December 1, 2013

LA: Learn to paddleboard

Bet you didn’t think you could learn to paddleboard in LA!

But my new favourite stopover spot of Marina del Rey has water activities galore, so it would have been rude not to give paddleboarding a crack.

Dog boarding

Just a typical sight on the lagoon of Marina del Rey

I’ve never tried it but always thought it looked pretty easy. And actually it is. The thing that’s not are the yoga and martial arts classes conducted on your wobbly board. But I digress…

I walked around the lagoon with families swimming and other paddleboarding – even with a pet on the front – to PHINS Club who have paddleboards, kayaks and row boats. My quest was to spend half an hour paddling around the marina without getting wet.

Phins Marina del Rey

Paddleboards, kayaks and row boats at Phins

They grabbed a board off the rack and put it in the water and I was fortunate that a confident couple arrived just as I was learning the getting-on technique so I was able to watch. Then it was my turn. Kneeling in the middle of board I was quite happy to have kneeboarded all morning. But that would be stupid. I was shown how to hold my paddle and I set off, deciding that I would need to tackle standing up at some safe point away from the eyes of the team on the pier.

Phins paddleboard

Getting my bearings…

SUP is what I’m meant to be doing. Stand Up Paddleboarding not Kneel Down Paddleboarding.

Being a marina there are a few boats puttering out to the sea, so the trick is you need a bit of speed on or you will wobble like a scaredycat. And if a teeny wake is coming your way, point your nose or tail into it and paddle with confidence.

Phins paddleboarding

Noooo – the zoom should not be used! But it is me. Really.

So there I am, tootling past the piers stocked with fancy boats, saying hello to my fellow paddlers (who later told me they thought I looked quite the part and not the novice I actually was), and negotiating a turn to head back into the lagoon. I’d given my camera to the PHINS guys to take evidence. Alas I should have told them my zoom feature doesn’t work on this particular model…

You can take boards for an hour for $30 or do a yoga or martial arts class for $20 (on your own board).

Eventually I’d had enough of pottering round. And I didn’t fall in, returning to the dock with ease, kneeling back down to hold on and climb off. Easy peasy. Do this when you visit Marina del Rey. Such fun!

Where to stay: Jamaica Bay Inn is right on the lagoon with a lovely restaurant and spacious rooms with balconies.

Jamaica Bay Inn

The view from my balcony at Jamaica Bay Inn

About Megan Singleton

Megan

Megan Singleton is a travel writer, blogger and radio correspondent. She's been gallivanting around the world telling stories for the last 16 years and has her suitcase always half packed (or half un-packed!) Follow along on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want to keep up with the journey!

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