Paddle Board Acro FTW

We have had some absolutely beautiful weather in Iowa lately, so we decided to celebrate the weather at Lake MacBride and attempt some paddle board acroyoga.

Our friend Scott brought out his paddle board and we grabbed our kayaks and away we went. Scott is from Cedar Rapids and owns and runs Elevate Vertical Fitness which is an aerial studio on the south side of the city. Very cool place – if you’re ever coming through definitely check it out.

Anyway, so we went out to Lake MacBride and the weather was perfect. Our initial idea was to go out with the kayaks and the paddle board and we’d try and jump between them as we switched out acro partners. Which was of course an awesomely optimistic idea that worked exactly how you would expect: with an overturned kayak full of water.

Just FYI, paddle board acro is kind of hard. And by “kind of” I mean: holy buckets that takes some core strength to balance doing acro on a paddle board! New goal: be able to do a press up to handstand on a paddle board (maybe I should perfect that on solid ground first…). We did have some success, though (along with many fails).

After not that many successes, we decided to try our luck with beach acro instead. Much more successfully than paddle board acro, I might add. While we were playing and drying off on the beach, a group of ladies got very interested, and besides asking us if we were professional circus performers, we also offered to teach them some stuff and we ended up showing them some simpler poses. Judging by all the squee-ing, I think they thoroughly enjoyed it. Plus, they now have a lovely collection of pics for their Instagram, too. 🙂

With these girls, two were excited to try – one of whom was a gymnast and took to it like a fish to water. The first one to try, however, didn’t have much of a movement background but she was still excited to try. It’s a really nice feeling to see someone suddenly level up their own confidence in being able to do this thing that on the outside can look really hard.

Scott doing most of the basing – beach girl doing all the new moves!

Basing/Flying brand new people is an interesting experience. When basing them, it’s always a treat to watch them go from skeptical to surprised to thrilled at their own abilities. They’re doing things with their bodies that they had no idea they were even capable of. Many assume that they’re not strong enough to do any of it. And pretty frequently, many assume that they’re too big to fly and sometimes too old to fly. Obviously if someone really doesn’t want to play, that’s totally fine. You don’t have to play if you don’t want to! But if the only thing that’s holding you back from playing is that you think you’re not strong enough/small enough/light enough/young enough – that’s a lame excuse. In those instances, the only thing stopping you is you.

Flying on brand new people is a bit of a different story. Since I’m pretty small, I tend to fly more than base. I fly with newer people all the time, but it’s a lot scarier to fly with someone new than it is to base someone new – at least in my experience. When flying with a new base, you often have to break them of a couple of dangerous habits right off the bat – like how they want to maintain a soul crushing grip on your hands even when you’re falling. The times that I’ve been hurt the worst have been when newer bases held on when I fell. For the Love of Pete, if your flier is falling from a position that they might be able to catch themselves in – LET GO. Seriously, don’t be a hero, let me save myself. #HowIGotaJackedShoulderFromNinjaStar.

Despite the potential for injury (and really, maybe that’s just me being a klutz) I really enjoy teaching new people, and teaching new people means basing as well as flying on strangers – and that’s awesome. In working with people who are excited to try and just want to learn, it’s just as exciting to watch them realize how strong they really are and what they can really accomplish when they’re learning to base as it is when they’re learning to fly. More often than not, I hear a lot of doubt from new bases in how flexible they are in their legs, how they don’t think they can twist their ankle like that, or how their L sit looks a lot more like a lowercase L than an uppercase one. And that’s okay, too!

All in all, it was a good time. We flew some strangers, got them interested in coming to the studio to do some more acro, and got nice and sunburnt. Or, at least Scott did, because he was the only one of us who refused to wear sunscreen.


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