Though every water sport has its charm, we find worthy highlighting stand-up paddleboarding as this was a new kid in the block over the last years and has conquered the heart of many. So we decided to interview an outdoors aficionado who has explored many places while kayaking, scuba diving and snorkeling, among many other open-air recreations, and six years ago found a strong passion for stand-up paddleboarding: José Pascual. This Puerto Rican, who has resided in Florida, U.S., during the last thirty-eight years, let us know why he currently prefers a paddleboard rather than a kayak as well as his insights and opinions about his related experiences. Whether you are considering engaging in stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) for the first time or are already enjoying such activity, you may find interesting what this all-around nature lover shared with us.
The All-Around Nature Lover, José Pascual, Speaking about SUP:
1) Why do you like better navigating on a paddleboard than a kayak?
“While I am standing up on a paddleboard, my body’s position provides a better angle to see marine life and water depth. If the water is clear, I can see underwater animals from a different perspective than when I kayak. I like the challenge of standing up on the board and trying to keep balance. Also, I like that I can paddle while sitting down or kneeling on the board if I get too tired. Besides paddles, I can use my body as sail to reset the board’s course when there is strong wind. When I am kayaking on a windy day, it is more difficult paddling to turn the kayak towards a particular direction. I can exercise more muscles because I am more active than when sitting down on a kayak.” (translation ours)
2) What motivates you to engage in paddleboarding on a particular day?
“I like that it is a meditating sport which requires to be conscious during every moment. If you don’t, you can fall into the water. Connecting with nature also attracts me to do stand-up paddleboarding. I like the sense of meditating surrounded by nature, being conscious at every moment, breathing fresh air, and that dolphins or manatees can come in sight right in front of you, or even alligators if you are paddling in the State of Florida.” (translation ours)
3) What are three impressive spots for paddleboarding that come to your mind?
“(1) Turkey Creek Sanctuary in City of Palm Bay, Florida. It is beautiful and has an incredible diversity of animals, such as manatees, catfish, turtles, dolphins, and alligators.
(2) Suwannee River in Live Oak, Florida. This river captivated me. It starts in Georgia and flows into Florida’s western coast. I have navigated this river on both States and seen how its surroundings change.
(3) Sarasota Bay, an estuary near Lido Key on the western side of Florida. It is a gorgeous bay with extremely clear water. I saw knockout manatees.” (translation ours).
4) Which are memorable experiences while performing stand-up paddleboarding?
“I was on the paddleboard in a secluded beach in Breñas in Dorado, Puerto Rico, and suddenly I noticed a stunning and an extensive coral. My first reaction was being scared because I didn’t want to fall on the coral, but immediately I sensed awe as it was huge and beautiful. I was also impressed by the feeling of appearing to be on top of the coral due to my body’s angle on the board. I was amazed at its size because coral’s branches were longer than the paddleboard.
Another memorable experience was seeing crystal clear water and manatees in Sarasota Bay. The manatees were very close, and I could sense them around me while respecting their habitat.” (translation ours).
5) How does stand-up paddleboarding make you feel while doing the sport?
“I feel a strong connection with life…. a spiritual connection with the world where I am…. like symbiotic. We are all connected. I feel that I am part of nature as any other animal is even though my everyday work makes me feel so distant. So this feeling bonds me again with the natural world. It is a sensation about feeling really alive.” (translation ours).
If you are a water lover and have not had the chance to practice stand-up paddleboarding, you may like discovering the feelings it may bring upon you. Don’t be surprised if you end up being amazed at how different the experience can be just because you are standing up.