I Tried Stand Up Paddleboarding in the Barnegat Bay And It Did Not End Well
Some people might be too embarrassed to tell this ridiculous story if it happened to them, but me? I have no shame...
Let's talk about the time I tried stand up paddleboarding...
I have family with a house on West Point Island in Lavallette, and so we had a family beach house weekend. The house is right on the water, so late Saturday afternoon, a few of us decided we'd try out some of the 'toys.'
(Full disclosure: if any of this had happened on the ocean side, I absolutely would have been a panicked mess. The bay is pretty shallow, and I knew I would wind up on land somewhere eventually, so...I really wasn't that worried.)
My brother and his fiancee were going to go kayaking, and I asked Duzzy if he wanted to go stand-up paddleboarding with me. (Sounded way easier than our adventures in surfing.) At first he agreed, but then decided he didn't want to come, but would still help me get started.
He helped me onto the board, which really is pretty sturdy...I'm not the most graceful/athletic person, but I didn't have much trouble staying balanced, and so I started gently paddling my way along...
After a few minutes (I swear it felt like 30 seconds), I turned my head around and realized I was incredibly far out into the bay, so I tried to turn around and head back...and then found out just how much the wind and water current had picked up. Every time I was able to get the board facing the right direction, the current would spin me right back.
Of course then, to add to the fun, my toe/foot started cramping up, which made it so much easier to balance while also fighting the current...which is when I fell in the first time. Luckily, the bay is shallow, and thanks to all that surfing fun, I knew I could get myself back on the board.
I then tried kneeling on the board to make it easier to balance so I could try to paddle my way back to the house...that didn't go to well either...and I fell in again.
At one point, while I'm kneeling on the board, trying to figure out what my next move would be...I see a small boat heading towards me, and all I could think was..."Really guy? You see me here, you can't steer around me?"
As he got closer, I tried to play it cool -- no, no, I'm not stuck out here...floating away from civilization, wondering what the heck to do -- and I smiled at the two guys on the boat and said hi. I'm pretty sure I also said something about how I couldn't get out of the way, which is when they said something to the effect of, "we came to get you."
Cue the mortifying 5 minutes of me falling off the board again as I tried to step into the boat, and then somehow trying to pull myself INTO the boat from the water, which led to these two poor men trying to pull my not-small body up into it. I'm confident I flashed them both at LEAST once, but -- I was able to wiggle my way onto the boat, and basically then fall into it.
So graceful. Like a gazelle, really.
Turns out the guy with the boat lives next door to the house where I was staying, and he saw me head out on the board, then heard all of my family talking about how I was really far out in the bay...so he went out to bring me back in. (Awesome, right??)
Meanwhile, also pretty far out into the bay are my brother and his fiancee, who found their kayak sinking. We're clearly an athletic family.
Once I was in the boat, I suggested we circle back to also try to get them in the boat, which wasn't nearly as successful.
They wound up tying their kayak to the boat, and holding on the kayak as we towed them back in. When they got close enough, they walked the rest of the way back in, and I wound up with one of my favorite stories ever.
So, West Point Island Frank, thanks for picking me up, because I'm pretty sure I would have washed up somewhere around Bay Head.
I have a few battle wounds in the form of a scrape on my leg and a handful of bruises mostly from when I tried to get in the boat, but I am 100% fine. My dignity is completely gone.
Note to self: stick to indoor adventures.