It has been so hot and humid lately that I break into a sweat simply walking to the refrigerator to refill my glass of gatorade, and my dog absolutely refuses to go on a walk with me if I try to take him after 8:00 am and before 7:00 pm. It has become increasingly hard to drag myself from our hot and humid house, get into my car with the broken AC, and work out next to a crowd of other over-heated, sweaty people, so I was more than happy to try something new when Don suggested we try Stand Up Paddleboarding.
A few weeks ago, we took a SUP (Stand Up Paddle board) lesson at a local shop that offers rentals and lessons for tourists and we had a blast getting the hang of using the boards. Our instructor and guide, Toby of Kailua Beach Adventures, took us out to a small island in Kailua Bay and gave us a little local history lesson. We saw some sea turtles on our way out, which was pretty exciting, and also saw some Wedgetailed Shearwaters (a kind of sea bird that lays its eggs here in Hawaii). I am happy to report that I took to SUPing like a fish to water (I keep insisting to Don that Hawaii is my natural habitat).
We had such a great time in our lesson that last weekend we rented some paddleboards and headed out to a new beach to try our luck by ourselves. Once again, I proved more the natural than Don (I can’t help but brag, he is usually better than me in athletic endeavors), but he spent more time on the board and less time in the water as the day went on. We were blessed with a brilliantly sunny day and as we made our way through the waves, sea turtles popped their heads out of the water to investigate us. We spent the day alternating between gliding across the Pacific swell on our boards, watching the turtles surface and swim, and donning our masks and snorkels to take in the beautiful underwater landscape. What I like most about being on the paddle board are the moments when the breeze lulls and the sun starts to become overwhelming, and suddenly, the water sloshes over your feet. The water is a delicious temperature- not cold but cooling, not warm but comforting- and unexpectedly feeling it splash your hot feet is a sensation akin to petting a cat’s belly. It’s quite a treat.
It was easy to lose track of time while we were out on the water with the trade winds blowing and the sunshine shining, and after several hours of fun, my shoulders were aching and my legs were tired. The really great thing about paddle boarding, aside from the fresh air, a chance to work on my tan, and having turtles bobbing around you, is that it is a full body workout; shoulders propel you along, your core muscles keep you upright, and your legs and butt help to stabilize you. If you are going to give SUPing a try, I’d like to make one recommendation: reapply your sunscreen more frequently than you think you should. While we were discovering a refreshing alternative to the traditional gym workout, Don and I underestimated the strength of the sun and we got a burn as a keepsake to remind us of our fun weekend!