It's fun. You should try it.

With those words ringing in my ears, I decided to take my friend, Amanda Wiley's advice to try Stand-Up Paddleboarding.

I use friend loosely here, because, well, you'll see later.

So, on a recent Wednesday morning, I got up at the crack of dawn to drive around the lake to a cove near the Cherokee Yacht Club for my first - and so far - only class.

I've been watching Amanda post pictures from her early morning jaunts in the classes hosted by Amy Turner. It looks easy - stand up on a board, similar to a surfboard - and paddle.

I've enjoyed kayaking with the Lawman, so I thought, why not. Amanda described the sport as a "full body" workout, but fun. 

So I did it.

Let's just say, Amy - who's been paddleboarding for six years, and teaching for the past few months - can no longer say she can get anyone up on a board in the first lesson.

It wasn't pretty. I tried to stand up three times - and three times, I fell into the wet arms of Grand Lake.

Two of the times, I was near the dock, so I could hoist myself out of the water, and try again.

The third, well, I was in the middle of the cove - nothing substantial to stand on to make it back on the board.

Poor Amy, she had to come over, brace my board as I used it to climb - not so gracefully I might add - back to the surface.

I said a few choice words, along with a few death threats toward Amanda, under my breath. Don't worry, I still like her.

But from that point on, I gave up. I simply sat on the board "criss cross applesauce" style and watched. I even used Amy's phone to take a few pictures.

I didn't want to take away from the class the other participants had signed up for, and monopolize Amy's time in the futile effort to stand up.

Instead I watched, in amazement, at how easy the women - some who were on their first few lessons - made it look. 

It's an interesting sport. It uses your balance (so your core gets a workout) along with upper body strength from paddling. 

It's a sport gaining popularity around the Grand Lake region. Last weekend, one of my photographers caught a paddleboarder among the crowd watching the GLOC shootout. People are paddleboarding throughout the region.

Amy's journey in the sport began six years ago, when she took part in a girls weekend in California. 

After seeing Patricia Heaton (of Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle) talk about the sport, Amy contacted Tyler Lennon, Heaton's instructor, for more information.

Lennon became Amy's mentor, helping her learn the sport and eventually training her to become an instructor.

This summer, Amy stepped out in faith, sold her insurance agency in Vinita, and decided to be a full-time paddleboard instructor. 

She's also focusing her time on training for long-distance paddleboard races. 

"I get to connect with nature and get another perspective of Grand Lake, than just being on a boat," Amy said, her face lighting up as she talked about her decision. "Life slows down and you get to interact with birds and fish.

"I can be on the water for three hours, during a weekday, and I may never see anybody. It's a great way to rejuvenate."

Amy said balance - which I need to work on - is the key. Once a person learns to stand on the board, they can try other things, such as yoga. 

Amy is currently training for a 31 mile ChattaJack race, set for later this year in the Tennessee River Gorge. A runner, Amy compares this race to a 50K race.

"If I can run 50K, surely I can paddle 50K," she said with a smile.

Amy teaches classes at 6:30 a.m., and 8:30 a.m., on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as 9:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. She also teaches courses by appointment, for individuals and groups. A single class can cost $30, and a one-month membership, for unlimited classes $100. A private lesson is $50.

"I love sharing this with others," Amy said. "Anybody can do it. I'm absolutely in love with it. It's a great way to connect with nature and your inner soul. It's very tranquil out there.

"It's kind of like golf, it's something you can do forever. It's really easy on the joints."

Want to try it yourself? Visit, or call 918-786-0345 for details. 

Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller is the managing editor of The Grove Sun and Delaware County Journal. Have an idea for a column or story? She can be reached at or 918-786-2228.