What SUP?

Required disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post; I was hired to take photos for Wake County parks and I am documenting some of those experiences. I was able to try paddleboarding for free through Earth Creature and What SUP Triangle, but this post is my honest opinion.

I have been having a blast taking photos of Wake County parks! I was hired to take photos for their new websites and brochures (coming soon!), and come on now - outdoors, parks, fun adventures, photography - is there anything I like better?! Of course not! (Except for maybe Ryder and McCrae...maybe!) As part of the work I've been meeting up with all sorts of awesome and adventurous people, from mountain bikers to disc golfers to volleyball players to kayakers and so many more! It's awesome to do things I love, and it's even better to meet others who share that love of the outdoors.

Most recently I met up with a group of stand-up paddleboarders at Lake Crabtree. The week before at Harris Lake I'd met Laura Prudhomme, the organizer of the Meetup "What SUP Triangle?" through a meetup with Life Is A Hike. Laura and her husband Mark own Earth Creature which rents SUP gear and organizes events like the SUP meetup at Harris and the meetup at Crabtree. I found them through a mutual friend and after I took photos at the Harris Lake event Laura invited me to take photos at a Lake Crabtree event and try out paddling for myself. 

McCrae and I arrived early, eager to help set up and set out on the water. I'll admit my preferred mode of water transportation is usually kayak, but on a hot June afternoon it felt nice to hop on a board with the wind in my hair and water lapping at my toes.

Or rather, it felt nice to paddle around on my knees first, and then fall into the water when I tried to stand up the first time. Yeah, there's a reason I decided against bringing my camera out on the water, sorry everyone.

But after another attempt and a bit of wobbling I started to feel more comfortable on the SUP board. I learned to lean with the board and to pull with my obliques and other lateral muscles, dipping the long paddle into the water and only occasionally getting the paddle turned around backwards (oops). After a while I was cruising out on the water, cutting into gentle waves on the lake so that water broke just over my board and cooled my toes that curled tight to grip the board.

We headed back to meet up with the group attending the day's event, members of Fit4Mom Cary/Durham. Laura, Mark, and Polissena, a regular co-organizer of SUP events, were busy with the meetup attendees and outfitting them with paddles and boards and anchors and leashes - an assortment of gear for paddling and then stopping in a quiet cove for some SUP yoga. I snapped some photos of the group, and once most folks were off paddling across the lake McCrae and I grabbed some boards and followed them for some fitness and yoga.

Yoga even in ideal conditions is tough. It's not just stretching and flexing and folding yourself into odd shapes; there's a lot of balance and concentration and care that goes into a pose. But add balancing Crow pose on a board that's rocking and tilting beneath your hands as it floats on water and you've got one heck of a yoga practice! At least it certainly brings a whole new meaning to "finding your center" during your practice.

But for all my being out of practice and being a fish out of water on a paddleboard, it was refreshing to once again flow through a practice, and I particularly relished doing it outside and finishing up savasana with my fingers dipped in the water and clouds rolling overhead. Clouds. When I first started meditating I was taught to imagine clouds to help clear my mind, and I realized what a gift it was to enjoy the open sky on the water as I finished my practice.

After we finished our yoga practice a few of us had to paddle fast from the shore of the cove to get away from some buzzing bugs, and by the time I'd grabbed my camera the last of the Fit4Mom Cary/Durham attendees were paddling to shore. I got fewer photos since I went out on the water with the group, but it was a great experience getting out there and trying SUP with others. Some friends and I had been talking about trying SUP for a while, so I know we'll be meeting up with a SUP group again soon. And maybe this time I'll remember my GoPro!

Thank you to Laura and Mark and Polissena of Earth Creature and What SUP Triangle? for letting me tag along and for letting us borrow boards! Thank you too to Life Is A Hike meetup group for letting me take photos at Harris Lake and to Fit4Mom Cary/Durham for letting me take photos at Lake Crabtree!

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