Treena Mielke

Mielke: Adventure with a paddleboard

I got a new paddleboard the other day.

The paddleboard was ordered on a frigid day in winter when we were all sitting around my kitchen table talking about summer and all the fun things that went with it.

“You should get a paddleboard,” my friend and neighbour told me. “It is so much fun and we go out all the time. It’s beautiful out there on the lake.”

I immediately envisioned them (that would be all the other people in my life) out on the lake in the middle of summer having so much fun on their paddleboards, being one with nature, laughing and talking. And then there was me, stretched out on the couch in a semi-conscious state, stealing cheezies from my husband’s stash, watching reruns of Downton Abbey or something even less stimulating.

“I don’t have one,” I moaned, looking at everyone with lowered eyes and a sad face, portraying what I hoped was a victim mentality.

And so, it came to be that my husband decided he would order me the perfect gift.

A paddleboard. And it was not to be just any paddleboard. This paddleboard was to be a top-of-the-line, high-quality paddleboard that would fold up easily and double as a kayak.

It was to be the best.

I do believe he ordered the paddleboard in February which, coincidentally, is the month that I was born.

It was to arrive in April as a late birthday present and an early Mother’s Day present.

However, it turned out it did not arrive in April. In fact, we heard nothing from the paddleboard people about this amazing board that would be easy to put together and double as a kayak.

Finally, my husband wrote them a rather pointed email explaining their shortcomings as a company. They wrote back and said we would, in fact,t get the paddleboard, but not until August which, unfortunately, is getting close to the end of paddleboard season (not that there is such a season).

Anyway, as it turns out they decided they could send a paddleboard earlier, but it would be a bubble-gum pink colour and not the sedate blue which would have been color coordinated with the sky and the lake and, perhaps my blue bathing suit which I had yet to purchase.

“It’s okay,” I said. “I can do pink.”

And sure enough, a couple of weeks ago, the paddleboard arrived.

And it did go together, as promised in a kind of origami fashion. Unfortunately, it did not go together easily and both my husband and I read and re-read the directions, in fact, memorized them, but we could not get the darn thing to fold up like it was supposed to.

Until we did.


I went out on my beautiful paddleboard/kayak on Fish Lake last week.

It was, as promised, awesome.

Three of my grandsons watched from the shore.

“Stand up, grandma,” they yelled.

I smiled and waved my paddle at them which, alarmingly, caused my paddleboard/kayak to turn in a different direction to where I was headed.

I was so pleased to get my sizeable derriere planted firmly on the little seat on the paddleboard/kayak and use the paddle to push myself a safe distance from the shore, standing up seemed like a daunting option I was not quite ready for.

“Next time,” I shouted back. “Next time I will stand up.”

“Or not,” I added, quietly.

Treena Mielke is a Central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.