A couple of months ago I bought a stand-up paddle board, and it’s driving me crazy that I still haven’t had a chance to try it out. The fact that it’s stored in a closet upstairs combined with the knowledge that I don’t even know if I can stand-up paddle board outside the safety of my living room makes it feel like it was an ill-considered impulse purchase, even though it really wasn’t.
Several years ago, while fishing at the lake with my parents and when the fish weren’t biting, Kalen and I paddled back into a cove on the inflatable inner tube where we saw an impressively large fish hanging out in the shallows, schools of smaller fish, and birds that we couldn’t see from the boat. The tube was not particularly agile, though, and we spent as much time spinning in circles as we did successfully navigating reeds and driftwood, and we soon started brainstorming ideas for how to better explore the coves when fishing didn’t hold our interest. We more or less settled on the idea of a kayak, but still had logistical issues that we couldn’t solve, like storage and transport. We also weren’t impressed with the inflatable kayaks we found in our admittedly rudimentary research. The kayaks took a metaphorical backseat (obviously not a literal back seat, or transport wouldn’t have been that much of a problem).
Either last summer or the summer before (my grasp on the passage of time was already slippery, but the pandemic has ensured that unless I have an exact date to affix to an event, it will only be labeled “a little while back” in the annals of my mind), a couple of our neighbors got some kayaks and would occasionally paddle around on local rivers and lakes. My kayak curiosity was reignited, but the issues of storage and transport had not changed. We still have the same tiny cars and the same tiny garage that only barely holds one of those tiny cars at a time.
Then, at some point a cousin of mine shared something about stand up paddle boarding, and then an online friend shared something similar, and after brief research I discovered that paddle boards are usually inflatable, and if balancing on one to stand is too difficult, you can sit on them like an open top kayak. Sometimes I’m pretty smart, and other times I don’t think of something as simple as sitting down until I see someone else do it. Sitting down was good news, because Kalen and I rode stand up jet skis with some friends one time and I could not stand up on them, and that was back when I was in much better shape than I am now. It wasn’t great shape, but I was ten years younger and thirty pounds lighter, so you tell me which one sounds like the better athlete.
All that to say, the decision to buy a paddle board built and simmered slowly over several years, even before I knew that’s what I was looking for, and I bought one. But when I bought it, it was still early spring and cold outside. And over the course of the last month or so, we haven’t been able to go a whole week without getting at least four inches of rain, and this week it’s unseasonably cool, so the paddle board remains in the upstairs closet as I do not wish to get hypothermia or be swept away in raging floodwaters.
This weekend we went to inspect the flood levels and scope out some places where we might be able to use the paddle board in the future. It looks like it might be quite some time before this is a feasible option, especially with more rain in the forecast.
Until it warms up, then, and I can get to some calmer water, I guess we will have to pretend to paddle board around the living room.