Author Topic: First lesson did not go well. Struggling and disheartened. Bigger person  (Read 3638 times)

horsey44

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Hi everyone. I'm new here.

Without giving a long sob story, I've been through a complete and utter rubbish couple of years, put on weight due to some of that and have not felt great in general.

Thought it was about time to stop feeling sorry for myself, lose some weight, get a better level of fitness again and challenge myself socially and do new things and try to get back to the person I once was! Positive attitude and all that.

A friend of mine started paddleboarding last summer and I've thought it looked fun for a long time but being self-conscious and worrying about making a fool of myself put me off.

I finally bit the bullet and signed up for a four week course.

I had my first lesson yesterday and it did not go well. I knew I'd be a bit rubbish but I exceeded my already low expectations and was without a doubt, the worst in a class of 15 others.

I'm a size 16(UK) so knew I'd probably be one of the bigger people but was assured they cater for all sizes.
I have completely reinforced the 'fat lass struggling in the corner' stereotype. I was embarrassingly bad.
I had zero balance (found it difficult to so much as move slightly on the board i.e. changing leg position, leaning back to tighten leash, going from kneeling to sitting).

I had read that it was a fairly easy sport to get to grips with the basics and that bigger people can do it fine so went in thinking I'd be ok.

I'm starting to worry I'll never stand up without falling in or even be able to move.
I was on a large blue and yellow O'shea board (hope I've got the name right) which was 10'6 x 32 and as soon as I slightly shifted my weight, even into one bent leg, to try and bend the other to stand up, the whole thing was tipping to one side.

Is it just a case of practicing? I feel so low and disheartened and kinda hate myself for how it went.

Anyone else either overweight or a bigger or muscled/heavier person that has mastered it eventually?

Went into it so positive and now feel like it's never going to happen.
I'm ashamed to show my face for next week's lesson!

Sorry for the length of this. I'm not looking for sympathy, just an answer as to whether it's doable for someone like me or whether I should put it down to experience and move on?

Thanks.

Windwarrior

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Hi everyone. I'm new here.

Without giving a long sob story, I've been through a complete and utter rubbish couple of years, put on weight due to some of that and have not felt great in general.

Thought it was about time to stop feeling sorry for myself, lose some weight, get a better level of fitness again and challenge myself socially and do new things and try to get back to the person I once was! Positive attitude and all that.

A friend of mine started paddleboarding last summer and I've thought it looked fun for a long time but being self-conscious and worrying about making a fool of myself put me off.

I finally bit the bullet and signed up for a four week course.

I had my first lesson yesterday and it did not go well. I knew I'd be a bit rubbish but I exceeded my already low expectations and was without a doubt, the worst in a class of 15 others.

I'm a size 16(UK) so knew I'd probably be one of the bigger people but was assured they cater for all sizes.
I have completely reinforced the 'fat lass struggling in the corner' stereotype. I was embarrassingly bad.
I had zero balance (found it difficult to so much as move slightly on the board i.e. changing leg position, leaning back to tighten leash, going from kneeling to sitting).

I had read that it was a fairly easy sport to get to grips with the basics and that bigger people can do it fine so went in thinking I'd be ok.

I'm starting to worry I'll never stand up without falling in or even be able to move.
I was on a large blue and yellow O'shea board (hope I've got the name right) which was 10'6 x 32 and as soon as I slightly shifted my weight, even into one bent leg, to try and bend the other to stand up, the whole thing was tipping to one side.

Is it just a case of practicing? I feel so low and disheartened and kinda hate myself for how it went.

Anyone else either overweight or a bigger or muscled/heavier person that has mastered it eventually?

Went into it so positive and now feel like it's never going to happen.
I'm ashamed to show my face for next week's lesson!

Sorry for the length of this. I'm not looking for sympathy, just an answer as to whether it's doable for someone like me or whether I should put it down to experience and move on?

Thanks.

I know the feeling of frustrations!!!! Best suggestion I can make is start off on your knees until you get your sea legs under you know. While on your knees, keep them at least shoulder width apart too. Eventually you'll come to a point where you're going to want to try again on standing up.  Don't let it get to you, it's a learning curve that will subside. Pretty safe to say, all of us have gone through it.

