Stand Up Paddle!

Trying something new: this morning I got up on a stand up paddle surfboard, and went out into the rolling swell in Napili Bay (here on Maui). This was my first time on a SUP surfboard. Man it is not easy.

I didn’t catch any swells, but I did come close once or twice. It’s a real challenge to maintain your balance, and a challenge to get the balanced, stable forward momentum you need, in the right direction, to catch a swell. I’ll get it soon enough.

I am not at all thinking about training at the moment. Just paddling, and some sprinting and screwing around. I’ll try to get some pictures.

In the afternoon I went out for a second session, about 45 minutes. It was great. I caught several swells and rode them like a regular surfer guy. Stand Up Paddle surfing is more challenging than I imagined. Wind, chop, and swells combined produce a seriously difficult challenge to maintaining balance. Core, legs, and arms are constantly working whether you are in motion or staying still.

Unfortunately, on my last ride of the day (it’s always the last ride) I managed to pearl just a bit, and fell, and got myself a most expensive surfing lesson. I was chasing small swells on the southwest end of Napili Bay, where the rocks are shallow. I had several safe rides through a channel in the rocks, but this time I lost balance and fell. Underwater for a moment, with eyes open, I found myself drifting past a wide, jaggedly sharp, hook-like formation of coral that reached up towards the surface. I recall thinking, I might just get killed by something like that. That could gore me, or rip open my back or break my skull. A short time later I paddled in. It was peaceful, beautiful, deadly.

When I got up to the grass, and laid down my board, I noticed a huge and awful looking gash on the bottom, up near the nose. What a ding! I knew right away that the pearl had done it. What an unfortunate mess. Later I called the rental shop in Kahului. This mistake was going to cost a couple of hundred dollars. Holy crap. But to me, surfing is like crack cocaine. I resolved to learn my lesson and move on. And I’ll figure out how to pay for this obsession later.

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