About Blaine

Was that a gun? Or a paddleboard?

By Published On: August 4th, 2022Categories: Wisdom from BlaineComments Off on Was that a gun? Or a paddleboard?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my escapades learning to stand up paddleboard.


The day after I wrote that email to you, it got worse.

My paddleboard exploded.

At this point, my friend and I thought we had this paddleboard thing down. As we drove to a small lake in Montana, we joked about how we were pros now and made our plan to pull up to the lake, easily inflate our paddleboards (a process that had not been easy at the last outing) and enjoy our lunch.

It worked for my paddleboard, no problemo. Then, as my friend’s board was inflating and we were enjoying a delightful lakeside lunch, a sound like a gunshot pierced the air.

Did I say there were a couple of hundred people at the beach right next to us?

My paddleboard, which was filled to exactly the manufacturer specification for inflation, blew a side seam, loudly.

The force of the blast blew our lunch utensils across the parking lot and shot my board under the car. The beach went quiet for a moment as everyone got their heart rate down.

Question: What do we do next? Answer: Put my now-damaged board back in the car and both of us hop on my friend’s board for a paddle around the stunning Montana lake.

Then, go to REI in Missoula and buy a new board. We weren’t going to let something like a paddle board detonation stop us from our other planned adventures on the water.

And the experiences were so great! If you’re considering trying a new thing that intrigues you, do it. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway is truly one of the most empowering things we can do.

When my friend and I were paddleboarding, we shared the lake with motorized boats so that means we had waves coming at us (wake) and, as a beginner, it’s a little scary.

When I learned to kayak, I remember the teacher telling us to turn the bow of the boat (the front) right into the wake, and keep paddling. We don’t want the wake to hit us sideways.

On the paddle board, I did the same thing and I never fell off.

Out there, on the water, my eyes scanning the surface for threats that can knock me off my board, I thought about life a lot, and the lessons this whole paddle board adventure was reminding me of:

  1. Things do not go as planned.
  2. You can follow directions exactly as they are specified, and still have something blow up.
  3. When the obstacles come, turn and face them head on and keep on going.
  4. Have a friend by your side. We’re not meant to go alone.


And above all, don’t take yourself too seriously. We’re all here in earth-school together so might as well enjoy the ride.

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