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Serenity: it is more than a state of mind… it is a state of being, a state of Nature also. It is restful, it is calm and peaceful; it is a state of being one with the world you then are in: Nature and the people and creatures you are sharing it with.

In early June Kristi and I with our Westie, Nory, kayaked into the Saginaw Bay from Hampton Township’s Finn Rd. boat launch. We went after work and floated until sunset and became a part of the marsh life east of the park for a few hours. On calm waters we moved in and out of the channels and open pockets in the reeds. We were explorers.

We discovered the diversity of bird life in the marsh… Visually and through the constant days-end chatter as the population seemingly talked about their day’s activities.

Yes, at first we did disturb the serenity. We flushed many ducks (mostly mallard males with bright green heads), a few egrets and herons. The Great Blue Herons never seemed to go far… they would wing around behind us and light from where we had come from. Mallard Hens would simply cautiously retreat into the reeds with their chicks. Songbirds of many kinds announced our arrival and progress. Gulls and terns continued to fish.

Then after making our turn to head back, we came to a cove of open water in the marsh and pulled up to watch the sun drop through a few layers of clouds toward the horizon… bringing color to the sky. We stopped exploring and simply watched and listened… for a while.

What we had done was to reverse the flow, now in our state of rest and calmness. Nature came to us. And we became a part of it. As we sat, a muskrat approached through the calm open water leaving a “V” shaped wake behind. He (or she) passed within ten feet of our boats before Nory moved and he went under the surface.

Not long after, a larger bird came out of the reeds onto a raft of floating driftwood and dead reeds that the Bay’s wave action had pushed into the inner edge of this cove. I told Kristi it was a “water chicken”… part duck and part chicken. He used his red beak to pick and peck bugs from the raft as his big yellow feet and yellow legs slowly carried him back and forth along the floating “shore.” All of this activity occurred within 20 feet of our boats which we had stilled next to a mostly submerged tree stump. This was a Moorhen, a member of the coot family.

As the sun continued to drop, more and more color came into the sky. The air was also filled with a heightened level of bird chatter. It was as if every bird was now bidding his friends goodnight and letting them know he was safe in his roost.

There we floated, between the windmills to the east, the power plant to the west, completely a part of the serenity of the evening marshland. It was a blessing to be an accepted part of it.

Rick Learman

Float Paddle Center

Our Mission: Float… Paddle… Center.

Our mission with this business is to provide our community with a place and activities where people can experience each of the things mentioned in our business name (each is a verb).

Floating ―   not being weighed down, free to take in our surroundings … nature and manmade … from a distance.

Paddling ― a self-reliant and quiet way to move to places to gain new perspectives.

Centering ― finding balance, peace, and connection to our very essence.

Float. Paddle. Center.   We can help anyone experience this here on the Saginaw River and Bay in one of our kayaks or on one of our SUPs.  We believe offering this watersport opportunity enhances the quality of life and attractiveness of our community.  The Saginaw Bay Watershed offers a rich and diverse environment in which to Float, Paddle and Center.

For example: you can

―     enjoy the majesty of tall ships from the water

―     observe the fishing and flight of snow white Great Egrets, Common Terns and Bald Eagles

―     discover families of muskrats, mink, ducks and geese

―     listen to concerts in the parks

―     watch the sunset across the Bay from the east side marsh

―     and share these recreational activities with family and friends

Join us, and Go with the Float.


Kristi L. Kozubal + Richard B. Learman, Members

Top 20 Paddle Boarding Tricks

Stand-up paddling, or SUP, is the fastest growing water-sport in the world. It’s fun, easy enough for beginners and challenging enough for intermediate and advanced surfers. It provides a great entire body workout and it can be done pretty much anywhere from lakes to oceans.

Stand-up paddling was made popular in the modern world by surf legend Laird Hamilton in 2004, but the sport has deep roots that date back to the thousand-year old Hawaiian culture. If SUP is something you want to try, check out our awesome tips and tricks for SUP beginners!

1. Get the right board. For SUP beginners, your best choice of board should be as wide, thick and long as you can possibly find. It will help keep you steady and balanced. If you can’t seem to find your balance on the board, maybe you need to go larger and thicker!

2. Get the right paddle. The rule of thumb is that the paddle needs to be around 10 inches (25 cm) longer than you, for good grip and traction.

3. Get the right leash. Again, a good rule of thumb is that the leash needs to be either as long as or a bit shorter than your board. Remember to always use your leash, even if you’re an advanced SUP-er!

4. Start in calm waters. It may seem like a no-brainer bit of advice, but it needs to be said. Start in calm waters, take it slow and only start paddling once you’ve managed to find a good balance.

Stand Up Paddling Camps for Beginners

5. Don’t be afraid. You will fall, so you need to make peace with this piece of information. Don’t let that scare you! In the words of the immortal Batman’s Alfred Pennyworth: “Why do we fall sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

6. Learn to take a fall. Your instructor will most likely teach you how to take a fall, but if they don’t, go ahead and ask them to show you. The falling part is one of the most important parts of learning any type of watersport! Learning how to fall will help you avoid getting injured.


7. Don’t look at your feet. Have you ever taken dance lessons? It’s the same thing, you must not stare at your feet and look straight ahead in front of you. Looking at your feet can cause you to lose your balance or even crash into someone else.

8. Tackle the waves you know you can tackle. As a beginner, you may be eager to start riding the waves, but you may not be ready for that. Listen to your instructor and take it slowly!

9. Wear a vest. If you’re an excellent swimmer, you can skip the vest, but otherwise, it’s recommended that you wear a vest.

10. Learn how to stand, then how to paddle forward and how to change direction. It may take you a few days, but once you got these mastered, you can start truly enjoying SUP.

11. On your knees! That’s the position in which you start paddling. Once you’re comfortable there, you can…

12. … start to get up, with one foot at a time. Make sure you are in the middle of the board.

13. Keep a less than firm grip on the paddle. A very firm grip will tire your arms and it doesn’t really help with paddling.

14. Sink the paddle in the water as deep as you can to garner traction and lean onto it!


15. Keep your grip on the paddle shoulder-width apart. Try to avoid short grips, because they have no force in propelling you forward.

16. Your feet on the board should not be in a surfing stance! They’re supposed to be parallel and shoulder width apart.

17. To turn right, put the paddle in the water on the left side and turn your upper body to the right.

18. Take a tiny break after each stroke. It’s not for relaxing, but for getting a feel of the board and your direction.

19. Once you’re comfortable on your board, try new things, such as SUP yoga! It’s a fantastic workout and it’s fun! Or maybe even try crossing the Atlantic on your SUP board!

20. Have fun! Learning new things can get frustrating, at times, but SUP should never be cause for frustration!