Love being on the water? Love kayaking or wake-boarding? Then why not give Paddle Boarding in Wilkes a try? Cook’s Sporting Goods is one of the local stores that offers paddle board rentals and they are $25(per board) by the day. Simply swing by Cook’s, load the boards(onto a vehicle that can haul them of course!), and hit the W. Kerr Scott Dam or travel along the Yadkin River. The type of trip you are looking to experience is completely your choice!
Tricks of the Trade
What to Wear. Swim suits of any kind will work. Girls- one or two piece, Guys- shorts (& a tee if you want the protection from the sun) I typically wear a swim suit and shorts just to give myself a little extra coverage when sitting/standing on the board, but anything is fine, as long as it is water-proof and comfortable. Sunscreen- Be sure to put on a good layer of sunscreen before heading out! You will most likely not be able to take any out on the water with you, so be smart and put it on in advance! Sunglasses/Hat- Again, it will most likely be sunny when you go out and the water only reflects the brightness of the sun. Wearing sunglasses and/or wearing a hat helps cut down on the sun, so that you can enjoy the experience better!
The Paddle. The paddles used with paddle boards adjust in length so that they are the right size for the user at the time. In a standing position on land, hold one of your arms straight up- The paddle should be adjusted to reach the palm of your hand.
Life Jackets. You are required to have a life jacket on board, however you are not required to be wearing it unless you are 13 or under. I have found that it is easier to paddle without one, but if you choose to get in the water, you may want to put it on so you can float around a bit. My recommendation is tie the life jacket to your board and let it lay on the back of the board- it shouldn’t go anywhere! However, if you feel more comfortable wearing one the entire time, then definitely do:) Your safety is the most important thing!
The Board. Before you begin standing on the board, I recommend starting out in a sitting position on the board once it is in the water. Give yourself a little time to get comfortable on your board and then work your way up to a kneeling position. Balance is key when it comes to paddle boarding and you want to make sure you have your balance before you try to stand! Once you feel confident in a kneeling position, try standing shoulder width apart on the middle of the board.
Paddling. Now you are up and look like a pro! But wait- How do you get around?? You have a paddle(that should be adjusted to fit you perfectly) and you will be surprised at how fast you are able to get around just by using it! If you are interested in going to the right, paddle on the left and if you are interested in going to the left, paddle on the right. If you want to keep moving forward, alternate paddling on each side.
Fitness. Paddle Boarding is a great way to workout and challenge your body in new ways. As you paddle, you have the option of just working your arms and shoulders, or getting your entire body involved and working several different muscles- the choice is yours! *For those of you looking for an even bigger challenge- try out some yoga poses on the boards! Yoga classes on the water are becoming very popular and they take immense concentration and practice!
The View. While you are floating around the Yadkin or W Kerr Scott, take in the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, of the wildlife, and of the sun setting. You never know what you might see!
*Tip- When paddle boarding on a lake or in an area where there are boats and jet skis, there will definitely be a few moments of bumpy waters. This is not something I prefer to experience standing on a paddle board, so I typically get in a sitting position either indian style or legs out in front of me and continue paddling. The main thing is to stay calm, the chances of your board flipping are slim. Just stay aware of your surroundings and of the water. Make sure you are comfortable and if you are not, paddle to a different location to where there is calm water.