How Paddling Changed My Life - ROZYBOOM

How Paddling Changed My Life

October 1, 2018

Sometimes you don’t see your place in life, are not happy, or searching for something. Anything. Just to grab ahold of and see where it takes you. That was me back in 2014. I disliked the direction I was going with my life, felt stuck, and needed a way to escape. So I signed up for a 90 day backpacking expedition with NOLS. I had little to no outdoor experience prior to signing up. I just knew I needed something to mix up my life and get out of my depression. One section of that course, was spent whitewater canoeing 100-115 miles down the Green River, Utah.

As soon as I hopped in the canoe, I knew paddling was for me. I loved every second of it. It was that same overwhelming feeling I got when I hopped on my skis or mountain bike for the first time. All that bull crap from before got washed away with every stroke. Finally, I have an escape! Did a little paddling after the expedition, but nothing major. Didn’t own anything to paddle and really didn’t have many friends that actually paddled too. I struggled for a solid year or more, as that spark to paddle was really struggling to stay lit. I didn’t want it to go out because it meant so much to me! But also didn’t know what to do about it.

Fast forward 2016. I was working on my Minnesota State Park Project. I was exploring every single Minnesota State Park, yup all 76 of them in 32 weeks. I was mainly hiking and mountain biking the parks to see what they were all about. I quickly noticed, how many of the parks actually have lakes. Figured it would be awesome to explore these parks by land and water. So I reached out to some of my “River Rats” buddies from NOLS. Asked them, “What would be a solid option for me to get? Something I can easily travel with and for a single person.” They all told me to checkout these Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Boards (SUP). Two of them suggested Hala. They felt with my skiing, skateboarding, and everything else I love it do background it would be a perfect fit. Like most, I was a little taken back about inflatable aspect. Busted out the computer and started researching what the heck these things are all about. I came across a photo of Nadia Almuti running a class 4 (maybe 5) rapids on a Hala SUP. I was blown away! I didn’t have a clue people were doing this sort of thing! Living out in the Mid-West we see more things with motors lol. That paddling spark of mine, just got a little fuel dumped on it. Reached out to the Hala team and we talked what board I should get. They recommend the Nass, hung up the phone, and instantly ordered it. Keep in mind, I still have yet to see a SUP in real life.

My new Nass showed up, still don’t have a clue what these SUPs are all about. Unpack it, headed to a lake, hooked it up, and started hand pumping. Looking down, “5 PSI are you kidding me?! Ok ok I will get it to 15. Game on!” Pumped up, fins on, and ready to hit the water. Walked across the sandy beach and placed it into the chilly water. Jumped on and pushed off the shore with my paddle. Found the balance point while drifting backwards, as I turned myself around to start paddling. That’s when the fire for paddling engulfed me. THIS is what I should be doing! PADDLING! Paddled for 2-3 miles before finally stopping to rest. Could not wipe the smile off my face. Finally, I have something to fuel my passion for being on the water! Best part, I can paddle all by myself, which happens to be 80-90% of the time.

When I am out paddling, nothing bugs me. My mind finally goes quiet and I can focus on just being on the water. Anything negative disappears. I can only see and hear the beauty Mother Nature provides, from this awesome floating vantage point. Thought about all the places I could paddle around the world. Man oh man this really is going to change the way I see and experience the world. It completely changed everything for me. Honestly, don’t know where I would be in life if I never listened to that little spark saying, “Fuel me!”. Hands down, one of the best decision of my life. To this day, I paddle 1-3+ days a week! It has become apart of me. It keeps me focused, excited, and of course on my toes. Yeah life will toss some big waves, but when you are doing what you love, you can paddle right up and over those big ol waves. So bring it on! 

Get out and paddle my friends :)

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