It’s only taken me about three years to cross this one off my bucket list, but on Saturday I finally got out on the water to try stand-up paddle boarding. Turns out it’s my new favorite hobby and I’m scrambling to squeeze it into my schedule any which way before summer is out. It’s also my latest wildcard workout and a convenient code for Saturday morning “exercise” cop-out.
Truth be told, I probably wouldn’t qualify this one as a workout, at least not in the way that we did it this weekend. I definitely got warm and probably worked my core, in the balance sense, but it in no way replaced a good hard run or anything like that.
I had family in town from Arizona so instead of the usual duck boat tours and visits to Faneuil Hall, my sister suggested we take kayaks and paddle boards out on the Charles River. It was cloudy and unseasonably chilly (like low 70’s instead of high 80’s) and it only counted as a workout because we eschewed going out for brunch and cocktails on account of the weather and hit the water nonetheless. I also sported a hoodie with the hopes that it would keep me atop the board instead of underneath it.
We caravanned over to the Cambridge-side of the river and my car ended up in a never-ending construction-induced maze of doom, so we were running late and missed any and all paperwork and safety talk and ended up slapping on a life jacket, receiving the instruction to attach the leash to my dominant ankle, and sliding the board off the dock and into the river. With close to 20-years competitive sailing experience, I wasn’t TRULY nervous, but did have to remind myself that, at some point, water sports were kind of my thing. Off we went.
OH, I also heard the instruction to get started by paddling from my knees until I felt comfortable with balance. That was really good advice.
At first it was a little bit tough to go straight… I’ve never been a talented kayaker or canoe-ist, but once I was out there for a few minutes and got myself sorted out, it came pretty naturally, if I do say so myself.Well, natural-ish. I almost slipped off the damn thing a few times, thanks to chop from the duck boats and some puffs coming down through the Longfellow Bridge. Not sure if it was remotely useful, but at least with my sailing background I knew how long they were taking to make their way down the river.
Cousin marine vehicle pile-up.
The scenery was the greatest. I’ve sailed on the river hundreds of times, but since it’s been a few years, it was really fun to see the golden dome of the State House, the Prudential and Hancock towers, and the Citgo sign in the distance.
There aren’t too many photos of Nik since he was killing it as the resident paparazzo. I give him a hard time, but we’re so lucky to have SO much documentation of our adventures. Plus, I’m camera-shy in that I get awkward about taking too many pictures. I definitely couldn’t have handled SUP’ing and cell-phone shooting.
You can also see me in the background here, desperately trying not to crash into the bridge. I remember feeling like said crash was just about to happen, but can see here, I’m about a mile away. Still, you could see the water swirling around the pilings and I could just tell it spelled disaster. Not. Interested.
Honestly, paddle boarding was so much fun and I really want to get back out there with my sisters next weekend. We rented our boards and launched from the Charles River Canoe & Kayak Kendall Square location, but my cousin Heather mentioned you can rent and launch from Allston/Brighton and go one-way down to Kendall, as well, which might be worth looking into.
They are also having an end of season sale, where you can purchase a used board and pick it up in September. If you buy this coming weekend, it’s also tax-free, thanks to the Massachusetts tax holiday. Check it out here.
Charles River Canoe & Kayak
Rental locations: Allston/Brighton, Cambridge, Natick, and two locations in Newton
SUP Rental $16 per hour or $64 per day