Last summer my big holiday adventure was riding a Segway. And yes I am still convinced they are great fun and am still convinced they have found their niche with guided city tours…along with airports, shopping centres and…well I am not sure where else.
So this year then? Summer vacation? What was it to be? What new experience could we have? What new activity could I try and excel at? The answer? Paddle boarding. The truth? I certainly tried…but excelling is a long way off. Unless of course we are assessing my ability to fall off with grace and style…style that comes from having a great deal of practice at falling off.
I don’t know who first thought of paddle boarding; I have even less idea how they came up with the concept. Best I can tell it is pretty much a surfboard – that you stand upright on – and a paddle – which you use to move. But unlike a surfboard, you can use a paddle board where there is no surf. In fact I found it much easier to stay on when there was no surf at all…just flat water.
Apparently paddle boarding is a great work out exercise. I wouldn’t know – I have never managed to stay on one long enough to have any sort of a work out. Unless you describe climbing back on over and over again as a great work out exercise.
It turns out though, that I am pretty good at encouraging others to use the paddle board very well. My son (outstanding). My daughter (excellent). My wife (very good). I have decided to take credit for all of their progress. Not sure if that credit is justified mind you, but it makes me feel better so I am sticking with it.
It also turns out that my paddle boarding prowess gave great pleasure to many other people. I rapidly lost track of how many times I was stopped and informed that the individual involved had not laughed so much in ages as they did at my feeble – but multiple – attempts. I did however receive abundant praise for my ‘free style fall off’ technique…and for my perseverance.
It was our friends who introduced us to paddle boarding. Indeed, we ended up deciding to buy our own paddle board as a group. None of us was sure individually that we would use a board enough to merit the cost but by the time we spilt it four ways it seemed like a pretty good deal. The group purchase was also a great idea. We all have fun on the board…and we all have fun together. Our children impress their parents with their new found skill and ability…and they have chance to laugh and grimace at their parents struggling…(well me at least).
I never gave up. It wasn’t just a determination to get better – although that was certainly a goal. And nor was it any desire to discourage the laughing on the beach – I just laughed at myself even more than everyone else was. The answer was simple – when I got it right…even if only for a few seconds…paddle boarding was just great fun.
And moreover it was great fun with my family and great fun with my friends and great fun with my new friends who gave me great advice about how to stay on longer…and even great fun with everyone else who just enjoyed laughing at me.
Which I guess is what vacations and vacation experiences are all about. Friends and family…having lots of fun and laughing lots and lots…
I will be back…and I will be better…honest!