Family Time: <a href=Laird Hamilton and his daughter, Reece. Photo: Joel Guy

Fathers, Family and Standup

I don't remember the first time I saw a standup paddleboard, or even the first time I paddled one. A friend just showed up with a board and I got on. And I liked it. I don't recall having any expectations, or aspirations other than having fun, which is the reason I try most things for the first time.

I can say without a doubt that sticking with it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Because I definitely remember the first time I tried standup paddling with my family. It was down at our local beach. The sea was calm and the day was pristine. My son, then nearly three, jumped on with me and we paddled out. We rose and fell gently with the rhythm of the tide, looked for the bottom in the dark Pacific Ocean water and just talked. Nothing complicated, as you can imagine with a three-year-old. We just simply enjoyed one another.

On the way in, we got lucky and snagged a little peeler that took us all the way to the beach. Sam squealed like a little piglet. The way you always want your kids to squeal. With pure joy.

Sam lept off the board and ran up the beach to tell his mom all about it. Then it was time to dig into the feast we'd brought with us. But alas, we were stuck in the sand, without a table and loads of good food we didn't want tasting gritty. So I did what any dad with a SUP would: I turned that big board over and created the finest picnic table we'd ever eaten on. I can't recall what we ate. It doesn't matter. It was one of the most memorable meals of my life simply because of the company.
Years from now, you may not recall your first time standup paddling either. The point is to start now. The real memories are waiting. –Joe Carberry

This first appeared in our 2013 Beginner’s Guide.