First of all, about SUPping. It IS harder than it looks. I mean, there you are, lolling on your towel, making sandcastles with your toes and contemplating opening a bar on the beach...but not like a big huge sweaty mess of a bar; an airy, breezy bar where you can have a nice refreshing drink that is NOT in a red plastic Solo cup because you will not, no matter what, ever serve drinks in red plastic Solo cups because THAT kind of drinking is reserved for your cooler on the beach when there is no bar available, so you can take those red plastic Solo cups right back to Phi Beta Bud, bud....when someone glides right past you, on the water. Right. On top. Of the water. And it looks so so easy. So easy. It’s just standing, right? And you’re like “I can stand. I like the water. I’m going to do that!” And so I did.
Here’s the second thing about SUP: you will fall. Rewind. Llaf lliw ouy. If you do it in Lake Michigan, you will fall. Let’s not forget that this is not an “ok” lake. This is a Great Lake. It has tides and undertows and smelt. The smelt is not what makes you fall, but there they are anyway. It has waves. Even when it doesn’t have waves, it has waves. You know that you can’t see the other side of Lake Michigan, right? You can’t. Sometimes on a very clear day you can see Chicago from the Indiana side and you realize what “Great” means in terms of a lake.
you might hear people say that you’ll never fall, that it’s so easy,
you will never touch the water. And I say to those people that you can
stay on Pepaw Lake or Easy Water Bay if you want to. I’m a Great Lakes
girl and I’ll learn to walk on water there. Also, why would you not want
to touch the water? Why are you standing on top of the water if you
don’t want to actually get into it at some point?
So there I am, standing on the beach, staring at this board, suddenly a little doubtful that this is going to work because....that board is big. It’s a big, 11-foot board and it looks unwieldy and the sky is overcast and it feels like it might be cold and I have to be told which way is front and how to use a paddle and that my arm is a fulcrum and is that even safe? A fulcrum? That just doesn't sound right. I look out at the water, look down at the board...look out at the water again. I’m doing this.
Drag the board into the water (which is in fact, not cold. Not to me, anyway) and kneel on it. Paddle. Kneel up. Paddle. Tsk, this is easy-peasy. Now, stand. Place your paddle across your board and put your hands down and push yourself up. Standing! And then promptly fall off.
And I’ll tell you what: once you fall for the first time, you’re not scared to fall again. You come up spluttering and (if you’re me) laughing and you never stop. Not for at least a whole 90 minutes. So you try again, and again. And again. And you eventually will experience, if only for a brief moment, the pure pleasure of standing on top of the water. You smile. You shout. You promptly fall over because you got cocky. And then you scramble back up on that board because you were walking on water and you want that again.
Your body adjusts to being on top of a moving surface by rocking with the waves. Your mind adjusts to the fact that you are standing on top of a moving surface by clearing everything out of it. You maybe aren’t so great at turning, but when you’re standing on top of the water, alone on the lake, staring at the skyline....well who wants to turn away from that? You look reluctantly at the shore. You know the shore. You’ve been to the shore. The shore ain’t got nothing on this. But hey there are some little waves closer to the beach and you are going to surf those things like Blair Underwood. I mean, Laird Hamilton. I mean, neither, because you fell off again.
You’ll come in exhausted, knowing you will be sore tomorrow. By the way, you have no idea how sore you will be tomorrow. You’ll be really sore. You’ll also be amazed that you accomplished what you did. I mean, those were some spectacular falls. But you also stood on top of the water. This time it was you gliding over the surface.``
And now you know, about SUPping. It takes a bit of time to get used to. Which you, with your 4G coverage and instant downloads, need to get used to. What’s it like to learn something brand-new, do you remember? It takes time. It IS harder than it looks. But it’s not as hard as you think it is.