Sunday, July 21, 2013

That Day I Went Standup Paddleboarding

So yeah - yesterday was a pretty eventful day for the ol' 36 Resolutions list...not only did I run my first continuous 10K race (and much faster than I thought I would) AND go on a date with my hubby...I also took the Standup Paddleboarding (SUP) course I've been dreaming about for at least the last year!

Back when I posted my resolution list, my friend Amy immediately chimed in that she would love to take it with me so we took a bit of time to figure out a date that would work and then we booked in with a company out of Chestermere.  Apparently that company didn't really want us to take the course with them because it might interfere with their life so we had to track down a different company - and I am so glad we did.

I met Amy out at Wedge Pond where we would be learning how to SUP from Aquabatics Calgary.

Originally, the location was to be Allen Bill Pond by Bragg Creek, but the great flood of 2013 had washed out the access bridge and the course was moved to this pond.  It was quite a bit farther out than we had wanted, but it was incredibly beautiful and the perfect location for this.  Best of all, the course was at 4pm so the water had had a chance to absorb some of the 28*C day and not be quite so "mountain frigid"
Photo credit: Cam Wood
Hubby even tagged along with his big fancy camera to take pictures of us falling off our boards. He took all of the good ones in this post ;)

The course began exactly as you'd think it would - anatomy of a board and paddle, fitting of PFDs and adjusting paddles.  

I loved how they had the boards set up to teach us how to climb on and stand up...they had a couple of SUP boards balanced on BOSU balls to mimic the instability of the water, though they were quick to tell us that the boards would be much more stable once they are on the water.


Photo credit: Cam Wood
And then it was into the water.  We each picked a board and paddle and slowly navigated down the steep bank to the pond,  instead of at the boat launch, like one might expect...

The boards were much lighter than I expected.  I went with a very beginner friendly board and while it still had a fair heft to it, it was still manageable.   The water at that edge of the pond was already quite deep and very muddy but we were soon on our boards and paddling on our knees away from shore.

It was already amazing and I wasn't even standing yet.   Soon, I was moving to my feet and waiting for gravity to pull me into the water below...but it wasn't happening.  I was still feeling stable.  And as I started to follow the group across the water - having not even learned how to properly stroke yet - I felt so peaceful there in that little mountain pond.  SUP was like the most natural thing in the world for me! Love at first stroke, as it were...

Photo credit: Cam Wood
Photo credit: Cam Wood
Looking over at Amy, I could tell she was feeling the exact same way!   We both had giant grins on our face that I'm pretty sure only left when we actually ended up in the water (which happened a couple of times later on).

Once we were at the other end of the pond, the two instructors (Simon and Ian) gathered us together to make a raft of our boats.  There were 9 of us in the group so it was a pretty big raft.  Ian demonstrated what to do if we fell off our boards and how to get back on again.  And then that they started to teach us the proper way to do a forward stroke.
Photo credit: Cam Wood

Photo credit: Cam Wood
Then we were off and paddling around the pond.  Both of our instructors were awesome.  They were quick to correct and encourage us.  Once we had "mastered" forward stroke, they brought us together again and taught us how to do a sweep turn and then sent us out to practice again.
Photo credit: Cam Wood

Photo credit: Cam Wood

Photo credit: Cam Wood
The next time we huddled, it was for a surprise - we were going to have a relay race!   Ian paddled to the other side of the pond and Simon stayed with us to even up the numbers on the teams.  My team was the lucky one who got the instructor!  We dubbed ourselves "Team Awesome" and the race was on.   Amy went first for our team and looked like a champ paddling across the pond...only to take quite the dive off her board at the turn around.  First student to hit the water that day.  It took her a while to get back on, since she had landed face first - EEP!   But soon, she was back on her board and paddling back to the team.

Photo credit: Cam Wood
Then it was my turn and I did my best to make up for some of the lost time.   Simon told us to belt out a song at the turn around so I did my best Queen impression with "We Are the Champions" and then came back.  Surprisingly, we weren't far behind the other team.  The other two students on our team went and then Simon, on his knees (as a "handicap" for our team for getting the pro) took off to bring it home.   We had to make a teepee out of our paddles so as soon as Simon was back with his paddle up - well, I think we learned it was a tie but I plan to say Team Awesome was the winner of the day!

For the two and a half hours of the course, we learned several strokes, most of us ended up in the water at some point and we got a whole lot of time to paddle around and be really comfortable on our boards with feedback from our instructors.  We even had a little race across the pond as a group.  I liked that they encouraged us to test our limits that way.
Photo credit: Cam Wood
Photo credit: Cam Wood
Photo credit: Cam Wood 
Photo credit: Cam Wood
Photo credit: Cam Wood
I loved it.  SO MUCH!  I don't know how much I will be able to actually do it, but I am so glad I took the plunge outside of my comfort zone and tried.  I may even try to take the advanced course as well! I hope this will become something I can do every summer!  and it has me looking at moving to a lake community in a different way now.  Also - I am not sure why anyone would ever want to ruin standup paddleboarding by doing yoga on it...just my thought...

Photo credit: Cam Wood
Most of all - if you are in Calgary, I would highly recommend Aquabatics.  They were incredibly professional and very fun guys to learn this from.  And, I definitely feel like I got my money's worth for $80 in this course.

On a side note - the next day, I am not as stiff as I expected to be.  I definitely am feeling new muscles across my upper back and in my legs...but that's a good thing!

I'll try to link over to Amy's review of the day once she posts it.  I don't want to give away too many of her impressions of it all so you'll need to wait for it :)

1 comment:

  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE the recap!! Thanks to Cam for all the wonderful pictures.

    ReplyDelete

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