Thursday, July 12, 2012

SUP - Water Up the Nose

I recently lead Hendrik Breuer and his wife Monica on a media tour of Sauble Beach. Hendrik is a Toronto-based travel writer for many German publications and was on assignment in our area. While developing our itinerary for the day I had a brain wave to take Hendrik and Monica Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Boarding. Neither of them (nor myself) have ever attempted this activity before and I thought this would a really unique experience for them. So, I called Jack n Jill’s Surf Shop in Sauble Beach and got the board rentals set up.  

The day of the tour was not incredibly hot (about 23 degrees Celsius)  therefore not a  typical beach day but these two were keen so we went to pick up the boards. Jason, the owner of Jack n Jill’s was there to give us some tips on how to get started on the boards. 
  •  Make sure you have sunscreen on your face, back of the neck and on top of your feet before you go at least, but I would recommend putting it everywhere if you’re going to be out any length of time.
  •   Because the SUP is considered a vessel, you must wear a lifejacket and have a whistle with you
  • Make sure you have the paddle the right way.. if it’s backwards you are wasting a lot of energy paddling as most of the water is just slipping right off the blade.
  •  Walk out far enough in the water so that the fins of the board don’t hit the sand.
  •   Start by kneeling on the board.  Make sure you are in the centre where you will have your weight distributed most evenly. Choke up on the paddle (hold it in the middle, not the end) and paddle like this until you are comfortable.
  •   Paddle into the wind, again to maintain balance.
  • When you are ready to stand up, make sure you have forward momentum, this is what gives you balance. Stand up, again in the centre, in one fluid motion.

As close as a camera was getting to the water.
Armed with this information Hendrik and Monica walked the boards down to the beach. I’m not going to lie, the waves here high, but again, this couple was game to give SUP a shot. They set out; very brave indeed. Once out there they didn’t waste much time on their knees. Within minutes, they were standing up, even if it was for just a few seconds, they were standing up! There were some epic splashes, and I’m sorry I didn’t catch them on camera, but they waves were so high I didn’t want to take any camera equipment into the water. 

Monica and I drying off.

After a while and some successful stand ups Monica offered her board to me, she said there was only so much water up the nose she could handle. I on the other hand, seem to have a very high tolerance for water up the nose. I spent some time paddling on my knees and went to stand up. I’m not sure I was even up for two seconds until I came splashing down hard into the water. This happened several times until finally, I was up again and stayed up for about a minute! It was amazing, I encountered a couple waves (just two footers or so) in that amount of time and still remained on the board. It was only when I turned to give Monica the thumbs up that another spectacular wipe out occurred. No matter, after that ride, I considered my first SUP experience a success.

All in all, we had a great day at the beach! We got some awesome exercise and enjoyed the water; it was just gorgeous that day! It almost made falling in the water so many times enjoyable.  I simply can’t wait for my next SUP experience. 

When we returned the boards Jason said that the conditions were quite challenging for first time paddlers, so the three of us felt pretty good about ourselves. 

In closing, here is a tip from Hendrik and I: Do not wear your sunglasses, you will most likely lose them as we did. 

Monica and I rewarding ourselves with Funnel Cake!

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