On Sunday, the boy and I ventured out to Newport Harbor to try our hands (and feet) for the first time at paddleboarding (Summer Bucket List item No. 1!). Thanks to a paddleboarding Groupon, which seem to pop up almost daily, I bought us each a $20 2-hour session at Wayward Captain Paddleboards, headquartered in a small stand easily missed among a giant trampoline bungee apparatus, the iconic Balboa Ferris Wheel and dozens of shops and pizza joints at the Balboa Fun Zone. We were told the best time to rent the boards is between 9 and 10 a.m. before the tourists are out in full, so we arrived promptly at 11:30. As such, it was a bit of a wait for some boards to become available, but the beach is right across the street and Wayward Captain will text you when your turn is up. Perfect.
After a short, five-minute lesson on the rules of the road and some paddleboarding essentials, we were off! And it was pretty awesome. And definitely not as difficult or taxing as I imagined. In fact, it was quite relaxing. With a nice sea breeze on our faces and the mostly calm waters of the Harbor gently rolling by, we were zipping around, from the Peninsula to Linda Island to the mouth of the Back Bay and back again. The hardest part for me was picking up enough speed to not get a little anxiety at crossing the busy harbor turning point to get from here to there. But we made it in-tact — with only one fall in the water. (My lips are sealed on who that was :) .)
If you’re thinking of venturing out yourself, I highly recommend it. Unless you’re planing on getting barreled during your outing, no need for a lesson either. The five-minute spiel was plenty. Wayward Captain charges $20 per hour and offers a punch card with a free rental on the fifth visit! And, of course, you can always find a deal by pursuing Groupon.
(Also, for those of you wondering, I found out I just may have a free moment to visit the U.S. Open of Surfing during my favorite time next Saturday morning, so I held off for this weekend. Report to follow next week!)