Stand Up Paddling Fin-less

It’s summertime, time to take the family on the road on the mainland! We have cruised through some beautiful countryside, and most significantly, been around the most important people in the world: Family. However, every day Nate and I are reminiscing of stand up paddling, something much more rare on this western desert land. As it is now race season, our muscles are aching to get back in the water!

Besides “mind-paddling”, we’ve had our tease of paddling, from happening upon a river stand up paddle school in the middle of Southern Colorado on the Colorado river, and a lone paddler stroking the waters of the Natoma river in Sacramento. But after weeks of not doing what we love to do, we just HAD to get on a board.

We were stoked to find out that the Aquatics center at the lake in Sacramento rented stand up paddle boards, so we went out to check them out. “Just pick one up from behind the building,” I was told by the lady behind the counter. Sounded easy enough, and my eager heart began dancing and I hummed to myself, “I’m going paaadling, I’m going paaadling!” The music in my head stopped suddenly when I pulled out the longest aluminum paddle (you know, the ones that make your hands black?) with a straight blades, measuring no more than 5 feet tall. “Okay, I thought. Wierd, but doable.” But then I found that all the “stand up paddle boards” they had available were windsurfing boards with no fins –no fins!! Where were the fins?

Fins make the board steady and stable and also cause the board to turn when needed, so I knew this must have been a mistake. I looked around the bay area, and there were no fins or boards with fins to be found, or even anyone there to help. In my overzealousness to get paddling, I decided to at least set the board in the water anyway, and off I went like a drunkard on a helter-skelter course toward our family on the shore.

Once I got to shore, Nate took one of the kids’ beach shovel and shoved it right through the hole for the wind sail, which at least made it better than no fin at all. Perhaps a good moral to the story is, “When life don’t give you a fin, make one.” We made the best of what we had and had a good time anyway. When I returned the poor excuse for a stand up paddle board later, I was told “that’s just the way (their) boards are: a few have fins but most don’t. Besides, they’re unsteady anyway”. Seriously. It was good to be out on the water again, but boy, I am all the more grateful for Rainbow Watersports’ commitment to high quality instruction, and proper equipment. And I’ll bet you are too.