It’s funny, how genes work. One would think that when a parent of great athletic ability has children, those said children would also posses athletic ability. This, though, is not the case when it comes to me. My father had a pretty successful basketball career in his day, quintessential athlete; however, my mother, bless her heart, holds not a single ounce of athleticism. I’m sure everyone can guess which parent’s genes dominated the others.
Why, you ask, am I telling you this? Because this thought, and the many thoughts of my lack of athletic ability, raced through my head as I walked towards the beach in Destin, Florida to take my first try at paddleboarding.
Last August, I spent a few days at The Henderson Beach Resort in Destin. The long weekend was full of delicious food, a spa appointment I still dream about, and great fun with a good group of people. The one snag in my fabulous weekend, I thought when we arrived, was the inevitable paddle-boarding experience we were going to try as a group.
I couldn’t back down. I definitely have a great excuse – I don’t often use my rheumatoid arthritis as an excuse, but I would be lying if I didn’t say I came very close to pulling that card. But, I thought, I had tried City Surf on Magazine Street a few times, and if I had only fallen off those surfboards once, I had to have a pretty decent chance of success.
It was our second day at the resort. A beautiful day on the beach with not a cloud in the sky. And the two men of Yolo Board Adventures could not have been more helpful. They showed the group exactly how to paddle, eventually stand up on the board and everything in between. They made sure each person asked all the questions they needed to, even some of us who had a plethora of “what if” questions. And just like that, we were off and into the water.
I’ll admit that my first thought was that I was just thankful I made it up onto the board. I felt comfortable, once I had the sitting and paddling position down, and then I really enjoyed myself.
We had all paddled out as a group and the view out into the Gulf of Mexico was actually quite beautiful.
I’m not sure if it was the accomplishment of sitting and paddling, or the beautiful weather out there, but my confidence saw a boost (plus, I was far enough away from others to be too embarrassed) and I attempted to stand up on the board – which is customary for those who paddleboard.
On my third attempt, though shaky, I made it. My two feet were on the board, I was standing, proud as I have ever been, and I felt like I just flipped into the end zone, like Reggie Bush in that one game against Pittsburgh. The board below me felt like it would fly out from under me at any moment, and even my brief decade as a dancer was not helping with my balance.
And just like that Reggie Bush flip, I eventually came back down. It was a short-lived victory, but I accomplished something I may have never done if it wasn’t for The Henderson and the two instructors with Yolo.
I never had paddle-boarding on my extensive bucket list, but I penciled it in, checked it off and I would love to go back to Destin and try drifting away all over again.