Just keep going out. You'll get it.
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Dusk Patrol

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Don’t be disheartened. There is definitely a learning curve. My own first experience was on s big 11’6 x 32 high volume battleship of a board. And I remember my first outings as really awkward feeling.
You will progress both physical skill-wise, and mentally (not freaking out as a boat wake approaches).
It sounds like in part you’re upset with being awkward in front of others in the class setting. Can you rent a big board and go off and spend some hours by yourself, getting your sea legs?
Bullet V2; RS 14x26; New Deal 9'6; BluePlanet 9'4

ststesting

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I always tell people the first time they go out...you lean to a side, and the board tips that way. Your instinct is to push more on the same side to straighten up, but that tilts it further....You have to (re)teach your brain to control all those micro-muscles and get used to it.

The SUP community reminds me of the MTB community in that everyone genuinely wants everyone to do well, have fun and progress.  Please don't stop because you feel like you don't belong.  You do.  You will come a long way fast.

I want to stop there because the last point is the most important, but you can grab something like this to stand on in at home.
https://www.amazon.com/Training-Exercise-rotation-Balance-Stability/dp/B06XD2R6QF

Bulky

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Keep going!  Don't quit!

Not sure what a size 16 UK is, but I was just a few doughnuts shy of 250lbs when I decided to try SUP.  Bought a big board of Craigslist and headed for the ocean.  First time out was extremely frustrating.  I don't think I managed more than 30 seconds upright.  Got to where I could hear people laughing at me on shore (that's actually rare--no ones really looking at you).  Came home exhausted, sore and feeling like I just blew $500.  After a few days, I took the board down to the harbor where the water is calm.  It was a bit easier.  Ended up going there several times a week for 3 months.  Much more improvement.  Started venturing further into the open water with each outing.  Fell less and less.  Finally went back to my original spot (very close to home) and it was a very different experience.  Paddle there almost every day now and can't imagine what my physical and mental state would be without SUP.

We were all there.  No shame in it. Don't rate yourself by any individual outing.  You having a bad first time isn't unique.  My goddaughter is the most amazing athlete I know (Olympic swimming medalist) and her first outing with me bordered on comical.  I tell people to go out 5 times before they draw any conclusions.  It's all about TOW (time on water).  You'll get there.  Keep us posted!

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Bean

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Is it just a case of practicing?


Without question, that is all it is.  As Bulky said, its all about TOW (time on water).

An important thing to remember is to have fun - start your next session with a simple smile. :)

JEG

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get or ask for a bigger board then start on your knees and just paddle and then work your way up the center balance of the board. Falling is the start of learning and don't be afraid or embarrass by falling is just water. Don't worry about what others think and instead focus on yourself learning to stand up paddle  ;)

Wetstuff

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Shit, Horse!  16, as in stone, is only 220'ish US certified pounds.  There's plenty of guys your size. 

I spend more time falling off/getting back on a board than the amount of time on all the waves during a given session in the ocean, and I have been paddling out a few years.  My first go in flat water —on a bay I kited for a decade— was a total embarrassment. ...5-10sec. I was in-the-water.  The trick for me is not giving a flying fuc how perfectly others may do it.

You just gotta decide... it's 70% (?) mental.


Jim
Sunova Skate XL .. Blue Planet MultiTasker ..   Atlantis Venom

Quickbeam

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Don’t give up and don’t get discouraged. As Bulky said above, it really is about time on the water. Just start off on your knees and stay there until you feel comfortable enough to try and stand.

I’m not sure how they are teaching you to stand, but when I teach, I tell people to “brace, replace and go”. To break this down, while you are still kneeling, and with your hands about shoulder width apart on your paddle, lean forward with the paddle across the board. So you are “bracing” your upper body with the paddle across the board. Don’t lean so far forward you will be off balance when you go to stand. Again, your hands should be about shoulder width apart on your paddle, and while bracing, your hands are approximately under your shoulders. The “replace” part is where it gets a little tricky, as you are now going to "replace" your knees with your feet, one at a time. So while in the bracing position (with your hands still holding your paddle and your paddle still across your board), you replace your knees with your feet. The next step is to fully stand and go. And by "go" it pretty obviously means to start paddling. Generally speaking you will be more stable when you are moving than when you are standing still. I hope this helps. It is really difficult to describe without demonstrating, but I hope this gives you some kind of idea.

