Mental Guidance for Novice Paddlers

With a pounding heart and eager mindset, I placed my paddleboard into the water.

It was the Spring of 2015 and was my first year of exploring the rivers of Colorado.

I had been exploring the backcountry all winter with my friend Matt and spring had finally arrived. Matt is an experienced river guide and an avid stand-up paddleboarder. 

The thoughts of “Can I do this?” and “What’s this all about?” reeled in my mind. It was time to lean into the discomfort and go with the flow.I was ready to be vulnerable and do something wholeheartedly that I couldn’t control the outcome of. There were new lessons to learn as a beginner, and I found myself giving into the realization that I would not do this perfectly the first time.

Paddleboarding requires that one enters a place of openness.  It has proved to be the birthplace for new joy, creativity, belonging, and love. Being able to meet fellow river people has given me a connection that brings more purpose and direction to my life. 

I feel a deeper connection with Colorado in an entirely new way. I live in awe of the rivers and the people in them. It has been my meditation and introduction to a new reality. 

When I look at the river, my actions become simple, fluid, kind, and fearless. I raise my gaze to the horizon and look to where I want to go.  The rewards of this sport have forever sculpted my reality.  Don’t fight the fall. Get right back on. Be grateful for the successes, as well as for the opportunities to improve because they both have value. Most of all, when on the river with others, create accountability, harmony, and goodwill. 

Trinity Wall is a team rider for Hala Gear.

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