Dawn Epstein has always loved being out on the water, whether it’s in a kayak or on a boat, but when she first tried stand up paddleboarding, she discovered a whole new way to experience the ocean. Epstein immediately fell in love with the sport and can now be found paddleboarding in the Sarasota Bay near her home every chance she gets.
When did you first start paddleboarding?
“I tried it for the first time about a year ago on a trip to St. Thomas, although I actually had a bad experience there. The instructor was not helpful and it was really windy, and I ended up falling on the rocks and getting badly cut by sea urchins. Despite all that, I loved it.”
What’s your favorite part of paddleboarding?
“I love being out on the water. It’s an incredibly zen kind of feeling to me. It just feels natural, and I love seeing the fish and the stingrays.”
What has been your most memorable experience?
“Two days ago, I was paddleboarding in the bay, and almost immediately I saw a dolphin. I followed him, and then another one came from the other direction, and then two of them came toward me. I was a little nervous at first because they were so close. One dolphin even swam right under my board. That experience made me feel so grateful to live here in this amazing place.”
Where do you go paddleboarding?
“I usually go in Sarasota Bay, but I’ve also gone to Lido Beach. Being in the Gulf is incredible.”
Is there anything you’re trying to improve?
“I try to work on my posture and standing up straight. I feel strong and healthy when I’m on my board.”
How often do you go paddleboarding?
“I try to go once or twice a week, but I wish I had time to go more often. I also do yoga and Pilates, and I think that’s one of the reasons it was so easy for me to pick up paddleboarding.”
What advice would you give to others interested in paddleboarding?
“I would say get out there and try it, because it’s not hard. You need pretty good balance, but the worst thing that can happen is you fall off and get wet.”
Contact Maria Amodio at [email protected].