Good luck to you and again, be patient and spend lots of time on the water. It really is a great sport and a very supportive community.
ONE SUP Edge Pro 12' 6" x 22"
ONE SUP Evo 12’ 6” x 24”
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ONE SUP Evo 12’ 6” x 26”
Bark Competitor 12’ 6” x 29”
Red Paddle Explorer (Inflatable) 13' 2" x 30
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PonoBill

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As you might be able to tell from the ridiculous number of posts I've made, I've been here a while. I started SUP paddling in 2007 and I weighed about 250 pounds then. I've always been active to some degree, but running my business meant a lot of 14 hour days and I was soft. I bought a SUP and fell off it every way possible, including bouncing off the board on my ass. I decided this probably wasn't my sport, but I was too stubborn to just give up. It took a lot longer than it will for you because stable boards didn't start showing up until about 2008.

Finally, I was able to actually stand on a board and start surfing. And I fell off every way humanly possible, was a complete kook. but I persisted. And I got reasonably competent. I got to the point where people on the beach say "you make that look so easy." Of course they are a bit surprised at that since I'm fat and old.

So I started downwinding. By now you know the drill--horrible. I've done probably a thousand downwind runs, including hundreds of the infamous Maliko runs. People say I'm an inspiration, but I translate that as "hell, if he can do it, I can do it." And that's just fine.

Two years ago I started foil surfing--I was a danger to everyone around me. I got good enough at it so people don't freak out if I'm momentarily pointed in their direction. Now I'm wing foiling. Two months in I'm at the point where I think I might actually be able to do this.

I'm a reasonably fit 72 year old now, though at 235 I'm no lightweight.

My point in all this discourse about ME, is simply that if I can do it, you can do it. And if you let it, it will change your life. Don't worry about what other people are thinking--you can't change that so why care about it? You WILL get it if you keep at it, and you'll get better at it. It's a lifelong sport and a great escape.

One of my heroes is a lady I don't know. Perhaps ten years ago I saw her struggling with a paddleboard in the lagoon at Kanaha, a surf break on a reef in Maui. She was there for hours every day. Pale white, fat, and covered in sunblock. Probably early seventies and very weak looking. She'd paddle a few strokes, then rest her paddle on her board to lean on it and catch her breath. She fell in every few minutes. But every day she went a little further out, and finally made her way out to the reef--not only a considerable distance but also in serious surf. She was bobbing off to the side, watching.

I paddled over and said--"I've been watching you progress over the last few weeks. It's impressive, but I have to tell you that this is pretty big surf, and you shouldn't paddle into these waves. There are better places to learn, and you should take some lessons before you try to SUP surf anyway (not that I did, but I'm better at giving advice than taking it).

She said "I know, I just want to watch the surfing from up close. I'm going to do this someday, but I know I'm not ready for that." She told me she was widowed a few years previously, was from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and had come to Maui with three girlfriends. She saw people SUP paddling from the tour bus, went to a shop and bought a board and paddle, and ditched her friends. She extended her stay to keep paddling, but she was headed back in a few days. "I'm bringing this back to Milwaukee to paddle the lakes. Next time I come here I'm going to be surfing." I'm sure she did. If she could do it, and I could do it, you can do it.

Incidentally, 10'6 X 32" is a pretty big board, but it's a long way from the biggest and most stable. You can most likely rent something even more stable. You can also practice getting up in your living room. Get on your knees with a broomstick to act as paddle. Lean forward and put the stick down as you would place your paddle across a board. Keep your head up, looking at the wall, not the floor. Bring up one foot, then see if you can stand from that position. If you can, then just keep practicing that until the movements are easy. If you can't, you can bring the other foot completely forward so you are braced on feet and hands, and just stand up.

There are no rules about how you get to your feet, I have all kinds of balance and joint compromises. I'm sure I look very strange lurching to my feet, but all that matters is that you get there. Once you are there on a board, don't look down at the water, look out--either to the horizon or at least a good distance ahead of you. 
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 04:11:37 PM by PonoBill »
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Dwight (DW)

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Re: First lesson did not go well. Struggling and disheartened. Bigger person
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2019, 04:01:12 PM »
........but was assured they cater for all sizes.

