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10 Life Lessons from Standup Paddleboarding (SUP)

September 19, 2016

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend my first standup paddleboarding competition. I knew moving to the beach I wanted to pick up a new sport, something that had to do with the ocean. And my good friend and mentor, Dr. Jose (Joey) Antonio informed me of that I would become a paddleboarder (I think I just made that word up J).



Anyways, they were a group of five of us this weekend that attended the first inaugural Margaritaville StandUp Paddleboarding competition. I’ve decided to call us a team, although I don’t think we have an official name yet. All of us are colleagues and know each other from the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Despite all of us coming from different backgrounds, locations, and experiences, we all had a common ground on Saturday: to have fun.

Now this past Saturday I didn't actually get on a paddleboard. I decided I would take some pictures as the team photographer and observe the sport. However I did learn some valuable life lessons while observing as well as talking with my four teammates. And so here they are:

10. You will fall. I think as soon as you can accept this you are already on the path to succeeding at paddleboarding. It's a lot like life and trying new things. If you let the fear of falling paralyze you, you won't get anywhere. It's the same thing for standing on the board. Accept that you will fall, and get going!

9. Your feet will hurt. I asked Joey what gets the most sore when paddle boarding and surprisingly he did not say your shoulders, your back or your legs. He said, “Your feet. The first few times you stand on a board your feet, your toes are gripping the board so tightly because you're afraid to fall off.” I think that goes for life in general. Sometimes when something is new we tend to grip onto what we know so tightly, for a sense of security and stability. What we don't realize is that if we let go of our grip a bit it will be a lot more comfortable and just as stable. Loosen your grip and just enjoy the ride.

8. Calm water is ideal. We arrived at Hollywood Beach a little before 9 o'clock and Joey mentioned to me, “Kelley these are perfect paddling conditions.” The water was calm, there were hardly any waves, and it was so peaceful. However, when 11 o'clock rolled around, the time for the novice group to get into the water, the ocean had changes and the waves were crashing now. The team explained to me how this may paddle boarding a lot more difficult. Again kind of like life right? When the water is calm, when life is calm, things are easy. When the water is rough, when life gets rough, it is a lot more challenging to move forward, to stay focused, and work towards goals. However it is the rough times or rough waters that make us better paddle borders and individuals.


7. You have finite power, use it wisely. I was having a good conversation with one of the team members and we were talking about life in general and our power. She mentioned that, “We all have a small amount of power and it is important how we chose to use it.” Is important that we use our power in ways that make us become better people and not squander it on fruitless situations, people, scenarios. I think it's the same for being on the paddleboard, you can't always fight the current however use your power in a direction that will make you better.


6. Your circle of friends gets smaller, and that's ok. Again this one is more from a conversation on the beach, but the reality of it is as we go through life people come in and out of our lives but our core group of friends or family is always there. The key is to take the lessons from the relationships we have along the way and keep those people have always been true to us close. On the board, use your leash keep your board close, don’t let it get away, don’t let those closest to you get away.

5. One beer is perfect for rehydration, one. Everything in moderation.

4. The first elite age bracket is 18-49. The next is 50 plus. I laughed when Joey told me this, it seems a little absurd right? 18 to 49-year-olds in the same group to compete! But I guess that's life too. There really is no age group for competing in life. There is no age group for being your best self. No matter if you're 20, 30, or 40 you can always work to become better at any age in your life. Don’t let your age be an excuse, let it be the reason for being better.

3. Finishing is a huge accomplishment. Not everyone can be the winner or even the runner up, that’s in everything in life. Starting and finishing is a huge accomplishment, in anything you do, one to be proud of. So if you start something, finish it and finish it well.


2. Competition can be fun. Yes, competing can be stressful and so can life. It is how we handle this stress, our perspective that determines how much we enjoy it. I have never seen a happier group of people getting ready to compete in a race. Smiles everywhere (and I am sure the sun, sand, palm trees, and ocean had a little to do with it ;) )


1. SUP is like life: you stand up, you go forward, you fall, you get back up!








1. SUP is like life: you stand up, you go forward, you fall, you get back up.

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