LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- Jacqueline Rayner raised her arms in triumph while riding a stand up paddle board in the calm beach waters at Larchmont Shore Club, where East Coast Surf and Skate held free demonstrations Sunday.
"We live on the Sound, this great water community, and we should be doing things like this," said Rayner, a Larchmont resident. "So many people live here and don't take advantage of this great resource."
Like most of the 30 participants who signed up for the demonstrations between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m., Rayner had never ridden a stand up paddle board before, but said she was glad she did after making the short circle to Dog Beach and back.
"It's great, but you really have to respect the water," said Ellen Zuckert, a Larchmont resident who participated in the Swim Across America last Saturday that raised $1 million for various charities . "When you live so close to the water, it's nice to enjoy it."
Bill Homer, owner of East Coast Surf and Skate, helped residents get their sea legs under them before paddling out, while Ed Gerbino, of Global Surf Industries, provided real-time support and tips out on the water.
"It's the fastest growing board sport, so we just wanted to give people the opportunity to try it out and ride," said Homer, who had everyone sign a release before going out on the water.
Global Surf Industries, based in Australia, provides East Coast Surf and Skate with several of the brands they carry. Gerbino, whose office is located in Long Island, walked the group through the basics of paddle boarding, as well as safety tips on the beach, before letting them loose in the water.
Several participants had to use Gerbino's advice to "spread yourself out" when you lose balance and fall. Gerbino told the group to exaggerate their fall by going back-first into the water in order to avoid hitting the board. "Your board is just like one of these docks, if you hit it, it's not going anywhere," Gerbino said.
"You have to really use your legs a lot," said Susan Matelich, whose son George, 15, enjoyed paddle boarding so much he went around twice. "It takes a lot of core stability."
Matelich's daughter Grace, 20, also tried her hand at the water sport. "I loved it, it's great," said the Larchmont resident, who had a close encounter with a sail boat.
Gerbino told Grace and the entire group that if they come too close to another board or a boat to get down on their knees, which is the safety position.
Some caught on quicker than others, but everyone enjoyed the free demonstration.
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