I do appreciate being able to work wherever there is an internet service: what would I do without my laptop? Though it can be kind of difficult in some of the more far-flung places where the connection can be crazy slow or even non-existent at times, those are also the places that have the most captivating cultures. You know what I mean, the kind of place that you find really cool to visit but wouldn’t want to live in. Not long ago I was stand up paddle boarding (or attempting to! see this how-to on stand up paddle boarding) in one such place: a remote Peruvian town. It was considerably out of the way and remarkably relaxed. The paddle boards were in okay shape and while everyone had very relaxed attitudes the men also sported big hunting knives — almost machetes — which gives one pause. It didn’t feel dangerous though, and I was never worried about my computer getting stolen.
So, stand up paddle boarding: I can see why interest in it is snowballing. To do it well requires a lot of balance, though. I had sore muscles in my sides and legs later on; I think a lot of the achiness was because of tensing up while keeping balance. Like any sport it gets easier the more you do it, and if you were to find some videos of people paddle boarding or see a good stand up paddle boarder in person you would think it is as easy as can be. It can’t be too difficult if it is possible to do yoga on a stand up paddle board, right? Nope. You will likely fall off a number of times before it gets easy. For that reason (and because warm is just nice) I’m happy my first try was near the equator in pleasantly warm waters. It would be smart to wear a wet suit or possibly a dry suit if you are going to make your first attempt in a cold climate.
Overall, though, stand up paddle boarding is not so difficult that you get discouraged, and not so simple that you get bored: a good balance. Because you are outdoors in changeable conditions on the water, there is the non-stop stimulation of the changing landscape/waterscape as well as constantly interacting with and accommodating to the conditions. One really cool plus that I hadn’t anticipated is being able to see below the water’s surface with ease. Since you are standing you’re able to look pretty much straight down alongside the board. If you add a good pair of polarized sunglasses to reduce the reflections you can enjoy some amazing (and sometimes a little nerve-wracking) views of marine life.
I’m a visual person — I am a graphic designer, right? — and it was fascinating to see things somewhat differently: that is from the point of view of paddling while standing up out on the water. I can see some small new design ideas coming to light. I would describe the new visuals as more relaxed and organic and less angular. It’s smart to have different styles at ready for the needs of different clients, so that’s another plus, an unexpected advantage of trying something new. A new way of seeing the world is rarely a bad thing.