Just Keep Paddling

I experience the joy of the ocean by walking on water. Sounds cool, right?! Well, that’s how I describe paddleboarding. You get to stand on water, without sinking. You get a view from above water, without flying. The view becomes a sea of sparkles that captures my eyes and I can’t…stop…staring.

But paddleboarding isn’t just about the view. It’s obviously, a fun workout and an ocean-lovers adventure tool. We rented boards from Everyday California at La Jolla Shores ($40 for two hours or if you find their groupon it costs $20 for 2 hours.) The water in San Diego is the perfect temperature this time of year. I can go straight in the ocean without that initial shock to the system.

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The waves were breaking pretty hard so I had to try a couple times to get passed all the white, choppy stuff. But when I reached the calmer waters, I got this cheesy grin on my face and it stayed on me for the rest of my time out there (I mean, my face actually hurt from smiling so much!)

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We paddled towards La Jolla Cove to check out the sea lions. On this day, there were tons and tons of people snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking.

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(photo from Everyday California)

But we still saw a few sea lions lounging on big rocks, doing what they do… looking hilariously lazy and oh-so adorable!

I got a little nervous at how close some people were getting to the sea lions so we decided to skedaddle outta there. My fiance, Chris had the great idea to paddle to a less populated section of the ocean and lie down on our boards. There really doesn’t seem to be a better way to relax than with waves rolling right under you and the sun shining above you. Our nap was short-lived due to drifting, but it was definitely a quality lounge session.

Chris was pretty pooped at that point but I didn’t want to stop exploring, so I set out on my own. I paddled out passed the swimmer’s section (there is a phat fine if you cross into the swim lanes in La Jolla so be sure you look for the buoys and go around!) I reached what seemed like the middle of nowhere. The people on the beach looked like ants and there wasn’t a single kayaker or paddler around me. It was just me and the birds. I’ve watched enough “Blue Planet” to know where there are birds, there are fish, and where there are fish there are bigger guys like dolphins, sharks, and whales. The thought of running into a massive marine mammal made my heart skip with excitement. I’m not afraid of sharks or whales and dolphins are sooo freaken’ cool, so bring it on ocean pals! I paddled around without really having any direction, I was just drawn to the water and was completely content exactly where I was. And apparently, so was a sea lion. I saw his cute little head poke out of the water right in front of me. Then I saw his body slither around my board and he popped himself out again. I actually said “hi, my friend!” as if he could hear me or knew English! But I wanted him to play around my board more so I was trying to give off the friendly vibe. Maybe I was too boring because he moved on really quick. But a few minutes later, another cute little face with big ol’ eyeballs popped out of the water and looked right at me. This time, I got down on my knees and put my hands in. Just being in the presence of such cool creatures felt so exhilarating.

I love the idea of being friends with wild animals, but my new friendships would have to wait. I looked back at shore and realized I was really far out there. Then I paddled back to my fellow humans.

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I did a couple yoga moves to see how well my balance was. It was ok enough to plank, but no handstands on the water today.

I’m so grateful to have such a really cool memory of a couple new pals and the feeling of the open ocean to always cherish. Oh, and I’m sore. Paddling may look easy but you’re using your core the entire time. You’re also obviously using your arms including biceps, triceps, pecs, and shoulder muscles. And of course, you’ll be working dat booty! You stay in a squat position the whole time so the balancing requires some glute and quad action. I can’t really think of a muscle you don’t use on a board, so keep that in mind if you paddle out too far because you’ll always have to paddle back.

Happy paddling!!!

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Sorry for the grainy photos but I told ya, I was way out there!

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Neda Iranpour

About the Author

Neda is an Emmy-award winning evening Anchor in San Diego, a cyclist, a marathon runner, a WBFF Pro & a member of the vegan club. She loves to share stories, including her own!