People always ask me if I grew up in Laguna. The sad truth is that I was raised in what is known as the Inland Empire, land of sweltering skies, shopping malls galore, and vast expanses of suburbs. There wasn’t much to do besides play sports and go to the movies and in-n-out with your friends (a common recurring hang out spot on Friday nights.)
After I went off to college to start my new adventure away from the suburbs, my parents were left to deal with their own issues. Not surprisingly, they decided to get a divorce, and my mom was sure that she wanted to leave sleepy ole’ La Verne for new, exciting city living.
She came to the conclusion that Seattle would be the perfect place for a change of pace. You may be wondering who in their right mind wants to move to cold and rainy Seattle over sunny Cali? My whole family thought the same thing.
That summer, marked by drastic changes, was also when I was getting ready to study abroad in Barcelona. I wasn’t at home in the U.S. when the recession hit, but I felt it as well as the rest of the world. It affected my mom too when she could no longer get a loan for her new condo in Seattle.
Not to revel in her loss or anything, but my sister and I were thrilled with this turn of events because as a result, she decided to stay in southern California. My mom had always wanted to live by the beach so she started looking at places in Orange County and eventually found a charming beach bungalow in a little old town you may know as Laguna Beach. Not far from my best friends grandmothers house, I was ecstatic about the location and so happy and proud of my mom as she created a new start and a new life for herself.
Living steps from the beach, my mom started to embrace this seaside lifestyle by trying the up and coming sport of stand up paddle. Her first experience on the water was all it took because she bought a board and paddle online the next day.
Her 11’2 Oxbow arrived within the next couple days and she began to paddle as much as she could. I Remember she called me one day to rave about all the dolphins she just saw while out on the water. “Tay, they were so close to me! I thought they were going to jump right over my board.”
The more she talked about it, the more I wanted to fly immediately home from college to try this new sport. I couldn’t wait for spring break when I would hop on a board and paddle among the dolphins and seals.
The maiden voyage with my mom was more magical than I ever dreamed off. Launching from the cove down from her house was so easy because there were no waves. We paddled out to Seal Rock and just sat on our boards as we watched the Sea Lions play and waddle around the rock. As we paddled back, a pod of dolphins swam by to complete the experience. I was amazed and a little jealous that my mom could do this kind of stuff everyday.
Summer after graduation, I moved in with my mom to the dismay of my dad, but I didn’t care. This meant that I could paddle everyday and my mom was happy that she had someone to paddle with. After a few weeks, I started to notice that my body was toning up and all of a sudden, I saw little abs forming. I observed the same changes on my mom as we both came to the realization of what an awesome workout stand up paddle is.
A few months after I started Paddle Board Bliss, my mom and I began to experiment with exercises that you could do on the boards while out on the water. Teaching aerobics for 25 years, my mom had a laundry list of ideas from squats to ab work to even yoga.
Last winter, we introduced Sup Shape and we’ve had a great response. All the women in the class lost weight without making too many changes to their diet. What was also noticeable was a new-found confidence among these women that was almost tangible. This feeling of invincibility showed us that we had created something special.
What I’ve learned from my mom is that it’s never too late to make a fresh start. You’re never too old to broaden your horizons or try something new because you just might surprise yourself.
Beth teaches Sup Shape 2 and beginner Sup Shape on Mondays and Wednesdays at 9 and 10am.