by Brittany Fagan; photos by Sami Caun
During my four years of education at Slippery Rock University I was introduced to the sport of stand up paddle boarding. For actual college credits, I was required to take a six week stand up paddle board course. With all of my friends extremely envious of my course work, I learned all the basics of paddle boarding and how to properly teach it to others.
In the summer of 2016, I got to put my education to work! I was hired as a trip leader specialist for Venture Outdoors as well as a SUP instructor! How awesome! I quickly got a board out onto North Park Lake and refreshed myself on all of the basics of the wonderful sport as well as surveyed the environment I would soon be teaching in. Throughout the summer I led all sorts of outings including our beginner classes, sunset paddles and even our SUP yoga excursions! It has been great to see that people of all ages are eager to get involved with SUP. From young teenagers to elderly participants, I’ve had the opportunity of working with a diverse population at different fitness levels. At first, many are hesitant to come out with us in fear that they will fall in and be unable to stand, but they all quickly learn that they worried for nothing. This finding is always very satisfying for me because I get to watch people surprise themselves!
My time spent on the water teaching this summer has been nothing short of amazing. I’ve had the opportunity to watch people get out of their comfort zones and try something new that they were curious about. I’ve gotten to see participants return and grow with each lesson they take. And best of all, I’ve had the chance to escape the busyness of life and show people for one short hour how beautiful and calm the nature is that surrounds us right here in Pittsburgh. Teaching my favorite watersport to others this summer has shown me that not all classrooms have four walls.