Episode 26: How Not To Paddleboard

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Ep. 51: DINGHY Awards™ Nominations Show
Jan 10th 2024
In this episode, I try to stay upright on a paddleboard and get some peace…but I run into a familiar obstacle. Editing and mixing by Maximiliano Frini.

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Show Notes


As I mentioned in the audio version of this episode, I created a survey to help my make the best audio podcast possibly for you… So if you listen to the audio podcast (whether this is the first time or the hundredth time), please take this opportunity to make your voice heard! HowNotToSail.com/survey Also, as promised, here’s a link the the Solstice Excursion 11 paddleboard. I’m sure there are others on Amazon and whatnot. This is the one The Admiral got me for my birthday. Solstice Excursion 11′ Paddleboard

Pics From This Episode

This sailboat has had better days.
The same sailboat up close.
The Grateful Dad.
Another view…
By the way… I noticed the m/v The Grateful Dad apparently didn’t always have a name on the transom…and it used to be heeling to port! In fact, it shows up in a photo taken the day before(?) I set off on the trip that would become Season One of the podcast. You can jump into the blog series from that trip right here. (At the bottom of each entry will be links to the previous and next entry for the trip and the creation of How Not To Sail!) Stranded boat on Clam Bayou

Have YOU had a similar experience paddleboarding? Or Dinghy-ing? Or maybe you have a paddleboarding tip or “How Not To” story? Let me know in the comments below?

THNTS026-It's Not A Pergola...

VO: Ahoy there. Bradford here. And you know, some episodes of How Not To Sail are different from the others. I think this may be one of those episodes. I hope you like it. And I hope you stick around for an important announcement at the end. What could possibly go wrong?

[00:00:21] Teaser

BR: There are worse things than having good balance, if you're going to be sailing. You get far fewer bruises that way.

VO: A new water toy. And a visit to Clam Bayou.

BR: This is not an optimal time to stand up. Whoa.

VO: Can I stay upright, or will I fall in and get some kind of red tide disease?

BR: Utility is better than pride.

VO: Can we really get away from it all?

And what's that in the water there?

BR: Maybe a poop.

[00:00:56] The Admiral Buys Me A Paddleboard

The Admiral: I thought you would struggle considerably. No offense. It just doesn't look easy.

VO: You remember The Admiral from Season One of the podcast?

The Admiral: Remind me why you're doing this again?

VO: She's good with questions like that. The Admiral is a very thoughtful person. She even bought me a paddleboard for my birthday.

The Admiral: I was there to buy a windlass and I finally realized that's way over my head. So instead of a windlass, you got a paddleboard. So you can paddleboard out to your anchor that you can't pull in with your windlass. Sorry about that.

VO: I've been carrying the thing around in the back of my SUV, but I hadn't taken it out of the box yet.

The Admiral: You brought the paddleboard to the beach for my Mom's birthday, but it didn't go so great because the weather turned to crap after you got there. Cause of course we only vacation during hurricane season.

VO: So no paddleboarding at the beach in late August. But soon it was time for me to quietly take to the ship again.

The Admiral: You had a bad attitude. So you needed to go to the boat. I don't even know why, but you needed to go. (SFX SUV start, etc...)


[00:02:12] Taking to The Ship

VO: Pablo Picasso said that without great solitude, no serious work is possible. And I find that not only applies to serious work, but even to this podcast. (SFX garage opening, etc.)

So off I went to the boat, to get the refrigerator replaced and to get some solitude. And also, I figured I could finally try out the paddleboard. (SFX )

VO: I'd been keeping the thing boxed up in case for some reason I needed to take it back to West Marine. But once I got it into the cockpit of the boat, an overnight rain literally put me past the point of no return.

BR: Well, I hope it works because the box is destroyed by the rain now.

VO: Fortunately, the paddleboard was pretty straightforward to inflate. And I even got a decent arm workout. Once I figured out how to adjust the paddle length and clamp it down, it was time to launch the paddleboard over the side rail.

