Last Saturday my friend and dragon boat teammate Cami invited me to join her and two of her friends at Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area in Pleasanton, CA. Pleasanton is about 40 minutes southeast of Oakland by car.
It was a sunny 90 degrees (20 degrees warmer than Oakland!). We started with a picnic of yummy food that we’d picked up in Oakland’s Chinatown.
Then we put on our swimsuits and headed down to the lake. It was blue and pristine. I started off on the kayak. I’d only ever gone kayaking once before; in Santa Cruz at the Automattic company meetup last September. That time I was kayaking in the ocean! The lake was much calmer. It was nerve-wracking at first, but once I got the feel of it it was a lot of fun. Unlike with dragon boating, in a kayak you’re way more intimate with the water!
Cami had gone windsurfing a few times before. This time she went out pretty far into the lake! I was uncertain if I was going to try it. But of course they convinced me to. I was soo nervous about balancing on the board, but Cami’s friend was a great teacher and very patient with me. I was so scared of losing my balance and falling in the water (even though I was wearing a PFD and I know how to swim, lol). Well I did fall, and it was actually very nice. The water felt great in the 90-degree heat. Once I got over that initial fear of falling, it wasn’t as scary. I managed to balance on the board and pull up the sail. I didn’t venture far from the shore, but maybe next time!
Finally I rented a paddle board. You stand up on the board and paddle with a long oar. The paddling is similar to dragon boat paddling…only you’re standing! I was afraid I’d have balance issues, but the boards they had were beginner boards, and very sturdy. Far less tippy than the windsurfing board. I went pretty far out into the lake. The only issue was that I was unable to return to the dock because the wind was too strong to paddle against. So I just beached the board along the shore. The rental folks were super nice about it, and said it happened all the time. They didn’t even charge me!
All in all it was a great day. Until I got involved with dragon boating, I’d never done much boating in my life or have been involved with water sports. Now I want to do more. I want to be active, and do more things outdoors. When I’m being active — whether it’s out on the water, or dancing, or hiking, or running, or even going for a walk around the block, I feel like I’m living my life. Being active makes me love my body and what it can do, instead of constantly criticizing it for not meeting certain “ideal looks” or perceived flaws. I’m grateful for the time I got to spend with Cami and look forward to more fun to come.