This summer, I taught paddleboard lessons at Seven Points Marina as part of my gig with Rothrock Outfitters, and it’s been a wonderful learning experience—both in how to effectively teach a particular skill and in how to quell my anxiety about the situation. I’ve never thought I was a great teacher, but I love getting people outside and doing all the things I find so valuable in my life, and building confidence in those who don’t feel they are capable of doing those things (especially women).
The first few lessons were a little bit awkward (at least from my perspective—I think I am too much of a perfectionist), but with each week, more and more kinks got ironed out and holes patched. The nervousness I experienced at the beginning of each lesson slowly began to fade, and then disappear. By the end of the summer, my clinics had a very logical flow that seemed to make sense to people and help them ease them into being comfortable on the boards and figure out how this whole paddleboarding thing works.
Of course, it helps to have wonderful students. Some of my favorites were two ladies who also happen to be best friends since high school and do everything together. The two ladies informed me at the start of their lesson that paddleboarding was on their “bucket list,” and they added that “skydiving was next.” They were so incredibly silly, joyous, and full of life that I couldn’t help but smile the entire time. And while I was able to boost their confidence and get them doing something that they were slightly nervous about at first, they also boosted mine, and reminded me why I do what I do.
My weekly lessons are over for the season, but I’ll be guiding some fall foliage paddles this fall (see Rothrock Outfitters website for details), and I plan on doing more clinics next summer — most likely adding a river SUP class in addition to my beginner lessons on the lake.