Try Something New: Paddle Boarding

Try Something New:
Paddle Boarding

In the waning days of summer, which were still bloody hot and humid, I decided to try something new: paddle boarding. I’ve wanted to try it for some time, it was a hot day, and I was able to get away for part of the afternoon. I met up with my friend Bec early afternoon and we drove over to Hingham Harbor in Hingham Bay to take her new inflatable paddle board out for a spin.


As soon as we began to unpack the gear and beach paraphernalia from the trunk, there was a long, low rumble. I looked inland and saw dark clouds gathering.

Looking at Bec, I asked, “Was that what I think it was?”

“Thunder? Yup,” she replied.

paddle boardingBut, we hoped to get a small bit of paddling in, so we proceeded to unload everything and cart it down to the beach anyway. We took turns pumping air into the paddle board, with Bec doing most of the work. Before too long, we were ready to go. Bec slid the board out into deeper water, got on, stood up, paddled a couple of strokes and fell hard, water gushing into her right ear. Ouch! She shook it off and got up again, paddled a bit before falling off the rear.

This was not going to be easy. I wanted to believe in the fantasy that I could jump on and paddle with ease like I had watched others do, but I was realistic about my abilities. I expected to fall. A lot.

The weather was definitely looking worse. Thick dark clouds all around us. Was that rain in the distance towards Quincy? Thunder. Some lightning?

“Your turn”, she said.

After adding a bit more air to the paddle board, I put it in the water. I knelt and paddled at first, and then worked my way up to a crouch and paddled a few more strokes. I could feel the stress on my legs as I struggled to keep my balance. As soon as I straightened up, I lost my footing and fell on the board and bounced into the water.

Thunder and Lightning

The thunder was getting much louder now. And closer. Thick dark clouds had been moving in around us, and now I could see rain in the distance, perhaps falling on World’s End on the other side of the harbor. And there was definitely lightning in the distance. 

I was…a little…concerned. Looking back at the beach, I saw that I had drifted out further than expected on the ebbing tide. I began to swim back to shore, paddle board in tow. I realized, as I got closer to shore, that I should have just climbed up and paddled in on my knees.

The clouds were growing heavier, darker, and closer. As I hit the beach, thunder seemed to be breaking all around us with some pretty visible lightning strikes in the distance. So, we packed up as quickly as we could.

Taking a New Tack

By the time we had deflated the board, packed up the gear, dried off, and were about to get back in the car, the storm had blown over. The sun was out full strength. The harbor had been the one patch that didn’t get hit at all.

However, we’d had enough for the day, and we decided to drive down to Nantasket Beach to grab a bite to eat and a cold beer. We ended up at the dark, ground level bar of The Red Parrot, open to the boardwalk.

While our time paddle boarding was short, I did enjoy it, and plan to do it again. It was great to try something new in a location I had only kayaked, to be on and in the water, and to think about what I might do differently the next time out. Also, I made it a point to bring my camera along and was happy to shoot a few photos with it and my phone in a new setting.


Hingham Harbor is located in Hingham Bay, one of three small bays of outer Boston Harbor. The bay is about 3 miles wide (east to west) and about 4 miles long (north to south).

The scenic harbor has several small islands to explore, making it a great location to paddle board or kayak. Check out Friends of Hingham Harbor for information on conservation efforts and events.

An added plus? There are plenty of great restaurants within a block or two of the harbor. Stars on Hingham Harbor and Liberty Grill are two of the closest. Stars offers great breakfasts and comfort food. (I’ve not personally eaten at Liberty.)  The Snug pub is located a little further away from the harbor but has great atmosphere, food, and drink. Caffe Tosca and Tosca offer contemporary and upscale Italian food.


Have you put off something that you would like to try? List five to ten new things that you have wanted to do.

Once you have your list, narrow it down to one to three activities.

Make an “artist’s date” to do one of those things. Is it an activity you might want to partner with someone on? Then make plans to get together and do it!

Take some photos. Write about your experience. Or create a few rough illustrations about the day.

How was the activity? Pleasant, scary, challenging, thought-provoking, cathartic, enjoyable? Would you do it again?

Don’t forget to return to your list. Choose another activity. Go do that. Think of more activities you can explore and add to your original list.