Surprise Proposal in the Middle of Stand-Up Paddleboarding
How We Met: John and I have known each other since high school, but it was a long winding journey for us to come together. Four years ago, my grandfather passed away, but I like to think he is the one who brought us together. My grandmother and I are incredibly close so I was flying home to Milwaukee from NYC quite often to help her through this sad time. I had taken a week off for what would have been my grandparents 70th wedding anniversary and planned to take a dance class while in Milwaukee. As fate would have it, my mom left a car for me to drive, but accidentally took the car keys with her when she drove off leaving me stuck at grandmas. Being stranded, I called the only person I thought might come get me, John! Instead of going to a dance class that night, John and I went on our “first date” for a bite to eat and to see the movie Bridesmaids. I remember laughing so hard, touching his arm, and feeling an electric current go through my body that evening. I thought this was all a bit odd since John was just my friend, “or was he”, I remembered thinking to myself! John, not one to wear fancy clothes, also showed up in a dress-shirt and tried to pay for the movie, which triggered me to think our relationship could possibly be moving beyond a friendship. Needless to say, we got together every day that week in Milwaukee and serendipitously both happened to be going to California the following weekend for the 4th of July. I was going to visit friends and John had a few free days before leading an adventure travel trip with Au Pair Adventures. During our brief time together we spent a few inseparable days camping and stand up paddle boarding along the Russian River. After that trip it was clear our connection went beyond a friendship and we ended up dating long-distance for two years before John decided to join me and move from Wisconsin to NYC!
How He Asked: We traveled home to Wisconsin from NYC for a visit and went stand-up paddle boarding with a group of friends at one of our favorite spots in Door County. Two of John close friends, Jeanette and David, provided a cabin for us to stay at throughout the weekend and helped organize a stand up paddle boarding excursion.
Dave was talking about “needing photos” for his kayak-rental company, Door County Kayak Tours, all weekend, and decided to join us on a paddle. Dave followed our group down the shoreline as we all posed for photos and I thought nothing of it!
After an hour of paddling, we arrived at a beautiful cove. John paddle to shore, left his board on the rocks and called me over. Shortly after I pulled up to the rocks, John hopped on my board and began paddling us out away from shore with his hands.
The wind picked up and the swell size increased causing us to wobble all over the place. The water was ice cold so naturally I told John to get off immediately. The poor guy had to swim back to shore, through the freezing water, to get his board. While on shore, which I later learned, is where Dave whispered: “She’s an independent woman – let her have her own board” to John. Next thing I know, John’s back on his own board at my side asking me to put down my paddle and take his hand to help him balance. John held my hands and pulled his board closer to mine. He reminded me what an amazing four years we’ve spent together, how I bring out the best in him, and how much I inspire him.
John then dropped down onto one knee on his board and asked me right there, in the middle of Lake Michigan, to spend the rest of our lives together. My smile stretched from ear to ear then I started shaking so I did the only thing I could think of – dropped into the splits in front of a group of kayakers and shouted “I’m getting married!”
Photos by David Rack, owner of Door County Kayak Tours