Sometimes the very things that keep us constantly connected can actually make us feel disconnected from ourselves and from our surroundings. Standup paddleboarding (SUP) is a great way to unplug from technology to plug back in to what really matters. It’s so easy to get lost in our screen time and miss out on the good times that are happening right before our eyes. We spend so much time recharging our phones and not enough time recharging ourselves.

After all, they say “you can’t take it with you.” In this case, “they” are talking about your phone when you are paddleboarding. Water has great restorative properties – unless you’re a smartphone, in which case water’s properties are more “transformative.” It basically turns your phone into a brick. While we always hope that recreation time will be transformative, usually we hope for transformation of a different type.

For this reason, time out on the water is a mandatory, temporary separation from your smartphone (unless you have a pretty fancy case, but really, why risk it?) Even if you could take it with you, you would hardly have the time to be playing with your phone. Your hands will be full of paddle, your eyes will be full of nature and your heart will be full of peace. Your life will be full of a new experience, the experience of being “mind-full” out on the lake.

A temporary separation isn’t a bad thing. When you constantly use your phone for life and work, it can begin to feel like a leash. It’s something that drags you along through your day. Why not trade your electronic leash for a SUP leash? When you are paddleboarding on rough waters, the leash is there for safety. It’s keeps you tethered to your board, and unlike your electronic leash, it doesn’t drag you down. A SUP leash connects you to something that will sustain you, instead of drain you.

Through the magic of technology, you can connect to people all around the world. Exploring nature on your paddleboard, you have the privilege of connecting with people right beside you.  Your eyes, free of distraction, can connect with their eyes. Without the beep of notifications, you can hear their voices clearly.

SUP doesn’t just give you the opportunity to connect with others, it allows you to connect to yourself. We spend so much of our time reacting to prompts outside of ourselves that we can scarcely hear the voices of our own hearts. Unplugging from technology and spending time on the paddleboard lets you hear yourself and take stock. You don’t need lists and reminders to track the desires of your soul, but if you disconnect from the noise long enough, you can let them speak to you.

The idea of disconnection is scary – but ultimately, trying SUP is making a decision about what you want to be connected to. SUP is about connecting to nature, to others, to self and to new experiences. It’s about looking within instead of always looking outside. It’s saying goodbye to your smartphone (for a while) and saying hello to a new perspective. So stop charging your phone for a while, and start charging yourself.