Trying Stand Up Paddle for the First Time at Ala Moana Beach Park


[Music] So this video is about trying to stand up paddle for the first time in Hawaii. Even though I grew up in Hawaii, I’m not really a beach person. I don’t go to the beach that much and I’ve never surfed before. But before I share my experience, I want to just thank Mike and Renee and the other instructors for teaching us being so patient and providing the boards. So why did I want to try stand up paddle after all these years? I think it’s because I’ve always seen people on the stand up paddle boards just kind of cruising and going very slowly at the beaches and I would think to myself, “That doesn’t seem that hard. What exactly are they doing?” And so I really want to just try and experience it because I’ve heard that it’s a good workout. I heard that, yeah, you work out your core. You work out your arms and it takes so much balance. But I’m standing there and I’m watching them and I just think to myself, “It doesn’t look that difficult” or “How hard can it be?” And so really, when the opportunity came to try it, I thought, “Well, I want to see how hard it is.” So with my first time I have to say that the learning experience was pretty good. I have no surfing background. No real skateboarding background. I did some snowboarding on the mainland, but in terms of stand up paddle, I really had no experience prior going into it. We were able to learn the basics, which was really good, and we learned about finding the right paddle. And finding the right height for your paddle. We learned about how to get up on the board, which was obviously very important. And we also learned how to turn, which I found out later when we’re actually out there, it was very important because you don’t want to just keep going out and cruising. You actually need to turn around or else you’re just going to drift out. So we were able to learn a lot of the basics on shore, which was really nice, and then eventually when we got out on the water, we just tried it. I was a little surprised that we didn’t have as much practice at the shore. We just learned the basics and then we were like, “Okay, just go.” And then four or five of us went out there and we just did it. I was kind of shocked. For a first-time person, I was thinking, “Oh, we’re gonna do some drills, and we’re gonna practice longer, and then we’ll eventually go out there.” But actually we probably practiced or learned for maybe five minutes and after that we would just went out. And the instructors were watching us, of course, and keeping a close eye, but I really like that being able to just go out and try it without over-practice. Without over-caution. The ocean, of course, is very powerful and it’s important to make sure that you know what you’re doing. But they didn’t baby us. They just were like, “Okay, here’s the basics. Go out and just have fun. Learn on your own. You’ll figure it out.” The biggest surprise was the fact that we were able to see sea turtles, which I never thought would be that close. We did our stand-up paddle at Ala Moana Beach Park and I’ve gone to that Beach Park a lot for running and for other activities. I have never seen a turtle before. So when we had the opportunity to go out there in the water and he was talking, “Oh yeah, there’s gonna be turtles around,” I was just thinking like, “No, I’ve never seen them. Maybe we might get lucky. We might see one, but I don’t think we’re gonna get to see it. But actually, there were several sightings. That was pretty exciting for us to be able to go out there. You’re not just seeing it from the shore, but you’re able to just see it… like, you’re standing there and the turtles are right around you. I thought that was so exciting. So the balancing part of stand up paddle really wasn’t that bad. I think as long as you’re looking forward most of the time, it shouldn’t be a problem. I think it’s when you start looking down or when you start looking at your feet, that’s when for me I felt the shakiest. Alright, so let’s talk about falling, right? Because that’s the biggest thing. They said, “Oh, don’t worry. You’re not gonna fall. Don’t worry, you’re not gonna fall.” But actually I fell twice on my first time, which afterwards as I told people about it, they thought, “Oh, that’s not bad.” And I was thinking, “Oh, nobody else fell.” When we went out, nobody else except me. I fell twice. The first time I felt it was because I was paddling and I was listening to a conversation that was happening around me and a couple of other people. I was pay attention to what they were saying and then that’s when I fell. I fell, actually, I fell backwards, which was not a bad thing because if you fall backwards
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you’re less likely to drop straight down into the reef. It was kind of shallow where we were at the time. At least I didn’t fall on my board. That was one of the things that I had seen online. If you’re gonna fall, don’t fall forward onto the board. Just fall into the water because it’s safer. You’re not gonna hurt your knees or your legs. The second time I fell was because the waves were hitting the board from the side. So I was trying to get back to shore, but the way that the waves were in the wind, it was kind of almost like a cross wave and it was pretty strong. Again, I’m a beginner, right, so it’s my first time out there. So the waves are hitting me from the side and I’m trying to balance and it starts to get really really rocky. And then I’m like, “Uh oh. Uh oh.” And then I fell in forward. I should mention, though, that a big factor for that second fall was the fear. I want to talk about that because when you go out there the first time, you know that you could fall, but you haven’t experienced a fall yet. After the first time I fell, I got really nervous and I knew about what falling felt like and what it meant. And there’s some amount of shame that you feel as people on the shore are just sitting there watching and they’re like, “Oh look, that guy fell.” And they can see you and you probably look like a crazy person falling in. There’s that fear of falling. And it something that I didn’t expect from myself when I was out there. That fear of, “I don’t want to embarrass myself again.” Of course, it’s not a big deal. I fell a second time and it’s humbling, right? It’s humbling and the fact is most people are gonna fall several times. Maybe if you’re not a pure beginner. Maybe you’re experienced. Maybe you don’t fall as much. For the most part, I think most beginners fall and I had to remember to give myself that leeway. So just some tips, I guess, from a beginner. I don’t know how many tips I can provide, but from a beginner, I would say the first thing is just have fun. Just go out there. Be safe and just have fun. Don’t worry about other people, as they’re watching you. It’s you having fun. The rest of everyone is there on the beach, so they don’t know right. It’s just you having fun, so just go out there and have fun. Enjoy yourself. Look around when you can and just enjoy the ocean. Enjoy the sun. The second tip is don’t be afraid to fall. Again, when you go in there, you’re all dry and you think, “I’m never gonna fall.” But then once you fall in, you have that thought in your mind. Don’t worry about it. Everyone falls. Several people have told me that, “Yeah, that’s pretty good. Falling in twice. That’s not bad.” And in fact, for the rest of the day, I didn’t fall again. So it’s okay and everybody falls. I think all the people that eventually went out there, everybody fell. So it wasn’t just me and don’t be afraid to fall. And the third tip is just be careful of shallow waters. For us, it’s really weird because where they were taking us, it was pretty okay. It wasn’t too deep, but it was deep enough. But then the reef was so close by Ala Moana and so just be careful if you’re going into the shallow areas. Make sure that when you fall, you don’t go straight down, like a dive. Try to fall flatter. That way your feet don’t go straight through the water and then you can cut yourself on the coral. That ended up happening to my wife, so just be careful if you’re going to shallow areas. You probably shouldn’t be doing that anyway, but if you do, just be really careful out there and just make sure that you’re falling safely. But overall, I had a great time. I think we both had a great time. So thanks for watching this video and Aloha! [Music]

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