. Yeah I would've preferred to be in more shallow waters but I guess on some level I'm glad I know I can do that if I had to. I don't WANT to, mind you, but you know, if someone chucks me overboard and I need to climb on a mantel floating in the water or something. LOL

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