Interesting month. Quick catch up: no cancer, not deaf but have lost hearing in one ear due to repeated ear infections this winter, finally got my appointment with a psychiatrist. (Another post to follow on that one.)

But, since this is nominally still a health and fitness blog, this post is about my six weeks of paddling. Now, you may know that I’m pretty comfy in a canoe, thanks to my years as a Rover, the oldest level of Scouts. Last year, I joined the BMI dragon boat team, which was pretty entertaining (four practices, one tourney day, and you know I frankly prefer the practices). This year, when given the chance, I joined the BMI team again.

Except this year, we were lighter than last year (I know… sort of the point of BMI, right?), so we didn’t have to use the nice, stable, big wood boat. Nooooo, this year we used a competition boat which is much lower in the water and you know what? I sucked. I kept catching the paddle in the water and splashing the crap out of the person in front of me. In the end, they stuck me in the back row where I could do no damage. Kind of embarrassing, but whatever.

We competed in the Dragon Boat Festival last weekend, and we were 40 seconds faster than last year, probably entirely due to the fact that we had a much lighter actual boat. And it rained pretty much all day. So, not like last year’s experience at all, but still a good fitness and fun experience and that’s where it’s at, right?

Tonight, my BFF and I participated in an intro to SUP (Stand Up Paddelboard).

Totally not a picture of Holly and I (we fricking wish), but it’s illustrative (credit: fortlauderdalesup.com) of the activity. Let’s recap a bit: You carry the board to the water. You kneel on the dock, put one hand on the board, move your water side knee onto the centre of the board, shift your weight and move your dock side knee onto the board. Then you push off, paddle for a while in a kneeling position, and once you have momentum you put your paddle down in front of you, plant your hands, bring one foot up flat on the board and then the other, and push up into a standing position.

The class is 90 minutes. The first 15 are covering the anatomy of the board, how to get on it, and how to paddle. There seems to be no way to paddle straight, by the way, requiring you to change sides frequently.

Did I ever mention that I took ski lessons for the first four years that I lived in Canada? And that I’m a terrible skier because I’m afraid to fall? And that I took a private lesson once just to make me less afraid to fall (consisting of making me fall and get up over and over again for two hours, which is sick, if you ask me) and that it didn’t work? And that the same thing happened to me on skates, and rollerblades (with more padding than exposed skin) and skateboards? Basically the only thing I’m not afraid to fall off is a bike.

I was really hoping that I wouldn’t be afraid to fall off a paddleboard because I am a great swimmer. I can safely tell you that I am terrified to fall off a paddleboard. Holly, not so much. She fell off that sucker once and it was like everything went better after that. I clung to it like cling wrap, shaking like a leaf trying to use my quads and core to keep me attached and upright. I was so scared that it took me a good 20 minutes to figure out how to stand up on the board, and when my legs wouldn’t stop shaking (shades of the tippiest bosu ball ever) I gave up and kneeled again.

I fear sweated the sunblock right off my face. Within the first 15 minutes. (Yeah, that’s gonna feel awesome tomorrow.) I have fear sweat smell on my head. I had fear sweat rolling down my back. And I had ass cramps (from kneeling high and leaning forward) and foot cramps (from kneeling back on my heels). I understand that some people do yoga on paddleboards.

First, assholes. Second, wtf. Who can do those poses on land, let alone on a tippy motherfucking piece of fibreglass? Third, I successfully did cat/cow positions on the board. And a modified child’s pose. Not intentional, but it helped with the cramping. (credit: losangelesyogabeat.com)

So, there was no camera for Holly and I (thank god). But there will be in two weeks, when my friend Julie and I take a whitewater canoe course together. We’re going back to Pure Life Adventures, where dad and I did a day trip together two years ago. That would be the trip where I kept whipping out my camera and taking a picture of him to make sure he was actually paddling.

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Julie won a fancy trip to canoe in the Northwest Territories, but her husband is a rock star canoeist and Julie wanted to brush up on her paddle skills and she knew I like to paddle, so we’re heading off to camp together, wear funny helmets, and try not to die.

(credit: purelifeadventures.ca) I’ll be at the back of the boat. We may go nowhere all weekend long as a result. It’ll be my first time steering us – I know the concepts, but yanno, delivering for two straight days while in white water is gonna be interesting.  I’ll be sure to post some pictures of bug bitten and sunburned Julie and I when we get back. No doubt she’ll be whipping out her phone (in a baggie, Julie!) periodically to see if I’m doing ANYTHING back there. Cause that’s how you roll in the front of the boat, yanno?

All this to say, I started the summer looking for paddle adventures, and I’m going to hit the halfway mark having spent 6 weeks paddling. I think this is a great thing, don’t you?

How’s your summer going so far? Mine will be packed with adventures: Washington this weekend, canoe trip in two weekends, Jay-Z/Justin Timberlake concert the next week, Osheaga music festival two weeks later, and two weeks hiking in southern Utah this fall. It’s going to be a summer of cultural and fitness experiences. I’m kind of loving it.