Anna Wootton

Adventures in Stand-Up Paddleboarding

So, always up for a good time, my friend Alica and I purchased TeamBuy vouchers for a stand-up paddleboarding lesson and rentals with Windsure Adventure Watersports on Jericho Beach in Vancouver.

True to form, we waited until the last weekend before the vouchers expired to use them, but I trust that Fate gave us a helping hand there because the weather was the warmest it has been all summer, and trust me, a warm day helps a lot when you’re constantly falling into the Pacific Ocean.

Alica is from Mexico; I am from the Cayman Islands.

Neither of us is hardy enough to handle the Pacific Ocean. I have never actually been in it, past my ankles anyway. I brought along my full wetsuit that I use for scuba diving back home (I made the trek down to our dungeon of a storage locker and pulled it out and I am very grateful I did so).

Alica only fell once, towards the end, so although she was pretty cold, she toughed it out. I was very impressed. I fell in four or five times. And you should have seen my glamorous dismount when we shored up afterwards. I was the picture of grace out there, let me tell you.

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As kudos to our teachers, every time I fell it was exactly for the reason they said: if you look down, you’ll go down. Well, that and the fact that everyone else in our class fell too (it was a group class) and that’s because it was super choppy once we got a bit out to sea. Note to other beginner paddleboarders: Don’t go in choppy waters on your first go :).

Photo from

If Matthew McConaughey can do it, so can I ;).

I have to say, though, it was so much fun. And I worked out the trick to staying upright, even if it was only in the last ten minutes of the lesson that I figured it out. Are you ready? This is top secret information :).

Alica wasn’t falling at all at the beginning but she was a lot slower than me, as was the instructor. This is a good thing! I was pushing my oar really deep into the ocean and propelling myself forward pretty quickly. All that was doing was churning up the water around my board, making my board wobble even more. If you just paddle the surface of the water you go slower, but you are much steadier. When it’s as choppy as it was yesterday, that’s the best tactic for sure.

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Once I worked out this little trick, it was the most relaxing thing I’ve done in a long time. You feel like you’re walking on water, just standing up and gliding along the surface of the sea, looking around at the mountains, the beach and the city around you. We didn’t want it to end and tried to cheat the teachers by going a little further than our flag and then rounding back, just to get some extra time on the board.

Also, it’s a great abs and leg workout. You really have to use both to keep your balance, and your arms and abs get used a lot in twisting to paddle on either side. If you get really exhausted, you can always play dead like this guy:

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They have finally brought paddleboarding to Cayman so next time I’m at home I really look forward to giving it a go in warmer waters. Go give it a try! Or if you’re a pro paddleboarder, let me in on more secrets ;).

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This is actually Hawaii, but you know, palm trees and all…not too dissimilar…?