What’s SUP? (Stand-Up Paddle Boarding)

Stand-Up Paddle Boarding Lesson With Surf Reston
Instructor: Steve
Class: 2 hours
Location: Lake Anne, Reston, Va.
http://www.surfreston.com/

My best friend Jenny knows me well; she booked paddle boarding lessons for us for my birthday! We arrived at Lake Anne and met our instructor Steve, a chill and encouraging dude, along with eight other class participants. Steve spent about 15 minutes at the start of the lesson teaching us about our equipment. He explained that we should use the handle (aka soap dish) in the center of our board as a marker on where to stand.

We also learned about the three strokes:

  • Forward Stroke used for moving forward; catch (the water), power (pull the paddle through) and recovery (back to the front and repeat on the other side) (CPR)
  • Stop Stroke used for stopping; also known as the reverse sweep
  • Sweep Stroke used for turning your board around

Fun Facts: SUP is a slang term used by boarders that stands for Stand-Up Paddle Boarding. The end of the paddle is shaped at an angle to mimic a swimmer’s hand and cut through the water!

Ready for our adventure, we launched off the shore of the lake kneeling on our boards with our paddles across the front of us – from that point we were supposed to slowly stand. It was a hot, sunny and VERY windy day. About five minutes into being on the water before standing, I headed right into a massive shrubbery section on the side of the lake. All good, nothing to see people, I shouted! (I was happy that Jenny didn’t have access to a camera. 😀 ) I quickly recovered, stood and paddled away for the remaining hour+. It was more fun than I ever expected and an amazing abs and arms workout. I cannot wait to return and do it again, especially since Surf Reston offers a discount for repeat business and yoga paddle boarding classes. You cannot bring your phone with you while you’re boarding in case you fall in the lake, but Steve took photos for everyone and posted them on Flickr.

I have an evolving bucket list, which is how my Gal on the Go blog originated. I say evolving because there are some items on the list that I knew about when I created it, and some activities that I was unaware of and added along the way … like when I was “co-pilot” of a plane in Vermont and paddle boarding in my area. The paddle boarding lesson was a day I will never forget; a shared life experience with a friend is priceless and what Gal on the Go is all about!

Eyes Wide Open

I was on my way to Vermont for the Spartan Beast when I had a bucket list worthy experience that I never imagined. I had to take a flight from Dulles to Boston to Rutland. My flight from Dulles to Boston was on a standard size commercial plane. I knew my connecting flight from Boston to Rutland would be on a smaller plane, but I had nooooo idea that a Cessna Prop was only a nine-passenger plane! Before boarding the plane the attendant weighed our bags and recorded our personal weight to ensure proper distribution. While we were standing outside on the tarmac I was taking pictures (until I was nicely yelled at to stop) and I didn’t realize I had volunteered to be the “co-pilot”! Boarding the plane wasn’t the typical leisurely stroll on inside, we had to duck and enter as if we were getting into a mini van. There were only six of us on the flight. I figured I would be sitting behind the pilot like on a commercial flight. Nope! I was sitting right next to the pilot with the steering wheel and controls all directly in front of me. I had a genuine oh sh** moment! The pilot made his speech, but I was still in shock about where I was sitting and didn’t hear a word he said. As the plane took off the wheel and pedals in front of me started to move automatically and I immediately froze up. I didn’t want to accidentally touch anything!!!!! When we reached cruising altitude it seemed like we were suspended in air hanging by strings. I didn’t breath for what seemed like a long time. When I finally started to relax, I distracted myself with the amazing aerial view — a perspective I never had before, not even when I rode in a hot air balloon. I embraced the situation and tried to soak up the experience. Having 360 degree views of the deep green beautiful mountain ranges of Vermont contrasting with the powder blue sky and cotton-like clouds while coming in and landing is something I will never forget. My nerving situation turned out to be peaceful and majestic. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have an opportunity to be a co-pilot, put your fears aside and go for it!