NorCal SheJumps Stand Up Paddleboard Adventure at Half Moon Bay
Written by: Chelseamarie, SheJumps NorCal Ambassador
WasssssssSUP Water Women?
Rock the SUP. Don’t rock the SUP baby. Rock the SUP, but don’t tip the SUP overrrrr….
SheJumps into the Bay, a bit unexpectedly! Many of us took the plunge on August 22nd into Half Moon Bay after paddling for nearly three hours. The water was salty, refreshing, and drenched our daring dolls, but from the moment Saturday began the women were rockin’!
Kelly, Lily, Christine, Lauren, and Rachel met with me in Oakland at nearly SUNRISE. These bright-eyed bellas arrived on my doorstep with bikinis, board-shorts, and an appetite for both espresso and excitement! We grabbed the essentials – towels, water, Band-Aids, sunscreen, and coffee – and cruised to Half Moon Bay. After an hour of belting 90’s one-hit-wonders and discussing careers, relationships, fitness, and fashion, we followed tiny signs and a quiet winding road into a dirt parking lot beside the Yacht Club. Little did we know, that we would be met by the right-hand woman of Jeff Clark, the famous Mavericks Surfer. Cassandra, his leading lady, welcomed us with open arms into Mavericks Surf and SUP Shop…scooting us out onto the patio where we enjoyed an outdoor fire pit on the beach and more coffee!
The crew snuggled up together, sweatshirts and snuggles warming our skin as stories and sipping hot beverages brought heat into our souls. We let our anticipation boil as we watched the San Francisco fog roll across the Bay and awaited the arrival of Enid, Cassie, and Maggie. The thick clouds and grey sky brought a sense of peacefulness into our playtime. There was serenity and safety in the low-hanging clouds, which held our anticipation close to us.
Some had SUP’d before, but others had never boarded the floating mechanisms. Cassandra introduced us to our BOMB instructors…literally! “TNT” (Travis and Tara) made our SUP adventure nothing less than explosive with excitement! KABOOM. It was time to hit the waves, fog or shine, so TNT helped us suit-up in wetsuits, size-up our paddles, and STAND UP on our boards! With calm strokes, every women entered the bay and within moments was balanced atop her board…beginning her journey into the open ocean.
As we paddled, seals were peeking at us. They creeped out of the water like groundhogs searching for the sun, or children poking their heads out of their bedroom on Christmas morning…curious, hesitant, shy, but stealthy. We carefully paddled along the rock ledges in search of sea life – all things fishy really – fish, starfish, and fisherman! And while all the women paddled diligently to travel across the water fluidly, like riding Aladdin’s magic carpet, we had one stowaway just along for the ride! Her name was chicken, but she was certainly no chicken emotionally (or physically!) TNT’s French Bulldog had a red lifejacket that matched my own, and hopped from SUP to SUP riding bravely on water with us all – proving that brave, strong females come in all forms AND species! We raced to shore to share a meal, then upon returning were hit with sunshine, but severe winds!
Many of us took refuge on our knees, and dug paddles hard to the right side over and over to avoid crashing with the rocks or tipping over. Travis managed to capture moments on his GoPro as we fought the air to return home! There were seagull spectators and an entire pelican parade taunting us with chirps and squeals as they watched from the rocks like sitting on stadium bleachers!
Balance. Trust. Teamwork. Dig. Pull. Paddle. SPLASH. A few of us dunked daringly on our trip back. Soaking wet and smiling victoriously, we ditched our small boards and prepared for the grand finale…a GIANT SUP that fit all of us women. Two by two we boarded the BIG SUP and stroked in synchronicity under the pier – uniting each woman, the ocean, the movement, and the effort it took to propel our bodies across the waves. It was a magical moment filled with giggles, grace, and gusto.
WassssSUP, you say? Our spirits, that’s Wasssup.
Special thanks to Cassandra, Travis, and Tara at Maverick’s Paddle Board; 214 Princeton Avenue, Half Moon Bay, CA
Photo Credit: Tara Arrowood; Arrowood Photography