When I tell people that I run Paddle Diva and teach women of all ages and sizes how to stand up paddle, I often hear “oh, I’ve seen people doing that – it looks hard!” to which I respond that it’s not – that anyone can learn and be up and paddling within half an hour.
Of course, it takes time to master any sport, including stand up paddleboard, but the basics are easy. Witness our friend Vicki of Vicki’s Veggies in Amagansett. As the owner of a farm stand, Vicki is definitely a landlubber. I’d been asking her to come out with me ever since I started stand up paddling but for one reason or another we just couldn’t get it together (our jobs are both pretty intense during the Summer season). So when September rolled around this year, I insisted that Vicki make good on her long-time promise to try SUP. And then I videotaped her.
Gina: This is Vicki of Vicki’s Veggies, who’s about to go out on a paddleboard lesson. I’ve known Vicki… forever. This is my shadow. I’m about to take her out paddle boarding then we’re going to hear what she thought of it. But first we’re going to get one quick word from her. Vicki, what are you thinking?
Vicki: I’m excited for the first time to ever go out paddle boarding with Gina Bradley.
Gina: Keep going. One more time. I want to see you really pull it through. Look up. Don’t look down.
Gina: Switch sides. OK, now when you want to stop your board, you’re just going to drag the paddle behind you. And it also turns your board.
Gina: You’ve so got this!
Vicki: OK, stand up?
Gina: One foot where one knee is, the other foot where the other knee is. Stand. Look at land. Take a deep breath. Breathe out. See you’re doing it Vicki. Now you palm the top of your paddle. Look up. Whoa, there you go! Do it again. Oh my God! Now twist your paddle so it looks the other way, ‘cause you’ve actually got the paddle backwards. This is a historic moment!
Vicki: If I can do this, then anyone in the world can do this! As long as you’re teaching me Gina, I’m fine.
Gina: I love it! So yeah, work on board steering. So now you’re going to put the paddle on your left side — twist it the other way, you got it backwards. There you go. Looking up, not down. Keep your body tight. Beautiful. Couple strokes, and then go forward on the other side. So switch sides. Keep you paddle always in that other position, your paddle keeps twisting on you.
Vicki: That way?
Gina: Yup. There you go. Board steering 101, Vicki. Oh my God! What’s that Vicki?
Vicki: Whooo! I did it!
Gina: Alright Vicki, now you’re really cruising.
Gina: Keep paddling. What were you wondering? What’s underneath you?
Vicki: Uh, sharks, eels? Anything with fish…
Gina: There’s nothing underneath you. Look at Vicki go!
Gina: So there’s Vicki, completely proficient at this point, heading right toward those beautiful phragmites.
Gina: Alright, Vicki how was it?!
Vicki: I loved it! That was the most fun I’ve had all summer! Honestly it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. You gave me great, you know, instructions on how to do it. And I just loved it!
Vicki: Honestly! I did it!
Gina: Are you going to come back out with me?
Vicki: Yeah! Of course!