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Thursday, October 6, 2016

4 Signs That You CAN Stand Up Paddleboard

Hey B E A C Honista!

7 years ago, I stepped foot in a little lagoon in Carlsbad, CA. My eyes couldn't take in the gorgeous sprawling views of palm trees lining the beach shore.  Because I was overtaken by the shit storm of thoughts flooding my mind as I walked towards the rental shop to Stand Up Paddleboard for the first time.  

In the moment, my mind acted like a frenemy that gave me a bunch of bullshit reasons why I shouldn't go for something meaningful to me. My sound "logic" surfaced like a broken record kindly sharing how I've failed before and would surely suck again. The images of tripping on carpet (yes, carpet!) the week before didn't pump up my confidence either. Given that I didn't know much about stand up paddle boarding (and was about to try without instruction) revealed numerous possibilities as to how my fears could come true.   

Many of my students come to me with the same internal struggle.  They show up for a stand up paddle board lesson with mixed emotions.  Many express their enthusiasm to try stand up paddle boarding but immediately share equal resistance to the sport. It's difficult to give ourselves permission to be a beginner when we don't like being wrong, failing, looking silly, getting eaten by sharks (p.s. there aren't any in the harbor! Ok. bad joke.) and just being plain ole' out of our comfort zone.   Some may have physical limitations (which is a valid concern) and others just have limited faith in themselves to try something new.  

To make sure you know the difference between fear and real roadblocks, I've outlined a list of 4 signs that you can stand up paddle board. That way you can be sure you're able to learn something exciting and new! 

Sign #1: You Get a Thrill Checking the Weather
Are you obsessed with the weather app on your phone like I am? Good! When paddling in places like the harbor (not surf zone) the only thing you need to be aware of (besides rain) are wind conditions.  High winds can make your paddling experience about as successful as bathing 3 cats at once.  There's higher chance you'll lose balance and end up in the water and you'll tire easily from paddling against the wind.  High winds can make for an unpleasant paddling experience. If you're up on the weather and stay aware of wind conditions, you're in good shape to paddle out!

Sign #2: You've Failed At Many Things But Can Stand on Your Feet (even carpet) Failing can range from tripping on carpet effortlessly to attempting to get up on a surfboard.  It doesn't matter how many physical things you haven't succeeded at.  What matters is that you wake up with passion and can stand on both feet when you get out of bed. The next step is balance: which is where I come in to help.  ;)

Sign #3: You Spell 'Freedom'-- O-C-E-A-N.
The only thing that supersceded my fears and allowed me to take a chance on Stand Up Paddleboarding was my unwavering connection to the ocean.  The water feels like freedom to me.  I love how the wind gushes through me.  Or how alive I feel when the ocean bustles beneath me.  Or how connected and tranquil I feel to ocean life. All these elements come together beautifully when I paddle through the harbor. 

Sign #4: You've Tried Something New Recently.
Even if you have not tried something new since 1991, you've at least succeeded a minimum of a dozen times in your life.  (Hey you learned how to walk!) That's exactly what matters: you're open and willing to try!  Getting familiar with the unnerving feelings of trying a new sport you know very little about is the KEY to your success. Why? Because our mind has this fabulous agenda of keeping us safe. It makes it hard anytime we do something new because it jumps into "protection mode" and depletes our faith in our abilities (on purpose). Not so we won't succeed, but to save our ego from embarrassment and/or physical danger.  Taking a lesson with a certified SUP instructor will ease this anxiety because you will learn the basics of paddle boarding.  You'll be guided on how to handle the ocean environment, so your brain can take a chill pill and enjoy the ride. ;) 

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Overall, my first Stand Up Paddleboard experience went better than my brain lead me to believe.  Yep. I was as stiff as a board and freaked out every time I came close to falling in.  But as I continued through, I found my center, remained balanced and finally, my eyes began to focus on the beauty around me.  

I hope these 4 signs have helped you see that you CAN stand up paddle board.  Fear can surface, but DO know that with a trained professional guiding you through the basics of paddle boarding, you'll remain safe! You'll gradually override fear and learn to operate safely in the ocean so YOU CAN freely enjoy paddle boarding!  

I would love to hear your thoughts and/or experiences  paddle boarding! Do you often find fear surfaces before you begin? Did you overcome it? Share with me below.

Love + Sun,


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