Fitness on the water
It is not hard to find a birthday gift for people who are fitness fanatics and so for my recent significant birthday, my family decided to surprise me with not one standup paddleboard, but two. The idea being that I would go out on the stand-up paddleboard (SUP) with someone else, to make it more fun. The fact that my eldest son and his lovely wife were the first to try out the boards, led me to think the birthday present was more of a family fitness item for my ever-growing family to use when they visit our Waiheke Island beach house.
I am not the greatest stand-up paddle boarder, but I am definitely a “give it a go” person. And so the birthday gift was perfect to add variety to my weekend warrior workouts.
My very first experience on a SUP was on a beach in Fiji a few years ago. The beach operator was offering SUP boards for hire, but was not offering any lessons. The waves were coming in and I was finding it difficult. People frolicking in the water were, however, letting me know what I should be doing.
The following summer in Queensland, I decided to take a lesson on the Noosa River. The river is definitely a better place to learn SUP, than on a surf beach with destabilizing waves coming in. A very patient instructor demonstrated everything I needed to know, including what to do when a speedboat whizzes past and nearly knocks you over. I think what I learnt the most was to just relax and take it easy – and not to tense up. The instructor couldn’t have been more relaxed, as in addition to giving me lessons on the board she was merrily gliding along and talking on her cellphone at the same time.
For those who have never been on a SUP board, I strongly recommend having a oneon-one lesson. It can make the difference between being terrified and being relaxed.
I can also vouch for it being good for your abs and for your total fitness. After half-an-hour on the SUP board you definitely notice you have been working out.
And if you want to ramp up your fitness you can always try SUP Yoga. I have had one session at this and found the downward facing dog and upward facing dog poses to be easy. Others, like the tree pose on one foot – more challenging! Nevertheless I am up for another session. Every now and then I see a keen instructor offering a class on the beach in front of our beach house.
So next time I see the class, I am going to be out like a shot!
Lorraine Thomson Publisher / Editor