A newb amongst the elites

I have a new hobby/sport, as if I needed another.  Well, I am not really new to the sport, but I am new to the competitive side of it.  I have been stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) for a few years now.  I quickly taught myself, thinking, how hard can it be?  It turns out that it wasn’t all that hard to paddle, you simply put your board in the water, slowly stand up, paddle and viola!  I’ve had a great time keeping it as simple as that for the past two years.  It turns out, though, that there is a lot more to paddle boarding than that.

One day I got an e-mail from one of the companies I purchased a paddle board from, Walk on Water, advertising an upcoming race called “Return to Goat Island” which takes place on June 18th in Snow Hill, MD.  Seeing as I freaking love goats – I was intrigued.  I had never heard of paddle board racing, I didn’t even think they could go all that fast.  I saw that there was a beginner race, and debated on whether or not to give it a try.  Now, at that point in time, I had no interest in becoming a real competitor.  I just saw this as an opportunity to meet some cool goats people, who had similar interests as me.  At the time, I didn’t really know anyone else with a paddle board, and not too many of my friends were interested in trying it out.

I couldn’t even consider registering for a race without having someone teach me the correct paddle boarding technique, so after a friend mentioned them, I reached out to Capital SUP in Annapolis, MD (instagram: @Capital_SUP).  I signed up for an introductory SUP (stand up paddleboard) lesson with Brian Meyers, one of the three founders / owners of Capital SUP.  I could not have been more nervous, especially when, after meeting Brian, he brought me inside and put me on an indoor SUP trainer to “evaluate” my “stroke technique.”  (Dude.  I’m in a super tight wetsuit, and you want me to put my butt at eye level on this thing and workout?)  The SUP trainer was incredibly simple, and yet incredibly intimidating.  Brian had me step up and paddle for a bit.  I thought I did pretty well, I mean, it is pretty simple, right?  Well, I was awful.  Of course, Brian didn’t put it that way, being the kind, professional trainer that he is, but he did tell me that I had some common, self-taught bad habits that we would work on.  We spent the second half of the hour lesson out on Spa Creek, which Capital SUP is located on.  Brian taught me a proper paddling technique and sent me home with a lot of very useful information and videos to study.  I could not wait to get back on the water and practice what he had taught me, and I couldn’t wait for another lesson.

I have met up with Brian about 4 times since the introductory lesson, and he has taught me a lot, but I still have quite a bit to learn.  He has made sure to invite me to any and all of Capital SUP’s events and group training sessions, and has really made me feel like I am a part of their team.  He encouraged me to sign up for the 1st Annual Bay Bridge Paddle (@baybridgepaddle).  They had a beginner 1.5k, a 5k, and an elite 9mile race.  I signed up for the 1.5k and started training in my free time.  The race came quickly, and I was beyond scared.  I definitely noticed a major improvement through my lessons with Brian, but I was still so new, and so… slow.

I showed up to the event, which I will write more about later, with my buddy Kristy, who was also racing in the beginner 1.5k.  There was a massive turn out, 400+ people were participating in the events.  I immediately felt like I was amongst 400+ friends, and the great people at Capital SUP made me feel like I was also amongst teammates (who just so happen to be some of the best racers around).  I can tell you, I will be signing up for the “Return to Goat Island” race, not only because I freaking love goats, but because I freaking love this sport and all of the awesome people who participate in it.  The Mahalo vibe is strong.  More info on the Bay Bridge Paddle race to come…



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