I was temporarily laid off in April 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. My partner and I spent our time on the never-ending list of house projects at our home in Hamilton.
In June my parents were able to go back to their cottage on Saugeen First Nations #29 located on Lake Huron in Sauble Beach.
I’ve spent a lot of time there (I used to live and work there from the spring to the fall) and was excited to return during the summer of my early “retirement” to spend time with my parents!
Laundry list of house projects!
Retirement living with my parents at the beach
I have paddle boarded for years. I’d paddle on neighbours’ and friends’ boards in Canada or when travelling. I’m not 100% sure when I first tried SUP but It would have been after I learned to surf which was in San Diego in 2008.
Catching first waves in California
The first time it was documented was here in Fiji in 2013 which could have also been my first time on a SUP board.
Crystal clear blue waters and paddling over coral reefs was mind-blowing!
I had always wanted a board; especially being lucky enough to not only live by the Great Lakes but have a family cottage on one!
I did my research as I always do and landed on an inflatable one for a few reasons. The convenience of it to travel with me in my 4 door sedan and not wanting the hassle and cost of roof racks. I had used inflatable boards before and I have to admit just the thought kinda turned me off but after lots of research, it was the right choice for me and is actually the most durable option.
I hummed and hawed about pulling the trigger on the larger purchase. Money was already tight with being laid off and owning a house but I had more time available to me since I could remember. Likely when I was 14 years old before I hit the working world.
I figured I would move forward and worst case I could sell it.
Now that I knew I was moving forward I wanted the Red Paddle Co Sport 11’3, 2020 model. If you recall, any exercise equipment or recreational items were difficult to find since the demand was higher than ever and manufacturing wasn’t operating at the same level due to the pandemic.
I found a few places selling the 2019 model but that year Red boards only had a 2 year warranty vs 5 years and didn’t have a front handle which the 2020 model did.
Maybe I’m picky but why would I pay the same for something with less? Plus if I’m spending the money it’s worth getting what you fully want.
I also figured that if I could find what I was looking for it was meant to be!
I called a lot of places and hunted online too. I also contacted Red Paddle Co for retailers that might have it in Canada. Hot tip – not all of their retailers are listed on their site.
Literally, the last place I called had my board!
I spoke with a woman named Eileen, who owns the shop, Sun n Surf in Naramata, BC. Which isn’t even close to where I live; roughly 4,000km away.
Out of everyone I had chatted with she was the nicest and best person to deal with. She knew her shit! I spoke with a lot of people where I knew more about the product than they did. Maybe bad service or maybe I just research the shit out of it 😉
Side note, Naramata, BC looks stunning! It’s just north of Penticton and south of Kelowna on Lake Okanagan. I would love to visit one day!
Eileen sorted me out by texting me photos and options of leashes and paddles; recommending the best ones suited to me and my future board.
She shipped my board, paddle and leash the same day!
My board and the adventures it continues to bring opens up new places for me to explore that I didn’t think were possible and it helps me to stop & enjoy everyday moments.
My board was a big purchase for me (laid off or not).
It is my “FUCK IT. Life is too short, I’m going to enjoy it now” gift to myself.
I know I am lucky to have the ability to do this but I am also proud of myself for the hard work to get there.