Would-Be Beach Adventurer

Standing on water is more difficult than it sounds. And it is significantly more difficult that the fit teenager at the beach made it look, gracefully moving over waves on a stand-up paddle board.

Naturally, I thought to myself, “I should try that.”

And why wouldn’t I think that? I believe the beach is a magical place where, with no prior training, I can do things like jog along the surf, swim for hours at a time, and of course… engage in stand-up paddle boarding.

I forced my husband to go first because I quickly realized I probably was not going to be able to pull myself up onto the board with the upper arm strength of a kitten, more less stand up and glide anywhere. And oh, it was wondrously funny, him falling into the water. I nearly drowned from laughing.

But my heartless giggles ended when it soon became my turn. The rising waves helped compensate for my aversion to bicep curls, hoisting me onto the board. I crawled and scraped my full body on the board and eventually into a kneeling position.

Determined to stand up, I proceeded into a shaky, bent-knees, "downward dog-esque" formation and waited. In one sweeping motion, I rose, my pathetic core wobbling uncontrollably, lifted the paddle over my head not in a power move but a desperate attempt for balance, shrieked, and fell off. Ah… paddle boarding.

It went on like this for a while with a few momentary successes before I resigned myself to paddling while kneeling, which was peaceful. But then I was picking up speed and distance.

Suddenly, more nerve-wracking than my frail attempts to stand was the realization I was paddling into open ocean. No one is in front of me. I turn to the beach and it feels far away. Billy stayed back, knowing one false move and a board would come flying at his head.

Now I’m in the water, probably having fallen off, when I see a lone fin surface above the water.

Naturally… I panic. I start flailing toward the beach, dragging the board, sending Billy desperate eye messages. Thankfully, he actually understands me in this moment, and moves quickly towards me.

When he’s near, I breathlessly explain. Soon he also sees it and immediately hops on top of the board.

“Sarah, get up here.” I can’t because I’m laughing. Yes, giggling tends to be my fear response. “I’m serious.”

With zero grace, I eventually succeed. We paddle like mad persons.

We then realize others are silent and calm, gazing towards the fin. “It’s a dolphin!” a teenager on a surfboard assures us. Now Billy wants to move closer. I, having already lost three years of my life, counter, “Um... we don’t even know him.”

Soon we return to our chairs in the sand. Beach adventure? Check. Maybe next time I should try something simpler… like floating on a raft… in the surf.

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