I tried Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) for the first time in Hawaii about a month ago. After instantly falling in love with the sport, I was bound and determined to do it again as soon as possible. My second SUP adventure also happened on an island, but this time on the island of Puerto Rico in Isla Verde with Carolina Paddleboarding. Alejandro (Alex) Calaf, founder of Carolina Paddleboarding, took me on a SUP adventure of a lifetime from Isla Verde beach to Boca de Cangrejos and into Pinones lagoon and back. My half day SUP private tour gave me the best of both worlds: open ocean paddling and calm lagoon paddling. I couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon on the water in sunny Puerto Rico.
This year, I’m trying to escape the majority of the harsh Canadian winter weather in exchange for more tropical and warm destinations. Luckily for me, I was in Puerto Rico from December 8th-23rd and I was searching for fun and exciting excursions to keep me busy during my stay. Stand Up Paddleboarding is the perfect sport for me! I love being able to be active in and on the water on a hot sunny day. There is no place I would rather be then on the coast at beach or in the water. Paddling with Carolina Paddleboarding gave me the perfect combination of paddling in the ocean, on a lagoon, and through mangroves. Hearing the birds chirping from a distance, feeling the cool breeze blowing against my skin, and the stunning view in front of me made for the perfect afternoon in Puerto Rico.
SUP in Puerto Rico was much more difficult for me then it was in Hawaii. For one, the trade winds in Puerto Rico are always strong, two, the waves in the ocean were larger than I am used to paddling, and three, the current is strong between the lagoon and ocean. Needless to say, it gave me an excellent workout and challenged me further. I am always up for a challenge and this was definatley it. Slow and steady always wins the race I say. Unlike in Hawaii, I didn’t topple over into the water, yet there were times I had to paddle on my knees as the wind and waves were soon to be a losing battle. Although my second experience paddle boarding was more difficult, I was more confident on my board. This was partly due to the fact that I had an excellent instructor, partly because Carolina Paddleboarding uses an extremely stable type of paddle board, but mostly because I had the confidence that I would succeed. Failing is something I do not deal with well. I have a hard time accepting that I cannot do all things well. I am very competitive with myself, and I can be my own worst enemy (aren’t we all?), but that day, I remained positive knowing that I could do it.
Alex was more than supportive throughout the paddle. He gave me pointers during the times I needed them the most, yet also let me explore and learn on my own which is also very important to me. Even with the rain falling on and off, it was the perfect day to be on the water. Throughout the tour, Alex pointed out the significant sights we were passing and told me more about Puerto Rico. Paddling past the coastline villages and local marines with all the colourful docked boats were my favorite parts! Waving to the departing planes in the air left me with the thrill knowing that I wasn’t yet leaving the tropical paradise. If only I could have stayed in that paradise forever. I learned more than how to be a better stand up paddler.
Endless options with Carolina Paddleboarding:
-Do the SUP guided tour in a group or one-on-one.
-Do a 1.5 hour tour or half day tour.
-Do the SUP in the ocean, in a lagoon, or both.
-Stop at a private beach on the way back if desired.
-Stop at a local beachside kiosk for a refreshment to experience Pinones shoreline culture.
-Rent a SUP board in Isla Verde Beach Park and go on your own.
-Custom build your tour or have Carolina Paddleboarding take care of it for you.
If there is anything I like it’s choices! I was left with endless choices to help custom build the tour I would most enjoy. Alex being the jack of all trades also founded Puerto Rico Peddle Pushers, a pedicab service (their motto is “we ride for tips”) in the Ocean Park, Isla Verde, and Condado area. Alex knows how to provide visitors everything they need to have the best stay in the San Juan area of Puerto Rico.
*Media coverage for Carolina Paddle Boarding