From the title of this post you’d be forgiven for thinking we’re going to be promoting the fact you should be learning new SUP skills and ways of being with the paddle. When actually what this article is about is indeed how tricky it can be learning something new. Especially when you’re perhaps lacking in time.
SUP’s recreational paddling ease…
Recreational SUP – as in, simply paddling about (lightly) on fair weather days – is where a lot of the sport’s appeal lies. The performance side of SUP isn’t as latched onto quite as much. Of course, there are those that will follow certain pathways having initially learned. And a good many newbie stand up paddlers don’t know the extent of SUP’s versatility. Hence articles promoting these performance avenues.
Yet when all said and done the majority just want a good time, in the sun with minimum hassle. Charging waves or running white water rivers couldn’t be further from thoughts.
Learning something (SUP) new.
When you learn new skills, ways of doing things and how to be it takes time. And time with a good many is in short supply. Life and responsibility conspire against spending hours afloat, grappling with unfamiliar technique. Learning can be laborious. And in many cases can detract from the real reason to indulge in such things as stand up paddle boarding: fun! If there’s no fun being had then what’s the point?
There could be an argument that we live in a society of instant gratification. And this is one reason some of us don’t like spending time getting a handle on new skills. Yet as adults often we simply don’t have the time. It’s as straightforward as that.
Take SUP surfing as an example. Acquiring the necessary paddle skills to pilot your stand up paddle board efficiently in waves isn’t an overnight exercise. Firstly, riders need to be putting themselves in and amongst the flotsam. That necessitates travel to wave locations for the majority. Which takes time.
Once there learning ways of getting outback, catching waves, riding swell, keeping safe, and everything else that goes with the experience requires dedication, perseverance and (you guessed it) time!
There’re no cutting corners. Time served in the waves means experience will be gained. And with more experience comes more proficiency which in time leads to more fun. Maybe. But you have to reach the goal first. And that takes time.
Social media guff.
Savvy social media users will be aware of the guff that floats about on social media. Supposed inspirational quotes and motivational posts along the lines of: ‘you’re standing still if you’re not learning and evolving’ flood our streams. When actually it’s all rubbish. There’s no pressure to learn and improve all the time. It’s perfectly fine to stay where you’re at if your situation doesn’t allow extra time.
New kid on the watersports block, wing foiling, is a classic example of the above. We hear all the time about how it’s great to be a beginner again. And every rider is supposedly loving the learning process again. Maybe some do. But you can bet your bottom Dollar a lot don’t! They’d rather be ripping from the get go and not spending all their time falling in and crashing.
So the next time you’re finding time for SUP just enjoy it for what it is. Don’t feel you’ve got to be practicing pivot turns or race starts. Just enjoy your time afloat. You’ll feel all the more refreshed for having done so.
And for those that do have time to improve their SUP skills. Great! Have as much fun as you can do as well. Remember: time’s precious and at some point, it does run out.