Standing in the registration line for a paddleboard race a few years ago, I was talking to the guy behind us in line. He asked me what class I paddle. I explained that while I do paddle, I don’t race. I was just standing in line with my wife who was racing. A friend interrupted to let the guy know that I don’t race, I just paddle for the monotony.
I guess that’s true. Fitness is a big part of it but it did make me think about why it is that I enjoy paddling. There is a lot of time spent staring at the Bark logo on the nose of my board. Chasing the nose of my board couldn’t be the real reason I paddle, could it?
Perhaps not specifically staring at the end of the board but I do think the mindlessness of the sport has some appeal. It’s no different than riding a bike or running marathons. At the end of the day, it’s a lot of time spent listening to an iPod (if you choose) and starting straight ahead. I never identified with marathon runners, but now I think I can understand them.
There is peace in the monotony.
It’s not always monotonous. Days with big swell, lots of wind or wildlife all result in dynamic environments. They require continual attention. But even those days fall into some sort of rhythm. Ride one wave, paddle into the next. Ride that wave. Maybe it is the monotony.