I don’t remember my parents ever preaching the gospel of commitment and determination, but for some reason or another my three brothers and I all have an almost masochistic aversion to quitting. Not following through is anathema to me and I figure that’s a good thing; I’ve held on to some stupid ideas longer than I should have, but on balance I’ve come out ahead, so I can’t complain. With that said, it was with great consternation that on Sunday I walked away from the Round the Rock – a thirteen mile standup paddleboard race around my home isle of Mercer Island. In my defense it was a pretty stupid idea to begin with, I was wholly unprepared and completely clueless; this was a major endurance race and my sole preparation had been a ninety minute chill SUP lesson in Elliot Bay.
I have a whole suitcase full of really good excuses for not doing the race, but the short of it is that walking away really soured in my stomach. To make matters worse I felt like my son saw me as a hypocrite – that I push commitment on him but in the end I bail. Unfortunately the fact of being a parent is that you can do fifty awesome things and your kids couldn’t care less, but you screw up once and they pounce like a crouching tiger. So to make a long story short, yesterday I put Sophia on the bus, strapped the borrowed board atop the Subaru, drove to the beach at Luther Burbank Park dipped the board and started paddling.
Despite some headwinds on the last four miles, the day was a good one for paddling; the thirteen and a half mile circumnavigation took me three hours and fifty minutes. I have to say that the Mercer Island shoreline looks rather like something from Martha’s Vineyard, I half expected to see the Kennedy clan playing touch football out on one of the manicured lawns. Who are these people?
All in all SUP is good simple fun, much easier than lugging around a heavy bulky kayak. Too bad the price of admission is so high – a descent board will cost you at least fifteen hundred.