Tell us what size board they put you on. I’m suggesting possible BS on them giving you the right size board for your weight. They wouldn’t be the first rental place to take someone’s money anyway, even though they know they don’t have a right board for you.


PonoBill

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Re: First lesson did not go well. Struggling and disheartened. Bigger person
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2019, 04:25:44 PM »
........but was assured they cater for all sizes.

Tell us what size board they put you on. I’m suggesting possible BS on them giving you the right size board for your weight. They wouldn’t be the first rental place to take someone’s money anyway, even though they know they don’t have a right board for you.

She said 10'6" X 32". I'm not sure how size 16 translates to weight, but anyone struggling could start on something bigger. In the US, women who are size 16 range from 140 to 200 pounds. If you are under 200 that board would be OK but not necessarily ideal. Every inch of width adds a lot of stability. At 10 feet in length, 33" would feel better, 35" would feel like you were standing on a dock.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 04:34:27 PM by PonoBill »
Ponohouse is for sale: http://www.ponohouse.com
Foote 10'4X34", SIC 17.5 V1 hollow and an EPS one in Hood River. Foote 9'0" x 31", L41 8'8", 18' Speedboard, etc. etc.

805StandUp

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Re: First lesson did not go well. Struggling and disheartened. Bigger person
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2019, 04:32:25 PM »
I'm starting to worry I'll never stand up without falling in or even be able to move.
I was on a large blue and yellow O'shea board (hope I've got the name right) which was 10'6 x 32 and as soon as I slightly shifted my weight, even into one bent leg, to try and bend the other to stand up, the whole thing was tipping to one side.


Is this the board?  https://www.sup-internationalmag.com/shaping-bay/oshea-10-6-hd-test-review/

If it is, it says 106x34x260L which should be ok for someone larger than you.  If not, there are larger and more stable boards.  I have had quite a bit of luck starting friends off paddling on similar sized or slightly smaller boards.  It takes a little while to get your sea legs.  Quickbeam's guidance sounds pretty sound.  Also these boards tend to be more stable when they are moving so oftentimes it helps to take a few strokes kneeling and then when the board has forward motion, you can try to stand up.  Hopefully you stay the course as SUP can give you years of health and happiness!

Ichabod Spoonbill

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Re: First lesson did not go well. Struggling and disheartened. Bigger person
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2019, 04:36:15 PM »
I've taught people bigger than you, male and female. You're not that big for paddleboarding, trust me. What I use in my classes are 35 inch wide boards that are really easy to stand on. I tend to agree with the others that you need something wide to start on. You'll still fall, but so what? We all fall. That's a necessary part of learning.

Get on something really wide and work out your balance. If you need to stay on your knees, then that's fine. learn how to work your paddle, then when you're ready to stand, do so. Then you will probably fall, so just go over the whole process again. Soon you'll be getting up so quickly that the fall won't matter.

Also, put that leash on before you're on the board. That will solve that problem.

You can see me teaching a lesson on the pic I've included. (I'm in yellow.) The guy on the left (on the green board) weighs about as much as you do and he was trying SUP out for the first time. He stood and fell. He was on his knees and fell. By the end of the class could paddle okay, and he was stable on his knees. That's progress. Again, we were using my huge Imagine Surfers, but I actually got them because they're so stable. They give confidence to the beginner,

When you get on the water, think out your progression like that. Don't compare yourself with anyone else. And keep at it. Ask for a board extra wide to start on, like 34–35". Anything smaller might not be right for you. Once you get some skills down you'll progress to something smaller, but not yet. Go for wide and keep trying.
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PonoBill

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Re: First lesson did not go well. Struggling and disheartened. Bigger person
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2019, 04:38:53 PM »
Hmm, the board 805 found is 34" wide, which should be sufficiently stable, but it's an inflatable, which in my experience, feel less stable than hard boards and will be particularly challenging if they are not inflated to the maximum pressure allowed.

Anyway, we're all rooting for you. Keep at it, and keep us posted on your progress. It will come.
Ponohouse is for sale: http://www.ponohouse.com
Foote 10'4X34", SIC 17.5 V1 hollow and an EPS one in Hood River. Foote 9'0" x 31", L41 8'8", 18' Speedboard, etc. etc.

 


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