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More often than not in these past few years I have found myself face to face with a need for balance. I’m not sure that this has always been a conscious motivation, but for whatever reason – that word – or actually the act itself (of balance) keeps resurfacing.

Last week I was on Jekyll Island with my family (most of you may agree that family vacations in themselves are a huge balancing /compromising/ challenging/wonderful experience). We all have our quirks and I’ll admit mine is – I MUST be active or I get grouchy and stir crazy. I mean, time off of work is a treasured luxury, and there is so MUCH to DO – I can’t just sit around. ….and I not only can’t just sit around I want everyone else around me to be just as active and just as enthusiastic. So, I strongly encourage it (to say the least).

My sport of choice is climbing. (Which by the way – is all about some balance.) Have you ever watched a really good climber? If so, you know what a graceful thing it can be. Funny, that word “graceful” doesn’t seem like it would go with “climbing” does it? But seriously – learning to use your body weight is an essential aspect of the sport.

….. but there is no climbing in the southeast corner or Georgia at 10 feet above sea level. So, time to try the SUP ! Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is an emerging global sport that is said to be one of the fastest growing in the outdoor industry today. A few months back we brought in some Boardworks SUPs to the Outdoor Experience. Starting with 4 , Seth, the store manager, quickly bought one and I have kind of adopted another myself (which WILL BE put into rental in case you guys want to see what it’s all about) But anyway, my only previous experience with one was 2 minutes on the Hiwassee and an hour or so on a neighbors lake.

OK – Day 1 of beach vacation and …. LOVE IT! The board I used is called the SHUBU . It’s inflatable and packs into a handy backpack making It extremely easy to take anywhere (car, plane, walk to a private beach so all the other tourists don’t have to witness you bust your behind , ANYWHERE). It is very ,very stable and forgiving. I didn’t completely master the steering aspect but I saw it done – pretty proficiently, so it is

possible. My only complaint was the 6 other people with me all wanted to learn too, and I only had 1 board – but hey – (after their willingness to walk to the beach at 9pm following 8 hours in the car, AND go on morning AND evening bike rides around the island, AND ride jet ski’s with some relatives in a salt water river with the sharks, AND boogie board and body surf for hours on end – sharing the SUP was really worth it J ) .

Oh yes – but back to the topic. Balance. You guessed it – from what I can tell it’s all about the balance. Being positioned on the board just right, being loose enough to “go with” the flow and not fight it, and then trusting that balance to “reach- out” and put the board on edge when needed. How cool to see my family, my children, my boyfriend, MYSELF all start with many falls in the water, then wobbly Elvis legs, a tentative stand, and then some of us even catching a few waves.

If you haven’t tried it yet, I say GO FOR IT! If not SUP then what about a kayak? Or a walk in the woods? Scaling some rocks? Joining the grotto? Exploring the world around us? Volunteering your time to build a trail? – For me, getting outdoors and doing something, (no matter how adrenaline pumping or relaxing it might be) – balances me. What balances you?