After seeing a lady paddling on what looks like a larger-than-usual long-board from the shores of Boracay while my friends and I waited for our five-pm parasailing appointment, I had tried to find out where I can borrow a board and a paddle to try the activity. I followed the lady to OJ’s Roast Bake Grill, where she returned the board and paddle. After talking to the attendant from OJ’s, I found out that the activity would take a minimum of an hour—including instruction and actual paddling time—and will cost 600PHP (roughly 15USD). I quickly calculated time in my head. I definitely won’t be able to do it today, but could squeeze it in for the next day, before we leave the island.

The next day, while my friends separated into two groups—one group went riding ATVs, while the other went on a different tour—I elected to stay behind and try stand up paddleboarding. After I arrived at OJ’s, I found out that OJ himself was going to teach me paddleboarding. As is the norm with trying any possibly dangerous activity (surfing seems more dangerous than this, but I never had to sign a waiver *scratches head*), I had to sign a liability waiver before we could start. Then OJ led me to a board they had ready and handed me a paddle and we waded to the shallows.

I think I was trying to reverse. Sorry for the poor quality, my friend was using his phone camera and I was pretty far from shore.  Photo Credit: Melvin Padohinog

I think I was trying to reverse. Sorry for the poor quality, my friend was using his phone camera and I was pretty far from shore.
Photo Credit: Melvin Padohinog

Unlike in surfing, where they do the instruction in the sand, OJ actually started the instruction in the water. Just like in surfing, however, we started with the parts of the board and the paddle. He taught me how to mount the board, how to stand and where on the board to stand and how to keep my balance. He also showed me how to paddle correctly; how to hold the paddle, the right strokes, how to turn left, right and reverse.

After about ten minutes of instruction, he asked me to mount the board, which I did, and then we tried a few more balancing and paddling exercises before he gave me final reminders and left me, with the board and the paddle, to my own devices.

One of the tips OJ gave me was that if I get tired, I can also kneel. This was easier on my core and my legs.  Photo Credit: Melvin Padohinog

One of the tips OJ gave me was that if I get tired, I can also kneel. This was easier on my core and my legs.
Photo Credit: Melvin Padohinog

Stand-up Paddleboarding was surprisingly easy for me. I thought I would have to fight for balance but I actually got a hang of it quickly. I think it helps that Boracay has very calm waters; the only waves coming from the ripple of water after a boat would pass by. It feels a little strange saying this, but I could also feel the effects paddleboarding had on my body. I felt my core tighten; my legs bent a little to keep balance, means my legs were also feeling a bit of a work out and of course, my arms for paddling. It’s like a whole body work out!

Me, trying to paddle back to shore.  Photo Credit: Melvin Padohinog

Me, trying to paddle back to shore.
Photo Credit: Melvin Padohinog

I felt one with the board as I tried to avoid the obstacles in my course, that is the people that peppered the waters. Staying out of the boats’ way was also a nice little challenge I gave myself to help me master maneuvering the board. I felt focused and oddly relaxed. I guess there was something quite zen about it. The only downside is the intense heat. There was no escape from the sun.

After seeing one of my friends in the water, back from their tour, I asked for the time. It was almost eleven and we still had to get ready and do some last minute packing. I was also starting to feel a little light-headed from the heat, so I paddled back to the shore and surrendered the paddle and the board back to OJ.

With OJ after my paddleboard session

With OJ after my paddleboard session

OJ advised that next time, I could jump in the water to cool off when it gets too hot. I could also alternate between swimming and paddleboarding. Since the board is strapped to my leg, I would be certain that I won’t lose it. It makes sense and I think I’ll definitely try it next time, to avoid the intense heat. I wished there was a way to bring a bottle of water with me though. I had to down a 500mL energy drink after I got back to shore to rehydrate. Still, I really enjoyed paddleboarding and I would definitely love to try it again when I get a chance.

 

***

 This post is part of a series I wrote about a recent backpacking trip around Romblon, with a side trip to Boracay. Check out the other posts by clicking on the links below:

One thought on “SUP?! Stand Up Paddleboarding in Boracay

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