As a lover of all things water, it was far overdue that I try paddle boarding – but the truth is, the idea of it made me a bit nervous. Was it something that was actually harder than it looked? Would I make a fool of myself?
Wanting to overcome this, I reached out to the fine folks at Dragonfly Paddle and Fitness based on Kent Island, Maryland for a beginner’s lesson, and they obliged – here’s how it went.
I met Karla, my instructor, and my classmates at the Kent Island Yacht Club in Chester, Maryland. We started with a briefing on how to hold our paddles, advice to keep our eyes on the horizon to maintain balance, and where to place our feet – whether kneeling or standing – on the board before getting in.
We also were told not to fall in because there are jellyfish in the water, and some snakes around the edges (if you want to know what my inspiration to stay on my board was, that was it!). It was then time to hop on our boards, and get started with the water portion of our lesson.
I spent the first half of the lesson kneeling on the board, alternating my paddling arms and learning how to maneuver. After finding my stride, I started to relax and take notice of the tranquility of our surroundings – beautiful marshes with various types of wildlife and the serene waters of Prospect Bay. Karla stayed with our group the entire time, guiding us along the way.
Despite being my first time, I felt comfortable quickly and moved into a sitting position to increase the pace of my paddling. We paddled through an inlet and around a duck hunting stand. It felt so wonderful to be out on the bay, even with the weather a bit overcast at the time.
Paddle boarding is also an ideal full body workout – keeping your balance works the core, while paddling works the arms, and either kneeling or standing works the legs. Being in nature has been shown to increase serotonin, the “happy chemical” – and I certainly felt cheerful after my lesson! Top that with the conversation I had with Karla for much of our paddling, and I actually forgot I was exercising!
All in all, when my lesson wrapped up, I was so glad I had gone. Not only had I not fallen in (go me!), but my experience made me feel confident that paddle boarding is something that I’d definitely like to try again.
I took a 1.5 hour paddle boarding class with Dragonfly Paddle and Fitness. The class leaves from the Kent Island Yacht Club at 117 Yacht Club Drive, Chester, Maryland (1 hour from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore). Dragonfly Paddle and Fitnesss also offers boot camp, yoga, and kids paddle boarding classes, as well as land yoga. Visit their website at dragonflypaddleandfitness.com.
I protected my phone and keys with a Vansky Floatable Waterproof Case Dry Bag.
Have you been paddle boarding? Would you want to go?
Thank you to Dragonfly Paddle and Fitness for my paddle boarding lesson. All opinions, as always, are my own.