My Experience Stand Up Paddling in Austin

Today I lived out an Austinite’s dream and experienced the Austin trifecta: Stand Up Paddleboarding, Yoga, and Queso.


I’m fairly certain I was the last person left in Austin who hadn’t tried stand up paddleboarding. It’s hugely popular here.

Our voyage began at the Expedition School, situated at the far end of the Lady Bird Lake.  We chose this location because it is far, far away from the hustle and bustle of downtown and the crowds on that part of the lake. We were total amateurs and didn’t want to bump into anyone or anything that could knock us off our boards and get our hair wet.  We have priorities.


Tomorrow is the last day for the intern at the nonprofit where I work, so this outing was to thank her for all of her toil and slave labor.

Thanks Blake!


We’ll thank you on the lake!

The Expedition School was a great place to learn because it is tucked back in a small lagoon, away from the current of current and the main stretch of the lake.


Our instructor told us that step one was to find our balance on our knees. Once we mastered that in the lagoon, we could try standing up.

SUPing is definitely a core and calf workout. My calves were trembling and my abs were sending distress signals to my brain.


But in spite of it all, I was able to master balancing on my knees! Then I had to go for the hard part: standing up without falling in. Once I mastered that, I had to figure out how to take pictures while standing up without falling in. It was complicated.


The wind was behind us, so we flew downstream thinking “man, this is easy!”  It should have dawned on us that we would shortly have to go back UPstream, agaaaainst the wind.

The trip upstream and back to the lagoon took it out of us. For every three steps forward, we took three steps back. In my head I was signing “I keep suppin, against the wind…I keep suppin, against the wind.”

I also spent a good deal of time wishing I was in a kayak, where at least I would be sitting down.


But we did make it back alive and happy.

Back in the lagoon, there very little current, so I was able to try the second part of the Austin trifecta: yoga.

I put my paddle down, gently slid my feet out across the board, and reached down to my toes with my right hand to form a triangle pose. I was so proud of myself for not falling in.

Then I got down on my knees and went up into downward facing dog.  I stayed there for a few seconds before the board began to wobble and I decided my luck had come to an end.

I guess all of those years of ballet paid off.


I wore my Solomon techamphibians.  Most people prefer supping barefoot, but I think helped me stay stable.


By the time we were back in the lagoon, we were ready to complete the Austin trifecta and dive in to a bowl of queso.  We were in need of the kind of rejuvenation that only salty tortilla chips and warm, melted cheese could provide.


And Magnolia Cafe delivered.  Trifecta complete.


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