This weekend, I paddleboarded on a river for the first time. It was...less than successful. The paddleboard I bought is too slim for effectively SUPing down a river, or, at least the kind of river I was on. Even though the reviews I’d read said that it was stable, I’m wondering if the users took it out on calm rivers, not whitewater or fast-moving rivers.
I fell in twice. The river was cold and fast, and it was hard not to gasp for air while trying to get out of the water. I’m not sure I did a great job of managing my sense of panic while I was in the water.
We went with a group, my boyfriend included, who were experienced SUPers, including a certified SUP instructor. Even he couldn’t stand on the SUP; he had to kneel. My boyfriend traded paddleboards with me and rode it on his knees to the end of the route. Once I was on a wider one, I didn’t fall in again. The instructor, who’d fallen in numerous times, was extremely cold. We weren’t in danger of hypothermia, necessarily—we could have pulled over at any time and called for medical help—but it wasn’t the smoothest ride either.
I had fun in the end, but it was a good learning experience that: I might not be good at something the first time I try it; I should ask experienced people what they recommend in terms of gear; and try not to panic when in those circumstances (like a cold, wet river), because it makes it harder to extract yourself from said circumstances.
I’m definitely going again though. Maybe when it gets a bit warmer though...