How-To Help

I am not embarrassed to say that sometimes I feel glued to my laptop screen. It’s not that I play games—I could do that on my cell phone. It’s not that I have 500 Facebook friends and send out 300 Tweets a day. It is that I am a true information junkie. Someone mentions a subject, and I go and look it up. What a great way to get educated! It’s the modern way of life. In a relatively short period of time, you get to know a lot of stuff. For example, recently I wanted to learn how to use a stand up paddle board since I was going out on the water with friends. Where else to go but YouTube for a how-to-help video.

First I searched for paddle boards and got an overview of these devices. I read about the ones for sale and assessed their different features and appearance. Many websites have embedded explainer videos so you can envision yourself using the product. There is a certain amount of fantasy with water sports as with any land sports. Man against nature! It is a kind of alternate existence to be outdoors fighting the elements and winning. It is all about confidence, fun, camaraderie, and cool equipment.

From YouTube I found I like the Jimmy Styks’ Scout Paradise Stand-Up Paddleboard because of its great stability and buoyancy. You get a smooth, comfortable ride in most conditions. Who knew you could learn to ride the waves from a video without placing a toe in the water. The video talked about the materials: the expanded polystyrene blank core with a ¼ inch stringer, a 3-layer fiberglass/epoxy glass schedule applied to the deck for standing support and a lighter 2-layer fiberglass/epoxy glass schedule applied to the bottom for minimized board wait. Wow! And a final clear coat is applied for a polished, lasting luster.

It helps you understand why these boards work the way they do with such finesse. They explain that adequate volume will help you glide more smoothly across the surface of the water. It is all about rider weight and skill level. Then there is something called “rocker” which refers to the shape of the board and the upward bend of the nose and tail when it is lying flat. Boards have varying degrees of rocker: the one in question—the Scout Paradise– has a 5.5 inch nose rocker that keeps the board above the water surface for planning wind-chopped water, and a 3 inch tail rocker that allows for pivoting during turns. As the video states it, even beginners can’t go wrong with this construction for flatwater cruising to ocean paddling.

Apparently, I learned a lot about my preferred paddleboard from the YouTube video, but not so much that I didn’t check out a dozen more. You get hooked on them. No wonder they go viral. Some are compelling. With the paddleboard instructions, I came to respect the sport and can’t wait to get out on the water.