Andrew and I finally scheduled our session at L2 Boards for Stand Up Paddle-boarding. Unfortunately, since we waited so long, the class schedule had changed, so instead of doing a yoga class, we simply got the rental and took them out by ourselves.
After being fitted for out life jacket and paddle, we carried the large boards, typically about 23 pounds, down to the river behind the Chattanooga Aquarium. We got a brief instruction course and then headed off underneath the walking bridge that connects North Shore with downtown.
It was humid, so it didn’t take long for the sweat to start beading up and dripping down my face. Like every sport, there is technique involved. You are supposed to keep your arms straight, not bending in at the elbows when paddling. It is a whole body work out, using your legs to balance and your core and upper body to pull you forward. Leaning over at the hips, you pull your upper body back with the paddle stroke.
We got the hand of it pretty quickly and made our way around Maclellan Island on the Tennessee River. There is a pull off on left side which we parked our boards and explored the island for a bit. It was originally inhabited by Native Americans. Eventually, it was bought by a few locals in 1930 and used to farm various crops. There is a 1.8 mile trail that loops through the island of 18 acres.
After thoroughly exploring, we hoped back on the boards and paddled against the current back up the river to carry the boards back to the shop. This ‘simple’ task turned out to the most exciting part of the day. Not only are the boards awkwardly large, but as we were paddling up stream, the wind picked up. The moment we headed back up the ramp from the water the wind grabbed a hold of the board and swung Andrew and I around in circles. Trying out best to keep holding the boards and not damage them, but also not damaging us by slamming into the concrete supports holding up the bridge. It was cheap entertainment to those watching. Hell – it was cheap entertainment to me!