Originally posted July 12, 2020
The very first time I went paddle-baording I thought it was boring. I would much rather kayak. Then I went with some friends from the fire department and realized that it was more challenging than I realized. I got myself a paddle board, and the rest was history.
I actually have two. The first board I got is a Z-Ray It is an inflatable board and came with everything I needed to get started (board, paddle, carry case, inflation pump). I chose this board because it had a higher weight limit (320lbs) and that would allow me and Hannah to be on the board at the same time. It is easy to maneuver (a bit harder when Hannah is on it) and I like the balance. I feel more comfortable on this board than the other one. I feel like I I am less likely to fall off. It is super durable, we even had our dog Mason on it (he hated the water, but liked being on the board).
The second board we got was a bit smaller and easier for the girls to use. It too is an inflatable board that came with everything needed to get started. I can use this board too, but being on the heavier side, I like my Z-Ray better.
I got both boards from Amazon. I like the inflatable boards because they are much more convenient to use than hard boards. They roll up for easy storage, can be carried in a backpack, and get as hard as a hard board. My daughter can carry her own board since it is so lightweight.
The girls use traditional life jackets when paddling. I have recently purchased an inflatable life jacket. So far I really like it. What was important to me when choosing an inflatable life jacket was that it could be converted to manual. The automatic inflatable life vest will activate as soon as you hit the water. Given that I am a bit of a klutz, and often fall off my board, I did not want to have to re-pack my life jacket after every trip, or replace the $30 re-arming kit. I feel so much more free while paddling now, but know that I am still protected.
My favorite place to paddle is Black Hill Regional Park in Montgomery County. I am sure there are many other great local places, but this is my “go-to”. We also bring our boards on all of our travels. With them being so lightweight and compact, it is a “no brainer”.
If you want to give paddle boarding a try, you could rent a board. I know that Black Hill, Rocky Gap, and Assateague National Seashore allow you to rent. That might be a good option before you buy one. With how hot it has been lately, if you are not very good at it, at least you will cool off when you fall in 🙂