Try and fall, and have fun doing it!

Picture this: it’s a beautiful, breezy morning and the waves are small but fun. You’re the only person in the water and a pod of dolphins decide to come surf with you. Momma and baby dolphin keep resurfacing near you, one darts through a wave and another leaps from the water and smacks his tail right in front of you. Your goofy smile is witnessed only by the pelicans who swoop by, and you can’t believe how much joy you’re experiencing.

That was me a few days ago. IT. WAS. AWESOME. But it doesn’t always go like this. Sometimes the waves show me who’s boss, and I come out of the water disheartened and frustrated. It’s rare, but it happens. I naturally want to try new things (always), and find the benefits vastly outweigh the risks. Trying new things and being around water can do great things for our physical, mental and emotional health. So much of our lives is spent doing routine things. New and engaging experiences can reinvigorate your life with energy and excitement.

Here at Outsiders, we’re often on the water and connecting people with the beautiful outdoors is our jam. I’m going to tell you why trying paddle boarding in the ocean can be scary and dangerous, and why – despite all that – you absolutely should try it!

Rational Fear

There are myriad reasons why fear is a good thing. It helps us survive…fight or flight and all that. Some activities are more dangerous, and some people are more prone to injuring themselves (even when just walking around the office). Surfing and being in the ocean does involve a certain amount of danger. You could be hit by your surfboard, step on a stingray, bit by a shark, swallow a bunch of salt water…These are understandable fears, but you can avoid most of these dangers with preparation and safety awareness. Courage is cultivated by experiencing fear and moving through it. Think about how great you felt the last time you met a fear head on, and came out the other side! Strong? Brave? Resilient? Capable? Inspired?

Be OK with Falling

One of the first things most newbies say when they come paddling with us for the first time is about falling. “Oh, I’m probably going to fall” or something along those lines. I tell them it’s not all that common, even for first time paddle boarders, as we put people on boards appropriate for their size/skill level. And if you do fall, who cares! It’s just water, and honestly – everyone does it at some point. Don’t let a fear of falling or looking silly stop you from trying something new and fun!

Confidence Builder

Trying new things, whether you ‘succeed’ or not, is a great confidence builder. You’re capable of more than you think. I’ve never had someone leave after a paddle saying it was a mistake, or they were much worse than they thought. Yet for some reason, we humans tend to underestimate ourselves and overestimate the risks. Don’t try to talk yourselves out of it. Talk yourself into it!

Be Content with Failure

By failure I don’t mean falling off the board or going home with an injury. I mean failure as a concept. When you try to do something, you’re of course trying to do it well. Nobody wants to do a thing poorly, but be realistic. Do you expect to be an expert the first time you try something? Perhaps check your expectations at the shore.  Our tour guides are happy to offer all sorts of advice on how to be comfortable on the board, even if you’re sitting or kneeling. Ask questions! Be curious, and be content with the fact that you’re trying something new, and with that comes all sorts of awesome, interesting and yes – sometimes challenging experiences. This is the stuff of character building.

Some Safety Tips

  • If you’re going out on the water alone, just like with anything else – let someone know where you’ll be and when you expect to return. 
  • Consider bringing a small first aid kit and a way to contact help if you need it.
  • Do you have all that you’ll need to have a great time on the water? Some essentials include water, sunscreen, hat, snacks, leash, dry bag etc)
  • If you’re exploring areas where dangerous wildlife exists (hello Florida gators, sharks & snakes!) educate yourself and enter their home with awareness and knowledge

If you’re hesitant to #getoutthere on your own, contact us to join a paddle tour with our team! We’re also happy to give you recommendations on where to go, and can even help you strap some boards onto the car if you want to rent a couple of stand up paddleboards from us. 

You can find us at the shop in Historic Downtown DeLand, FL (in Persimmon Lane, by the DeLand wings!). 112 S Woodland Blvd 

Or reach out to us at or 386 785 6806

See you on the water!

~ Ella & Renee
Outsiders USA co-owners, besties and climbing partners.