I’m going to try all of the rentals at Standley Lake, and my friend Amanda was up for getting out on the water on a standup paddle board (SUP). She grew up in Michigan, so she was excited to get out on the lake. Personally, I hadn’t paddled anything since I was in high school so I knew there was going to be a bit of a learning curve.
I had a new life vest and it was much more comfortable than the rentals. I didn’t have a waterproof camera or case for it, so no pictures this time. We sat on our paddle boards and rowed out, and then tried standing up. It was pretty funny, watching both of us wobbling slowly through the shallow water near the dock. It was pretty windy and the wind was at our backs, so we barely had to paddle and we were cruising through the water.
Though the lack of effort was nice, it had me making good time right toward some trees in the water. That’s when I realized I didn’t know how to paddle. I tried turning, but I could see it wasn’t going to happen fast enough by paddling to one side. So I tried to backpaddle and promptly fell off the back. I dunked myself completely under, in about four feet of water. We’d been in the water for about 10 minutes, so things were not looking good so far.
I sat on my paddle board and decided it was a lot more fun to sit than stand. When standing, you have to pay attention all the time. When sitting, you can visit, hang out, and watch the scenery. Amanda kept at it, slowly paddling and her wobbling got much less obvious. We went past bird island and started heading for the calm side of the lake.
Then it got really windy. Amanda suggested that we turn around and start working our way back, even though we had lots of time left on our rentals. When we started paddling into the wind I saw why she recommended turning around. We were working pretty hard and not making good progress at all. We finally got to the other side of bird island again, and I decided to try laying down on my back on the board. Amanda did the same, and we loosely held each others boards to stay together. The sun felt good, and we just hung out for a few minutes. Of course, a few minutes was all the wind needed to blow us back to the other side of the little island. Then it started to get really windy and it rained.
For the rest of the time (about 45 minutes), we paddled hard to go into the wind and rain. It was windy enough to make waves in the normally still water. Amanda finally fell off for the first time, and we just worked at getting back to the dock. I turned around once to see where she was, and did a dive right into the water. Whoops. Getting back on was hard with my life vest in the way, so I pushed the board over to where I could stand up again. I got back on, and Amanda fell off. I was paddling hard, head down, and she was using her board as a flotation device as she swam back to the dock.
In the end, I spent nearly the whole time sitting on the paddle board so I will probably like kayaking. That’s next!