SUP Boston

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It’s not a big deal for an old dog to learn a new trick, especially when the pups are learning too.  And so it was that on a balmy day in Boston, we went standup paddle boarding, a sport referred to as SUP.   Only, it wasn’t so balmy.  The high was maybe 73o, for the few moments that the skies parted.  Fortunately, we timed it right.  As did many others for this relatively small recreation oasis for city dwellers.

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The floating bridge held the line of people who had already signed their releases and handed over their driver’s licenses.  I guess 73o is a balmy day for Boston, because there were over 100 people making use of the canoes, kayaks, and SUP boards. Or, maybe it was effective subway advertising.

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Probably, because I was outside the norm for the age group.  In any case, they size the paddle for you, steady the board for you, let you kneel on it, and… good luck.  “And don’t stand until you’re at least 20’ from the dock.”  That way, you don’t hit your head on it.  Standing up on a paddleboard is an interesting challenge.  First, it’s wider than I expected (but hoped), and, on your knees, is quite manageable.  It’s the whole standing business.  But, others are entering the water behind you (mostly on kayaks), and you must press on, so…

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You just do it.  Awkward as heck, even in the relatively calm “channel” where you launch.  And see that little bridge ahead?  By that point, you need to be back on your knees to go under and get to the Charles River.  And stand up again afterwards, with the river current and waves driven by the breeze and passing boats.  No problem, because you’re an expert by then, right?

The truth is, it’s not so hard.  And, after one hour, it’s not entirely comfortable, either, but none of us fell in.

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You gradually develop more confidence, but I’ll have greater respect for those who do it in more flowing conditions or in the ocean.  By the time we were done, I wasn’t tired, but I was tired of it.  A stiff headwind is hard to make progress against, and you have to prepared when waves arrive from passing boats.  In other words, it was a nice adventure, but it’s the kayaking life for me.

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