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A Good Hobby Can Be Next Level Peace: Why I Chose Paddle boarding

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

For as long as I can remember I have had a strong pull towards water, and the feeling it originally brought me has continued to grow over time. My entire family growing up had a love for it, especially the Ocean. I shared nothing but great times being at the beach with a lot of them that have since passed away. Now I have warm memories that have added to my experience every time I’m out enjoying the water and I am always looking for different ways to explore it. I have passed on and shared my love of it all with my boys and it has been heartwarming to see them take to it like I did.

When I was younger than my kids are now I started to develop an interest in surfing, movies about surfing and because of my love for music, artists like Dick Dale. If my mom took me to the beach, whether it was the ocean or a lake, I was in the water the entire time. When I got a little older and decided I wanted to try surfing, it proved difficult. Living on the mainland of the West Coast of Canada, the only option was to take a ferry to Vancouver Island and try surfing there. It was cold and tougher than I thought it would be. It is definitely a sport that can easily become a lifestyle, and those who want to fully explore it, have to embrace that. I actually did consider moving to the Island, but employment was scarce which would’ve made it hard to provide for myself. Reality took hold and that idea was out...I got over to the Island to visit when I could.

Fast forward to years later when I was in Maui getting married and a few of us decided that surfing would be a great idea. We did it and came to a group conclusion that standing up on a board trying to ride a wave is far harder than it looks. It probably didn’t help that it was dollar drink night the previous evening. Do not try surfing hung over, quick tip for safety and self confidence.

I had to figure out how I was going to give this an honest try and make it part of my life, because at that point, I wasn't ready to move to Maui for so many reasons. Then it happened, I saw a guy on a board that didn’t need a set of waves to keep him going, had a big smile on his face and looked at peace in the moment. He was on a board using a paddle to help him move through the water. Right there it became my goal to find out if I could pursue this where I lived. I had finally discovered something like surfing, that I could do on any body of water back home.

I was on a mission...I needed to find a place to buy or even rent paddle boards and I started doing that as soon as we returned from that trip. The boards were perfect for lakes or ocean and I would be getting a taste of a sport that I had been mentally infatuated with for years.

When I got back to Canada it was hard to find any place that had them at all, then we were invited to attend a wedding in a lakeside town. We ended up staying at a hotel that rented them, so of course I tried it and it was awesome, until a storm kicked up pretty bad. Everyone left the beach. It was so bad that I couldn’t paddle hard enough to even get the board going. I was determined to stay out there as the wind pounded me and threw up the waves. I was in no hurry to stop doing the thing I was trying to put together for so long. I got tossed several times and I can remember paddling in defiance against the wind and waves, while loving every minute of it. When I came off the lake that day my arms and legs were exhausted, but I had a fantastic feeling of accomplishment.

The next day, we decided to try the lake at the South end of town and found a place on the beach that also rented paddle boards. I fell in love with the style they had there, found out where they bought them from and purchased one soon after. I now had a hobby that was a version of something I had always wanted to make part of my life. The most important thing was I didn’t feel my typical urge to start making this a challenge or something I needed to put on my resume. In my whole life I have never allowed myself to just have or do something without feeling I had to take it to extreme competitive levels. I found it very hard to just do things to relax and found paddle boarding different. I found a hobby that I love that can combine my competitive side if I want to push myself, with peaceful exploring along with my desire to be on the water. You realize later that it is an excellent core workout, and on some days a very good full body workout. Which brings me to my next couple of points, find a hobby that you love and if possible, make it one that includes some exercise.

There is something spiritually and mentally healthy about getting outside doing something that you love. I’m not saying that you will have all the things that I have attached to my hobby to begin with, but there is nothing wrong with searching for something that has a few of those things. A hobby that will keep your interest and gives you a way to help the rat race of life melt away. I will always be a big proponent of finding something that incorporates a little exercise, and if nothing else brings you joy and keeps you coming back. We all deserve something that is not about paying bills, the next promotion or keeping up with the latest greatest fad. Something for you that is to share or not share sometimes. I love sharing my passion with my boys, but it’s also nice to get out on the water and just be for a little piece of time. It will make you a better human in my opinion.

I went after a dream that may not be exactly what I set out for, but it’s a fantastic version of that childhood dream. What is your hobby or what is it going to be? Remember when thinking about it that someday, is not a day of the week. Find one today. That might be easier said than done, because some things have costs associated with them. So like I did to start, maybe you rent when affordable. If you, for example, like taking pictures, go for a hike in the woods or a walk in the City and start taking some photos. You may have to get creative with finding the time to start something new and it may have to be done in small steps before you can fully embrace it. It took me years to finally be where I’m at with boarding. I have my own board hanging in the garage and I’m constantly watching the weather and thinking about the next time I can get out there.

By the way, if what you think of as a hobby brings you stress, you need a better one. Positive stress, like taking up Rock Climbing is good because you get out of your comfort zone, hopefully doing something you have always wanted. I mean the kind of stress we endure each day perhaps like grinding away at a job. There are a lot of great comfort zone busting things you could take up like Scuba-Diving, Climbing Everest or even Kick-boxing.

Find something that creates excitement when you think about it, cultivates your mindset and leaves you with that sense of calm you get when you have fulfilled something. I think too many people don’t take the time we need just to be because the business of life entangles and doesn’t let go. Make that time, even if it starts in little bits and even if it’s something you can’t do as often as you’d like. The experience is what makes the memory and squashes the regrets. If you have a love for the water like I do, maybe I'll see you out there Paddling. I hope you find as much enjoyment as I have in whatever you decide to make your hobby.

I can go for a brisk paddle or just sit on my board staring out at the surrounding water and feel the shit that daily life throws at us become more distant. The longer I paddle or sit, inner peace engulfs and happiness consumes me in those moments. I think everyone of us could use those types of moments that quiets the crazy world that just seems to be becoming more and more fast paced. Living in Canada means I also have to find a Winter hobby that I enjoy and so far I have discovered Cross-country skiing. It is not as fun as paddling in my opinion, but is still really enjoyable and keeps me in shape throughout winter. So, there are lots of choices that may not be first on our list of hobbies to try, but are awesome to get out and experience something new that may end up making the top of your list. The other thing I keep going back to is learning the guitar, and allowing myself to find my path back to falling in love with the process of learning music. I have always loved music and started playing a Violin what seems like a lifetime ago and ended up giving it up. Years later I have found myself really wanting to explore my creative side to share and start exploring the part of my soul I have gotten away from.

So, catch a wave, pick up a guitar but find something to treat yourself with quality time. What hobby would you try? Do you have a great hobby? Is there a new hobby you have your sites set on? I would like to hear in the comments below. Most importantly, I hope you find the happiness I have had exploring and creating new adventures.

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