BR: Time to lower the boat. The paddleboard in this case.

I'm putting the nose in first.

Dropping the back end.

VO: Sure, the smart thing to do would be just throw the thing in the SUV and drive around the corner to the kayak launch and wade out into the muck of Clam Bayou with it. But heck, I'm used to launching dinghies from the boat, right there in the marina.

What could possibly go wrong?

How Not To Sail, sponsored by our awesome Patreon patrons and Latitudes & Attitudes magazine. They ruined my life. So why not let 'em ruin yours today at Latsatts.com.

BR: I'm walking it around to the stern.

And putting the leash around the backstay. The board won't go anywhere.

VO: After getting this thing in the water, I took a couple of turns between the piers before heading out of the marina into Boca Ciega Bay toward Clam Bayou.

BR: Still kneeling down, coming out the entrance.

VO: And I quickly learned if you hear a boat, or have any reason to think even a tiny wave may be coming your way, it's time to kneel down on the board instead of standing up.

BR: Utility is better than pride.

VO: But ya just know I wasn't going to be happy with kneeling all day.

BR: I suppose I could try and get up.

Let's give it a shot. Could be good entertainment value.

[00:05:07] Bayou Point (Un-hydrating)

VO: The water in the marina entrance is about eight feet deep. But once you get to either side of the channel it gets plenty skinny.

BR: It looks like I'm only in a couple of feet of water. I may have to step out. Hello. I'm kneeling down, going to check the depth with the paddle. Oh yeah. Standing room.

VO: This is a good time to get into the water on purpose since i've been, uh, hydrating all morning

BR: Going to cool off and take a leak. That's very good.

VO: Don't judge. Fish do it, too.

BR: A lot of folks say saltwater is the source of life.

I'm not sure if this water here is healthy or unhealthy or ambivalent.


[00:05:58] Aboard Duende (Red Tide)

VO: As a matter of fact, the Tampa bay area has had a massive red tide outbreak all summer. Which may or may not have had something to do with the old Piney Point phosphate plant spilling a zillion gallons of phosphate into Tampa Bay. All I can say is that on my last visit, my buddy Peter and I had some unusual entertainment at night, tossing ice cubes into the marina water. You ever seen like a backwoods creek? That's like some kind of crazy god awful s--- brown? That's what we got. But I will say one thing. Along with that comes an amazing bioluminescence.


Peter: Wow.

[Splash & Fish Swirl]

Peter: Oh, yeah!

[Ice Cube Splashes, no fish]

Peter: But I mean, you can throw anything and everything into the water. And it will bioluminesce and saltwater, sea, uh, catfish, they will come seekin' that. And under the water, they will bio luminesce in a way that makes them appear like little torpedoes. Look, you can see around the boat!

Bradford: Wow. I thought they had like...

Peter: No, no, that's phosphorescence in the water.

Bradford: Holy s---.

Peter: No it's a, yeah, it's pretty... And that actually looks a little more kind of greenish blue, doesn't it? No, the one I'm talking about was, I mean, when I peed it was like white gold, like, like, you can draw, you know.

VO: Funny how things always seem to circle back to urination

I'm confident the water quality since then has improved enough for me to squat and pee in it, but I'd like to avoid falling in and getting my eyes, ears, nose, and mouth soaked.

And my ego of course

[00:07:50] Into The Mangroves

VO: There are a few boats going in and out of the marina. Which of course. I instantly hate.

BR: This is not an optimal time to stand up. Whoa,

VO: But as I round the point toward the mangrove bayou, humans become less frequent.


BR: Morning.

VO: Also, they're doing cooler things like kayaking and fishing, instead of roaring about and making waves.

Waves are not your friend on a paddleboard.

Kayak Lady: Be safe.

BR: Oh, you too.

(clip of lady...and/or fisherman? ) [paddling]

VO: Maybe I can actually get away from it all for a little bit.

[00:08:28] Not A Pergola...

