There are certain markers when you know that you have become a StandUp Paddleboarder. You don’t have to do the Graveyard at the Carolina Cup or the Battle of the Paddle in California. You don’t have to own more than one board or have a running credit account at your local SUP/Surf shop (course that does help). You are a “real” StandUp Paddleboarder when your thoughts, actions, and vernacular change. What has changed for me?
· I know that “riding bumps” has nothing to do with a mechanical bull at the country and western bar. It’s all about water.
· I know the difference between an Ibis, an Egret and a Heron.
· I know that jumping from Eddy to Eddy has nothing to do with a couple of guys all named Eddy and it’s a good thing, not a naughty thing.
· I know what a Kingfisher and an Egret sounds like. One scolds, one honks.
· I can talk about shaft length and circumference and not smirk (ok, actually I do). Paddles are sexy.
· I know how tides and winds will make my paddle a flat smooth glide, or not. I ask myself, easy or hard?
· I know when I hear a buzzing sound like a bee, it’s probably a Jon boat miles off, but it’s coming in my direction.
· I know the difference between a nice 3mph paddle and a flying 6 mph paddle.
· I know “reading water” is not a book about water.
· I now look to see which direction boats in a harbor are facing, they always face into the tide.
· I know that a “bow” is not something on a gift, but rather the front of a boat. I even know how it’s pronounced.
· I liken cormorants sunning themselves to little old men in overcoats flashing. They kind of have the same attitude.
· I may not be glad I know this, but I know that a seagull will poop as it leaves its roost on a pylon. I don’t get in the way.
· I know if the guy paddling behind you says “man, that was a big one,” it has to do with marine life and nothing else and I’m not looking down.
· I know what a “vessel inspection” is and am prepared for it at all times, (love a man in uniform who wants to inspect this vessel.)
· I know that my car interior carries (at all times) 2 paddles, 2 pfds, a myriad of booties, camelbaks, whistles, snacks and more.
· I know that a “crossover” step is not a special move in line dancing.
· I know that manufacturers like Sweet Water Wear or Body Glove are not clothing lines I have to shop at the adult store for.
· I know a “buoy turn” has nothing to do with triathlon and open water swimming.
· I can use the word “rocker” and not be referring to what’s on every southern front porch.
· I know that “lowering my center of balance” for stability is not something I do because I’m getting old.
· I can use words like “flat board” and “displacement hull” and actually understand what I’m referring to.
· I know what the sound and smell of a dolphin surfacing is like. A big whoosh and then a fishy smell.
· I know that “hard charging” has nothing to do with a credit card and if it describes you, it’s a compliment.
· I know the site and sound of a big ray slapping his “wings” is just his way of moving along.
· Finally, I know that going all “beast mode” is not some weird sexual animal outfit fetish but rather your picture at the end of a race which you wish didn’t get posted to facebook.