Apple of Adam’s Eye: Candice Appleby shows the Colorado boys how to stand up in the surf.

A few months ago, I received an invitation to attend a media event in Florida for standup paddle boarding (SUP). It was being led by, among others, a SUP-pro named Candice Appleby, whose sport-model image adorned the invite, which came from Kona Brewing Company. You’d think I’d jump at the idea of SUP-ing with a hottie, one who could easily have the moniker Candy Apple, while throwing back craft beer. But, in reality, I knew I was out of my league on all fronts.

I grew up in Boulder and, other than swimming pools and some tubing on the Boulder Creek, the Rez was pretty much my sole water experience. And that explains my proclivity for turning sallow green upon first sight of a fluid body that is other than glass-like. Had my limitations stopped there, the SUP event might have been doable. But it gets worse.

My nickname in high school was “Yackmaster” because of the fact that every type of alcohol went through me twice: wine that came in a two-gallon $5 jug that we called “Old Puke” instead of Old Duke, vodka from my friend’s seemingly bottomless flask, gin I bought in NYC even though I was underage and prepubescent, Kahlua while I was in high school and hanging out with a college student who was playing cougar and rum I can only faintly recall. Yep, I regurgitated them all.

But I’ve heard we only improve in life if we confront our fears, so off to Cocoa Beach I went, ready to face the challenges of the sea and foam.

Unfortunately, no thanks to un-Florida-like weather, the bay where we were paddle boarding was full of chop and whitecaps and that made my initiation more of a KnOB (kneel-on board), as I struggled to stay upright. When I stood I found myself being blown backwards faster than I could paddle, as my body served as a human sail. Fortunately, I fared much better when the water was placid. Given the rockiness of my initiation, I figured that if I didn’t get Laird Hamilton-like ripped abs from paddling, I’d be able to get them from the exercise of exorcising whatever was in my stomach, be it from the motion sickness or if I imbibed too heartily.

And, speaking of imbibing, I must confess that I failed my beer-pouring lesson because my first cup of Longboard Island Lager had enough head on it to qualify as a great cappuccino. My second attempt with Koko Brown was a vast improvement and looked more like a latte with a little foam from a friendly barista. But I did succeed in a barf-free buzz and got a laugh out of hearing Appleby remark, “That run to catch the shuttle van totally just activated those beers I drank.” I consider the trip to be a success because I still want to SUP and sip in the future.

SUP in boulder

You don’t need to go all the way to Florida to SUP. Learn at the Boulder Reservoir with exercise and nutrition/lifestyle coach Alessandra Gil (ale-fitness.com). Originally from Brazil, Ale learned to SUP while living in San Diego. She offers classes during the summer ranging from private lessons for $75 an hour to a 90-minute group SUP fitness class for $52 (board and entrance to Boulder Rez included). For more on the SUP revolution in Colorado see page 15.

—Adam Chase