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Hard at first glance, but 'anyone can do it:' The do's and don'ts of paddle boarding

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Posted at 1:58 PM, Jul 11, 2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Paddle boarding is a unique sport, almost like surfing but with the feeling of rowing a boat.

"It's a great sport, anyone can do it, and it's great for your body,” Randy Harris, the owner of Rudee Inlet Stand Up Paddle and a paddle boarding instructor, said. “It's great for your mind to be out on the water. It's an awesome experience."

Rudee Inlet Stand Up Paddle is located right at Rudee Inlet next to Pirate Parasail. There, Harris teaches beginners of all ages, introducing them to tips, tricks and techniques to getting the sport right.

"I've been surfing my whole life, and I injured my shoulder and needed some repair on it,” Harris, who's been teaching for 11 years, told News 3. “I started paddle boarding from that and absolutely fell in love with it, and the rest is history."

News 3’s Julio Avila, a first-time paddle boarder, took on the challenge and tried the sport out himself.

"Put your right arm straight, and left arm straight,” Harris said, explaining to Julio what to do. “Now just go like this, swing it back."

Julio repeated the instructions and was able to balance himself on the board. His board rocked, but he managed not to fall overboard.

"He went from a little bit nervous about ‘Am I going to fall in the water?’, to just killing it like an Olympic athlete. Incredible, world-class athlete right here," Harris said, critiquing Julio.

Harris says yoga can be helpful for people looking to paddle board, since it's all about balance.

"A lot of people think they can't do it, but anyone can do it. I tell them take the 'test,’” Harris explained as he balanced himself on a paddle board on the water. “You're taking the test right now -- stand there. That's the test, you can do it. If you can stand up, you can paddle board."

Harris said those that try paddle boarding for the first time might be nervous. There is one one rule that will help you almost never fall -- don't look down.

"The only way you can fall is to lock your legs up and put your head out here for some reason,” Harris explained, “When people do that, I say, 'In your head you just said 'Timber!''"

Harris said paddle boarding doesn't just work out your core, but your arms, too, making it an all-round workout that might seem difficult but that anyone can master.

Those interested in paddle boarding can contact Rudee Inlet Stand Up Paddle by calling (757) 343-3560. More information can also be found on the Rudee Inlet Stand Up Paddle website.