((NOTE: VOs may have bg noise/music))

BR: This seems like a nice little nook back in here when the tide's not too low.

VO: Inside Clam Bayou the water is calm and the wind is blocked by the mangroves.

BR: This is shallow. I can see the sea grass.

Just below the surface.

VO: But of course I can still hear the sounds of humans. Maybe I need to go deeper into the bayou.

BR: I do not want to run aground while I'm standing up. I'm not that good to begin with.

VO: There are a lot of oyster beds in the area. And I do not want to go catapulting off of the paddleboard and land on one of them suddenly, even with my little rubber aqua shoes on.

BR: We're only about a foot deep, eight inches deep over here.

VO: Further into the bayou, it's quieter, although I still hear the occasional airplane. And my ears pick up the traffic noise from I-275, several miles away.

BR: I'm right near that little, what do you call that? Veranda? Oh, what is that?

VO: I'm right near this thing that I pass regularly, when I walk around the nature trail. It's an open structure with a pointed roof.

I should mention the last couple of years, my brain doesn't seem to work quite as well as it used to. Couple of concussions and years as a touring musician and well...

BR: I notice I can only come up with short choppy...statements like just there without having to... shuffle.

VO: I'm pretty decent with improvising music, but I avoid improv speaking. I script everything.

It could be some kind of personality tick. I am kind of shy. And I've always been terrible with names and faces. But lately i'm finding that I come up with an image or a face in my mind and I can't think of the name or the word.

BR: Pavilion. Portico.

What the f--- do you call those things?

Anyway, I'm near that.

VO: But irregardless, as my friend Bill would say, i'm going to go further into the mangrove bayou and see how much quiet I can get

BR: Just now occurred to me. I could do a story where I'm paddleboarding, and at the end, I just say, Hey, were you expecting a story arc or something? Put a little music in there.

That's not what I want to do.


VO: Deeper into the bayou there are still signs of humankind.

BR: There's something floating in the water.

It looks like a sack.

I shouldn't pass that up. Could be a bag full of gold. Or cocaine.

VO: Please be advised, dear listener, that at least one of those I would immediately report to the authorities.

BR: Once again, almost fell over, turning around.

Kneeling down. Oh, what is this thing?

BR: A plastic bag.

Dark plastic bag,

A plastic bag covered in dirt.

VO: Well, I've done my good deed for the day. But i still can't remember the name of that structure on the hill.

BR: What the hell do you call? Bands play on them.

VO: I'm sure. It'll come to me. Maybe

BR: My brain is no bueno.

Portico. Bandstand...

Pontiac... Pergola.

I'm on the right track, there. But it's not a pergola.

[00:12:57] Pavilion, Part Two

VO: Meanwhile, there's something else in the water. Is this bag number two or maybe a big chunk of rock or coral or something else?

BR: It's a white bag with a yellow happy face saying thank you.

I think I know the store that it came from.

That would be the convenience store at 5150 Gulfport Boulevard.

I remembered that, but I can't remember what the f--- you call the little structure where bands play and people go to sit, that's covered.

Not a pavilion.


Okay, I'm just going to put that aside for now. Because just outside the bayou, there are a couple of interesting shipwrecks. Or maybe you'd call them boat wrecks.

[00:13:54] Wrecks

(clip re Grateful Dad)

BR: Starting to come out of the mangroves. I see the clam beds where motor vessel Grateful Dad is hard aground for the last four years.

VO: Out here in the bay, there's a large motor vessel, the Grateful Dad.

I think it may have gone aground during hurricane Irma or thereabouts.

VO: It's listing heavily to starboard and at low tide, almost none of the boat is in the water. I paddle around it to have a look. A notice of abandoned property is starting to wear off of the cabin window. I can see that the cabin has been ransacked,

but there's an overstuffed, leather love seat and chair.

It looks like the Grateful Dad may have been more of a crash pad than an operating motor vessel in her final days.

But she is not the only casualty out here.

