It’s hard to hate on a sport that encourages physical fitness and non-motorized touring. It’s even harder to hate on a sport that encourages bikinis and tight abs, glutes and thighs. But on further review, this fad is about as cool as your mom’s interest in basketweaving. And if you have read any of the other articles on this site, you should know that we will give it the old Hater’s Try.
Let’s start with the obvious: it is cost-prohibitive. These large boards run from 800 to 1200 dollars. The paddle will run an additional $100. You can rent them if the store is open, but if you really get hooked on the activity, you should own one.
The next thing is that you need to have a sense of balance and be in reasonably good shape in order to get a good workout, while being careful not to paddle far away with the current and have to struggle to get back to where you started. You also have to keep in mind that the boards are very heavy, so that if you think this is a good idea for a date with a frail partner, you are wrong. And then there is the fact that this, unlike surfing or bodyboarding, gets really boring really fast. Once or twice is enough fun for most people, and it’s tough to maintain a challenging feeling from the activity.
The part that is the most irritating about the promotion of the fad is that it is being touted as an eco-friendly way to see the marshes and ride the waves. First off, surfers hate you tooling around trying to catch their waves (fuck them). Secondly, there is no way that the introduction of all this new fiberglass and polymers into the environment is eco-friendly. If you investigate the poisonous process of making even a small surfboard you will realize that you are part of the problem. Plus the people who paddleboard would probably be in a canoe, not a motorized boat.
Is there an upside? Yes. It is a very selfish way to get or stay in shape and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just don’t throw it in everyone’s face as a “green” alternative to fishing and seeing the calm waters of the marsh. You want to be really eco-friendly? Go rescue some old wood planks that float from an old house, grab a long 2×4, and have at it. The Hawaiians that invented this had it right. Even Huck Finn and Jim did it better. It is called a wooden raft.