It was a beautiful, clear, sunny Sunday morning and the conditions for a paddle board lesson with Stand Up Paddle Mexico could not have been more ideal. The ocean was flat, the water glassy and shimmery from the reflection of the sun, and at 10:00 a.m., it was still early enough that the beach was pretty secluded. As my friend, Camilla Fuchs, and I stood on the beach, the warm sand between our toes, I was excited to get in the water for our paddle board lesson with Shelby Taylor, who also happens to be a Pro Paddler.
Shelby gave us a brief, but thorough lesson on shore, teaching us where to stand on our boards for optimum balance, how to paddle correctly, how to turn around, how to safely get in the ocean and onto our boards, and how to fall to avoid hurting ourselves. After patiently answering our questions, we waded into the water and without a problem, made it to a standing position on our large, foam paddle boards.
What wasn’t so easy for me was keeping my paddle facing the right direction, which should have been a no brainer since Shelby previously had pointed out that the words on the paddle should face out. After being kindly reminded more times that I would like to admit, I finally got the whole paddle direction thing down, which made paddling much easier and more efficient.
We paddled toward Villa Amor and Playa de los Muertos, at one point paddling over a large rock close to the surface of the water. When I looked down I could see fish swimming, including a tiny, vibrant blue fish. We continued on to Punta Sayulita and then made our way to the open sea, about a mile from the Sayulita shore. Here, the natural swell of the ocean created small waves that we hadn’t previously encountered. It threw my balance off, and twice, I landed on my bottom on the board. I laughed, got back on my feet, and joked that I fell exactly like Shelby warned against.
Far away from shore, with a spectacular view of Sayulita, it was incredibly quiet, with just the sound of water lapping against our boards, the birds squawking overhead, and the splash of fish jumping. Here and there a white butterfly, surprisingly enough, fluttered by. And then all of a sudden, a dolphin jumped and then another jumped. We stood on our boards in awe of the dolphins (unsure as to how many were out there), as we watched one appear here, another there, and yet another off in the distance. For a while, lost in the world of dolphins, we slowly paddled, following in the direction of these amazing creatures.
Feeling blessed and extremely fortunate, we made our way back towards the Sayulita shore, ending an approximately three mile paddle. This was the first paddle board lesson I’ve ever taken and I can’t say enough good things about this experience. Shelby is an excellent instructor who made the lesson all the more fun with her guidance and friendly, easygoing personality. In fact, it was so much fun that I can’t wait to get out on the water again on a paddle board!
If you’d like to experience a paddle board lesson for yourself, contact Stand Up Paddle Mexico.