VO: A hundred yards further out in the bay, a sailboat has gone aground more recently.

VO: Its deck is now level with the water

I decide to paddle out towards it and have a look.

I'm watching for anything larger than a tiny wave that could possibly upset the paddleboard.

After seeing fish glowing neon blue in the water just a couple of weeks ago, I'm trying not to fall in.

But as I get closer to the sailboat, some waves start to come across the bay. They're small, but big enough.

I start to rock back and forth. I overcompensate. And...

BR: Well, we know the life vest works.

Hopefully the red tide's not real bad here. Just damn.

VO: Yeah. So I went in the water. At least I haven't grown two heads yet or anything.

With my tail between my legs and frequently kneeling, I paddled back into the marina and climbed back aboard Jacie Sails.

[00:16:38] Back Aboard Jacie Sails

BR: Paddle complete. Sweating profusely.

BR: Get my life preserver off here. I need to rinse it.

Whistle off.

VO: But one thing in particular continues to bother me.

BR: Pavilion. Portico.

Oh, I almost had it. Not kiosk.

Pavilion. Hacienda. Portico.

BR: Gazebo! Gazebo.

VO: THAT took long enough.

[00:17:20] Special Announcement: Take the Survey!

VO: Before I give the usual shout out to our awesome Patreon crew, including Carson this week, and Latitudes & Attitudes magazine, I have a super important announcement.

Maybe we should kill the music there.

I've been making the How Not To Sail podcast for a couple of years now. And I am so grateful that you're listening. Now I want to listen to you. I want to make this podcast the best it can be for you, so I need your help with that. I've made a little survey at HowNotToSail.com/survey that'll help me continue to improve How Not To Sail.

And I hope you might run over to HowNotToSail.com/survey right after this episode or soon.

And help me better serve you.

Even if this is your very first time listening, you can help me with things like, how did you find this podcast?

And of course my long time, #HowNotToSailer homeys can tell me why you keep coming back aboard to join me on the poop deck. That didn't sound good.

So whether you're a long time, #HowNotToSailer or a first time listener, please head on over to HowNotToSail.com/survey and help show me how to make How Not To Sail the best thing since autohelm.

That's HowNotToSail.com/survey. And I'll put a little thing on the homepage too, that you can't miss.

But for now, cue that music again.

[00:18:42] Thank Yous

VO: Super big thanks to our awesome Patreon crew, with a special shout out to our newest Able Seaman Carson Haacke. I really appreciate you. You can become one of the crew at HowNotToSail.com/Patreon.

And thanks to Latitudes & Attitudes magazine. They ruined my life. So why not let them ruin yours today at LatsAtts.com.

I really appreciate the kind review from curtwpk on Apple Podcasts.

And I wouldn't be mad a bit if you want to leave a nice review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Special, thanks to Maxi Frini for mixing this episode and for his patience. You can find him at maxifrini.com. And I usually have a link in the show notes, if I don't have a senior moment.

[00:19:31] CTAs

VO: Speaking of which, don't forget to check out the show notes for this episode at HowNotToSail.com/26 where you'll find bonus photos of the two wrecks I paddled around, a link to the Solstice Excursion 11 paddleboard in case you feel like you need one, a transcript of this episode and so much more.

In fact, HowNotToSail.com is your home for all things How Not To Sail: the podcast, book, YouTube channel and guest posts, including our friend Captain Boomies and other deviants—er, #HowNotToSailers.

And you'll find a link to that survey in case you forgot HowNotToSail.com/survey.

But for now, keep that soda pop frosty. And I'll see you next time on

[00:20:16] End Tag

How Not To Sail, screwing up as part of Cruising. Let me show you how.

[00:20:21] Ending Sound Bite

BR: Pavilion. Hacienda. Portico.

Gazebo! Gazebo.

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Bradford Rogers
Producer. Performer. Sailor. Multimedia Ninja. Author of How Not To Sail, host of the How Not To Sail podcast and YouTube channel.


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