Last year I finally took the leap and tried something I’ve wanted to try for a long time – paddleboarding.
If you’re not sure what a paddleboard is, how to use it, or why you would ever want to, first ask yourself why you’ve been tucked away under a rock for so long, then allow me to fill in the gaps.
Stand-up paddleboarding is an increasingly popular water sport. Don’t consider yourself a sporty person? No worries! There are certainly many ways to turn this leisurely and easy activity into a serious work-out (yoga classes on paddleboard, anyone?), but you don’t need to be a slim and coordinated gymnast to get up and going. Honestly – if I can do this, you can, too.
My experience as a clumsy, nervous, first-timer trying out this adventure went waaaaay smoother than I imagined it would. Invited to an evening of paddleboarding on the ocean during sunset hours, in the heat of summer, was far too enticing to pass up. I slapped on my swimsuit (because I’d definitely be falling in the water, right?) and nervously drove out to Vesuvius Beach, thinking the whole time that I was making a life-threatening mistake by attempting this physical endurance test on wavy ocean waters for the first time.
Boy, was I wrong.
I had the best time exploring the shoreline, little islets, and getting a breathtaking view of the islands and ocean while the sunset made magic with the natural colour-palette. Amazingly enough for my uncoordinated and overly awkward body (I blame never playing sports as a kid), I didn’t even fall once. I did, however,
jump in over cautiously slip in for a “swim” and was completely impressed that I was able to get myself back up on the board in the middle of the deep bay.
Getting up the gumption to try was the hardest part of this whole experience. I’m so thankful I got a little push from some friends and committed to renting a board from Gigi’s Paddleboard Rentals, otherwise I probably would have chickened out.
Gigi’s Paddleboard is a small, local business run by the fun and quirky Salt Spring local, Virginia Judd. Not only does Gigi provide the paddleboards for your outdoor water adventure, but she will bring the boards right to you – no need to struggle the cumbersome boards up onto your roof-rack (if you even have one to strap them onto).
There are two fantastic locations to set out a-paddling.
Where to Paddle Board Salt Spring Island
Saint Mary’s Lake offers flat and calm fresh water, is often a-buzz with people enjoying the lake for a swim, sunbathing or some fishing. It’s a beautiful lake, and the largest on Salt Spring.
Vesuvius Bay, on the other hand, involves the salty ocean, fresh sea air, and is more open. This means there is a possibility of some waviness, but don’t let this scare you – the bay is quite protected so it is generally calm, and offers the warmest ocean waters for swimming in on Salt Spring Island.
If I had to choose between the two different, yet both fabulous options, I’d have to suggest a sunset paddle at Vesuvius beach. It faces west and the view – especially with the magic of the setting sun – is phenomenal. You’ll definitely want to bring your waterproof camera along with you if you have one! Plus, checking out all the interesting sea life and formations along the shore is pretty cool.
Whether you’re planning for a memorable trip to Salt Spring Island, BC, or looking for something to do here, you might want to give Gigi’s Paddleboard Rental a call at 250-530-9959. There’s also a Facebook page to check out. Rentals are very affordable, starting at $30 for a 2-hour rental, $10 for each additional hour, or $60 to call that paddleboard yours for the full day. (Apparently parents love this option as it keeps the kids busy and active.)
*Update* Gigi’s Paddleboard Rentals now has their very own website. Check it out here!
Don’t think this is something that’s a summer-only option, either! Gigi’s rents paddleboards for excursions even now in February, if the weather is as good to us as it has been lately. Because the paddleboards are so stable, there’s no need to actually get in the water if you want to save the swimming for the warmer months.
And if you’re not here, I highly suggest you seek out a local option to give this easy, pick-your-own-adventure of an outdoor activity a try.
Photo credit: Billie Woods Photography