If you’re an enthusiastic SUP paddler, committed to the cause, then you’ll have developed a certain way of being over the years. As part of ‘something’ we may describe our actions as ‘randomised’. Yet being an addicted stand up paddler breeds specific behavior patterns. And there are certain things that being a stand up paddle boarder can teach us.
How long does time elapse between SUP sessions? Your place in the world can often dictate the number of stand up paddle boarding floats you score. Weather, tides and general life responsibility can also get in the way.
Alternatively, you may be a paddler holding out for those optimum SUP conditions – picking and choosing – rather than heading out every time you have a window. In all cases, patience is a virtue, as the saying goes.
SUP is relatively easy to begin. But just as with everything if you want to improve it takes dedication. SUP isn’t like football where we can kick a bag of wind round a field at any time. Progressing within stand up can be a longer road to success. But one thing all accomplished riders possess is determination. Determination to score a session; determination to make it out through the oncoming white water to the wave’s peak; determination to nail that new paddle skill – the list goes on.
Whatever level of paddler you are, if you’re bug bitten your determination to succeed will sit side by side all other parts of being a stand up paddle boarder.
Being able to recover quickly, from even such small things as a fall, is a skill that will straddle your everyday life as much as your SUP existence. Resilience goes hand in hand with determination and ultimately combines to make us better in the water and better as people.
There are countless examples of paddlers refusing to give up. From those humble beginnings, where just standing upright is a feat, right up to advanced paddling skills, our resilient nature will play its part in helping us improve our SUP and overall life.
Acceptance of failure.
As much as we’re determined to stomp a move, and resilient enough to bounce back from crashes, sometimes we just have to accept the fact it’s not happening – for that session at least. In time the SUP move or paddling skill trying to be learned will all fall into place. But speaking short term it’ll be a few sessions at least (unless you’re truly gifted) before you can raise your fist in victory.
Accepting that you may fail to begin with, but not giving up, is a great trait to have. It’s part of what makes us better ourselves and push on to the next level. There are plenty of cheesy phrases that sum this up. We’ll not go down this road, suffice to say failing is the key to becoming better as a SUPer and better as a human.
Euphoria in success.
And then, one day (finally) you nail that move or skill! In the blink of an eye, all your hard work has paid off. Countless hours on the water, visualising, going through the motions on land and trying to develop essential muscle memory with maybe some coaching thrown in for good measure, will see you achieve your goal, get over that hurdle and move on from that previous plateau.
Enjoy that success: it’s an addictive sensation and one of the reasons we keep coming back to stand up paddle boarding for more. Being euphoric is perfectly acceptable, just don’t become smug or arrogant as these aren’t great traits for anyone.
The more you paddle the more you’ll understand: about the environment you’re SUPing in, about conditions, weather, the wider world at large and everything else in between. There’s so much to glean being an active, outdoors person. Much more than we can ever learn in front of a screen or playing video games.
Tangible, touchable realness is much more fulfilling than relying on digital distractions and your understanding of the big picture will increase no end. Plus, if you do your SUP homework and learn about the ‘scientific’ elements of paddling – related to everything from equipment to meteorological behaviour – then you’ll be sponging from life more than most. Also, taking a keen interest in the history of paddle sports at large will aid your further development and understanding.
As stand up paddlers we travel – whether that being during the SUP session we happen to part of at that time or heading further afield to score anew SUP route, wave or experience. In every one of these instances, we come into contact with all manner of people from different walks of life as well as different cultures and ways of living. Soak this up as these different situations are what help us grow as paddlers and humans. There’s nothing like experience and being open minded to possibilities will let all that valuable experience in.
Being exposed to alternative stimuli gives us as stand ups a much more open and accepting view of the world. Rather than be confined to an insular existence we embrace the differences and enjoy taking a step out of our normal routines. Open mindedness really is a way to enjoy a more fulfilling time on planet Earth, regardless of SUP.
What other lessons does stand up paddle boarding teach us. Let us know as we’re always keen to hear your stories.