Paddleboarding: A learning experience

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A photo of a person paddleboarding far out into the water, the sun nearing the horizon and no land in sight.
Serenity, thy name is paddleboarding. 2649771 via Pixabay

A short fiction story about beginnings, endings, and learning to paddleboard

It was the last few weeks of my senior year of high school. To celebrate and to have one last good, “Hooray,” the senior class decided to head out to the beach and skip class for the day.  

Me and my group of friends met at my friend Hailey’s house where we packed up the car with all the goods. Beach blankets, towels, a spikeball set, a cooler full of pop, sweet treats, burgers, and hot dogs to cook on the grill later. I could just feel today was going to be a great day! 

The four of us loaded up in the car and headed out to the beach. By the time we got there, over half of the senior class was set up for the day. The setup looked awesome! Lots of people had already laid out their beach blankets, there was a group of people playing beach volleyball, people in the water and everyone was out having fun. I could not wait to get set up and go out there to join them! 

Once my friends and I were all set up for the day, we decided to bring out the spikeball and play a game together. After a few rounds of playing spikeball, I was worn out and we lost the last game, so it was time to take a break and let someone else play the winners.  

Wandering off, I went to find my beach towel and lie down in the sand. I laid down for a few minutes to relax and cool off the sun, only to doze off and awaken to someone yelling, “Hey, Brooklyn!”  

The shout scared me awake and I looked up and around. Unable to tell who it was, I shrugged it off and laid back down. Then, I heard more voices, louder this time, all yelling together, “Hey Brooklyn!”  

I looked up and gathered my thoughts and figured out who was yelling at me. It was a group of people in the water all hanging out on floaties and water toys, they were waving their hands and yelling at me to tell me to join them in the water.  

Looking around for something to get into the water with, all I could find was this long board with a paddle next to it. I’d never seen anyone use it and was unsure how to use it, but thought “Why not try it out?” 

Dragging the board towards the water and throwing it into the water, I got on and realized I’m really not too sure how to get on it or use it properly. I sat on it and straddled it with my legs, sort of like riding a horse. Then I used the paddle and paddled out to the group of people as though I was in a kayak.  

Once I got there, I could see no one else had a floating toy like I did. Some people had blow-up toys tied up to a paddle board, some people were in kayaks, on knee boards or other things, but no one had what I did. Once I came up, I asked, “What’s up guys?”  

Hailey said, “We just wanted to come and hang; it is our last hooray, isn’t it? Not sleepy town!”  

As she bugs me, she grabs my paddle and pulls me into the water. That is where the battle began. Once some people saw Hailey pull me in, everyone started to splash and push others off their toys into the water!  

After a few minutes of horsing around, Gunther and Matt started to paddle off in their little paddle boat.  

I yelled at them, “Hey, where are you going?”  

They responded, “For an adventure!”  

The rest of us look at them, then each other, and then get onto our water toys and start to follow them.  

As the group follows, we catch up to Gunther and Matt, but I am just following behind, thinking to myself about how there has got to be a better way to use this thing I’m on. This paddle is so tall, like six feet tall, and moving it side to side around my body is not working out.  

Then I think, well, the part where I am sitting is grippy, maybe I am supposed to do this a different way. Eventually, I stop thinking about it, and instead I yell at the group, “How do I work this thing?”   

Matt yells back at me, “Try standing, you’re supposed to stand on the board and paddle!”  

My mind is blown away by this idea. Since it is almost like walking on water, the idea seems nearly impossible, but what do I have to lose, I guess? 

Using my hands to go from sitting to a kneeling position to a standing position, which takes me a few minutes, I gather myself and stand still, starting to feel like I’ve got this. Then, I started to paddle on the board and, over time I started to push the paddle away with my legs and arms and started to gain momentum, catching up in no time!  

Once I got the hang of it, I felt cool and kind of awesome. I could stand on the board, move fast and with momentum, and I had the sun beating on my body. The group ended up not really going anywhere, though. We just went in a circle, since we had to go back to shore to start the hot dog and hamburger preparation.  

When we got back to the shore, everyone else headed in, but I stayed in the water, paddling back and forth on the board and enjoying the experience.  

Without realizing, I ended up missing supper and almost got left behind, until someone noticed and yelled at me that everyone was leaving. Once I dragged the board up to shore, Matt came over and asked, “You seem to like that, hey?” 

I responded, “Yeah, it’s super cool and just challenging enough to be fun!” 

“You know, I don’t have much use for it and can’t balance on it at all, why don’t you have it?” 

I felt joy and a wide grin overtake my face as I asked, possibly over-excited, “Really?” Matt nodded, and I jumped up and down in glee.  

After that, he helped Hailey and I strap it down to Hailey’s car, and we all headed home.  

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