Day 6: SUP lessons!

IMG_8992It’s kinda something that seemingly needs to be done if you’re in Australia: stand up paddle board lessons! We saved this for our chillaxed last day on holiday, coupling it with a barbecue lunch to use up the last of our food.

We had picked up a leaflet at the hotel and went down to the beach the guy said he used to find out about booking. He had no lessons booked for mid Monday so agreed to give us a private 2:1 lesson for 90 mins, pretty cool.

We rocked up the next morning bright and breezy, waiting for him to come as we watched a couple paddle boarding up and down with their young son (who was also on his own paddle board!). We were marvelling at how effortless they were making it look, thinking surely it can’t be that easy!?

Regan arrived, cheerful and smiley, his summary of the hour and a half was a couple of minutes on the knees, then we’ll have you standing up: it’s a bit windy but we’ll be ok, we’ll head around the corner into the canals for a bit , then come back.

Wow!! Really?!? I was prepared for the worst, didn’t take glasses or a hat, and wore a trisuit!

After some local knowledge on the tides, currents and winds, the fact that a jellyfish or a stingray is normal but don’t worry (!) that was it, we were off.

now we had been told how to hold the blade, how to switch sides, and where to put our feet on the board, that was that, time for some water. It was knees first, but I had to put an end to that quite sharp, I can’t sit on my feet long without pain. Up to kneeling was a little wobbly at first, then he decided we were proficient enough to try a deep water stand up. He demoed it a couple of times then I knelt there for a while wondering if it was possible. Ah to heck with it, there’s only one way to find out. Mark was already on his feet but had a serious case of disco knees. Concentrate Mel.

I got to standing and in fact felt quite relaxed quite quickly, not too much knee shake at all really. I had a word with my extremities then I was off and felt ok. We stopped at a beach for a walk around, see if Mark could lose his disco knees, then we had to attempt a straight step on.

I didn’t think too much about it, I just did it. Just as I managed it, I saw Mark sleep off the back of his and end up sat in the shallows.

We headed off round the canals a bit further, under a bridge and round to the next beach. I think this was the point at which, had we been performing like bimbos, Regan would have taken us back, but we must have been doing ok, because our extension trip took us to a 2 hour total lesson. My feet were aching, having to work hard to keep me balanced (I have very flat feet and a missing ligament in one foot) so I was thankful of the short shore breaks.

Off we went through the bridge and this stretch of water was flat and sheltered from the wind. We were told to lead for a left beach. Mark was slightly in front of me, and took a left, right in front of me. I didn’t have the avoidance skills at this stage, didn’t know what to do to try and avoid the collision. While my mind processed the options the decision was made for me: all of a sudden I was swimming. ‘Oops was that my fault?’ Says Mark!

Thankfully the previous stop had included how to get back onto the board if you fall off!

We stopped on the aforementioned beach where I rinsed my canal water mouth with some water from a drinking fountain and had a laugh about it. Regan said usually women scream before they fall in, but I hadn’t! Ah, water doesn’t bother me, and to be honest I expected to be in, but not quite like that!

Our return trip was into the wind, a bit tougher at times and included pauses for photos (!). By this point Mark well and truly had the hang of it so I let him do the manoeuvring to get the ‘group shot’!

An utterly awesome couple of hours and I seriously didn’t expect to be standing on that board so soon into the lesson.

We made a barbecue lunch afterwards, using the (free) public barbecues. This area was jam packed yesterday, yet all the barbecues had been cleaned and left spotless.

The afternoon was equally chillaxed, consisting of coffee, shopping (I miss shops!) and our last dinner out in Surfers.

IMG_8983I do have to mention an utterly awesome fitness equipment shop I went in, I can’t believe how big and comprehensively stocked it was. Including SportTape (UK company) and Powerbreathe (also UK company) and some fabulous gargoyle faced kettle bells! I wish I could have bought those!

A thoroughly wonderful last day of our holiday.