Looking for something new to try? Why not learn stand up paddle boarding (commonly known as SUP)?! At one time or another you have probably been on a beach somewhere and seen people out on the water paddle boarding. I personally always wondered: is easy to do or hard to do? Some people make it look so effortless, like walking on water. Some people even go so far as to take a cooler and radio out with them, or even practice yoga on their SUP! But being someone who is neither coordinated or athletic, I imagined it could very well be difficult for the average person.
Well, I finally got up the courage to give it a try, I had a blast! It happened to be a day a cruise ship was docked at the Frederiksted Pier, so the whole beach was hopping. My husband and I rented boards and got some basic instruction on the beach including how to get up on the board, the proper way to paddle and tips to help keep your balance…then we headed for the water! Luckily for me, I have a friend here on-island who is a very experienced boarder, so he took us out. While it was challenging, and I gave myself several good spontaneous saltwater rinses, I did finally manage to get up and paddle!
Oddly enough, it was very relaxing when I was paddling. In order to stay up on the board you have to keep your momentum going and your eyes on the horizon…so, you can’t really think about anything else, forcing you to clear your mind. Add to that the fact that the water was so incredibly clear and turquoise, the temperature was perfect, and the view was postcard worthy. As we paddled along parallel to the shore you could see all the people from the cruise ship soaking up the sun or trying their own hand at some of the water sport activities available on the West End. When it was time to take a break (because it can be exhausting, especially for those of us who are not in the best of shape) we straddled our boards and just floated which allowed us a chance to take it all in. We enjoyed the serenity of being far enough away from the shore that all we could hear was the water, while still enjoying a great view of the beach.
Bottom line, SUP is totally worth trying! Luckily, if you have no experience there are several places located on St. Croix where you can rent a stand up paddle board and get some experienced instruction, like West End Water Sports at Rainbow Beach. If you want something easier, try renting a SUP Stepper from Island Kayak Sailing Adventures. You can also take a SUP lesson and then tour Salt River with Virgin Kayak Tours. Whether you are a local who has never tried it, or a visitor looking for yet another activity to try here on St. Croix, I would recommend that you give SUP a try!– Jennie Ogden, Editor
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