I think it is safe to say that I love being outside. I've had a passion for wildlife my entire life and I have studied conservation in my academic career. I truly love this world and enjoy exploring my little corner of it at every opportunity. Several years ago I made a career change from animal husbandry to veterinary medicine. While I do not regret this choice I do miss getting to spend a lot of time in nature.
Last summer a few of my coworkers invited me paddle boarding, even though I did not have a board of my own. I jumped at the chance. It was easier than I thought it would be to find my balance and I fell in love. The only sad part was that due to unfortunate circumstances one of the two boards was unusable so we each took turns going out on our own. It made for a bit of an awkward experience. Both of my friends has standard paddle boards, had trucks, and lived in houses with storage sheds. I drive a sedan and live in an apartment with very little storage. I was a little discouraged because I didn't think I would be able to get my own board for a while.
My friends told me I could try an inflatable board, but they both had low opinions of them even though they had never tried one themselves. I looked in to it, and they were more expensive than I thought they would be. I wasn't in a hurry to spend a few hundred dollars on something I wasn't too sure about. I spent a decent part of the winter online researching inflatable paddle boards. I never knew how readily available they were. I even saw some at my local Costco this past spring!
I found a few models on Amazon that fit my needs: not too expensive, colorful, and fantastic reviews. I added a couple to my wishlist and endeavored to save.
I was headed home from work listening to a local radio station on after noon, the DJ was talking about some strange things Amazon had on sale for Prime Day. As I don't really buy a lot of things for no reason I hadn't really given Prime Day much of a thought, but I figured it couldn't hurt to look since my boyfriend and I needed to add a few things to our camping inventory. I was hoping to luck out and get a good deal on a camp cot or stove so I thought I'd check out the sales. Well, I was not so lucking in the camping department as nothing I had my eye on was on sale but, one of the paddle boards on my wish list was. I couldn't believe my luck. The manufacturer was having a sale AND it was a part of the Prime Day sale! I couldn't believe my good luck.
I figured it must have been a sign that I was meant to have that board. The only reasons I hesitated was the price, I hadn't intended to spend a couple hundred that day, and the color, I had wanted the bright pink. The only color on sale was blue, and honestly I normally love blue but the pictures online made it look greyed out and not very attractive. In the end I bought the board.
There ended up being a long wait for my paddle board. I had made plans with my friends to go try my new board out the weekend after I bought it. I figured the board was supposed to arrive on Thursday and the weather looked perfect for the weekend. I was so excited! But, my board didn't come. According the the tracker my board was still en-route so I waited. About a week after my purchase date Amazon notified me that my package was lost and they were sending an automatic replacement. It arrived in two days, but my local post office wouldn't carry it up the stairs to my door. I had to take a longer lunch break than usual to wait in line at the post office nearly two weeks after my original purchase date to pick up my new board.
I was pleasantly surprised by the blue color in real life. I felt that the pictures in the product description didn't do it justice. This board is perfect for someone with a small car or limited storage space.
I couldn't help but open the box immediately when I got home. I don't know why, but it was much larger than I thought it would be. It looked very well made. I briefly made sure I had everything I needed and rolled it back up. I made plans with my boyfriend to try it out that weekend.
Sunday morning finally came. We headed to First Landing State Park around 9. It didn't take too long to inflate the board, maybe 10 minutes at the most including time spent on us trying to figure out how to use everything. At one point a few people came over to see what we were doing. One gentleman seemed very impressed by the quality of the board once we had it inflated, he said it better than other inflatable boards he had seen. We stowed the gear in the car and took the now inflated board for a test drive.
The board supported both of us. Success! We found a secluded spot on the beach and my boyfriend got off. I took my new board up nearly half a mile. It felt just like my friend's board last summer! It was sturdy in the water, handled the wake of passing boats, and was very easy to maneuver. My boyfriend and I switched and I enjoyed some the lovely day in the shallow waters of the Narrows while he went up river.
When he returned we beached the board and sunbathed for a while. We ended up taking the board out one more time together and headed up river. While it was possible for both of us to be on the board at the same time it was much easier when we were both sitting. With one person standing and the other sitting the board felt unsteady. He said that if I made a move he felt it negatively impacted his ability to balance on the board. He ended up kneeling to paddle after a little while. Even though there was plenty of room for both of us, it was not the most comfortable experience. We took turns paddling and enjoying the view. Overall it was an amazing experience, but one that could be made better if we both had boards.
When we started deflating it the beach was quite busy and most of the people that had been there when we had arrived were gone. The board unflated fairly quickly. A few people said they were surprised that the board was inflatable. That really made me feel like I had selected a good quality board since it did so well on the water and once inflated no one could tell that it was an inflatable board.
To prepare for going out on the board I wanted to get a waterproof case for my phone. I didn't feel comfortable leaving it on the beach, especially if I were to go out on the board alone. Not to mention I use my phone as my camera and I knew I would want to have it with me.
My boyfriend and I each got different brands, but they both worked very well. They were easy to use, kept the contents dry, and allowed me to still use my phone to take pictures while in the case.
I think once he gets a board of his own and were able to go out on longer trips we will need to invest in a dry bag. I think one big enough for a bottle of water and sunscreen would be perfect. We both were lobsters after our time on the board.
I love my board! I feel like I cannot say it enough. When I have free time I'm using it. I feel like it is made of quality material and I will be able to use it for seasons to come. I am particularly excited by the fact that I will be able to use it in the cooler months since I have dive booties and a wet suit. The board is now a part of our camping gear, since we mainly camp near bodies of water. I am so glad I finally took a leap and bought one. I only wish I had done it sooner.