|Here I am: virgin paddleboarder at Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz on a sunny Saturday in September. Max Montgomery generously volunteered to be my instructor and loan me his paddle board. It's so big, it;s like a small boat. Yet, I was still a bit wobbly standing on it even in flat surf conditions.|
Max provided three excellent pieces of advice for a beginner paddle boarder:
1. Use your knees! The first position to get onto the board after bellyflopping onto it, is to rise to your knees, just kneel on it, before standing up. Then, once standing, be sure to have your knees gently bent, not locked for optimum balance.
2. Momentum is your friend. A gently, steady glide is the best way to maneuver about because it's much harder to maintain your balance standing up, even on a flat ocean, if you are at a dead stop. So keep on gliding along, using your paddle on alternating sides.
3. Paddle using your core muscle group at the center of your body, not just your arms. This was the hardest part for me! I worked on the concept but will have to try again to get the paddling right so my arms and shoulders are less fatigued.
|Max Montgomery has been a surfer for 30+ plus years and is a world-traveled Santa Cruzer. He says that he also loves stand-up paddle boarding because it's a calmer way to appreciate the amazing Monterey Bay!|
Max is also on the board of Ride a Wave - Creating Special Days for Kids with Special Needs. I deeply admire his dedication to giving disabled children and adults the chance to experience riding a wave and enjoying the ocean. Check out photos of past events and become a a sponsors at www.rideawave.org.
For more information about stand-up paddle boarding in Santa Cruz, here are a few (of many) options to visit:
1. Covewater - Stand Up Paddleboards, Santa Cruz, owned by Scott and Leslie Ruble
They offer paddle board classes, lessons, rentals, boards and accessories.
2. Neil Pearlberg, the freelance surfing columnist for the Santa Cruz Sentinel, offers private classes on stand-up paddle boarding. Check out his website! He also wrote about how the well-established Santa Cruz company Caution Kites is manufacturing paddle boards in addition to their signature wind and kite surfing boards.
3. Inflate your SUP! Can't stand to drive your car to a stand-up paddle board session? You will have a heckuva time hauling the typical 11 to 1- foot, 30-inch wide, 30-pound board on your bike or your back to the beach, so check out the inflatable paddle boards (iSUPs). Pete Gauvin, Editor of Adventure Sports Journal, suggests checking out surftech.com's inflatable model.
|A disadvantage of paddleboarding is that they are so huge you really can't put it on your bike to get to the beach; meaning a need to drive there then haul the heavy boards to the beach. Max did the heavy lifting - thank you!|