Planning for fun …

I know it is still 2013… but I have one of those big birthdays coming up next year and have started planning something fun for myself.  I’m not the only one, a relative of mine hits the same number in the same year and is planning a treat – a trip to the Isle of Man TT races. (He’s into motorbikes)

I’m thinking I’d like to learn something new, perhaps something a bit different for someone hitting 60. A good friend of mine took up belly-dancing on that big one… but I have been belly dancing for YEARS. The husband was given a ‘fly a plane’ trip for his 60th last year, Which he thoroughly enjoyed, and I even had a go on the short return trip. I considered whether this would suit me, or a balloon trip.  On reflection I decided that these would always be one-off events and would not expand my skills, and as you know, if I can learn something new – I am a happy bunny.

Ann Bodyboard
Ann with body-board

I had been thinking about surfing lessons. I had even gone so far as to say to the Husband that  I was thinking of doing this, even though I had a lesson many years ago .. organised by the WI. Sadly I did not achieve the stand. I got to the one knee, one foot stage more times than you could imagine, and tipped off at the stand each time. I persevered until I felt sick with exhaustion (and the tightness of the wetsuit across my throat – I can’t bear any clothing touching my throat) and the three hour lesson ended.

As you may know I LOVE body boarding (or boogie-boarding as it seems to be known in other parts of the world) and have just returned from a week in Brittany where I was out riding the waves every day, come sea-mist, hot sun or wind with drizzle. (Alternating it with writing the first 8,000 words of my next novel)  Once in the water the adrenalin takes over and I do not care what it is like as long as the waves are good. And I do this sans wetsuit – and seem to stay in the water longer than my wet-suited contemporaries – though I am often the only person not wearing a wetsuit AND body-boarding.

NOW, this is how things happen. I was just coming out of the sea for a break, to have a drink of water and replenish the sunscreen on my shoulders, when I passed a lady walking down to the sea with what appeared to be an over-sized surf-board and carrying a long thin paddle. Sitting on my towel, I proceeded to watch as she reached the water, walked in until about knee deep, hitched her board to her knee with a tether and hopped up onto the board – standing. Within seconds she was paddling the board out through the breakers, riding each one, seemingly, effortlessly. Once out past the main breakers she waited (along with the surfers – she standing, them lying) The next big wave came and with a sweep of the paddle she was ahead of it as it broke and she surfed that wave right into the beach, turning the board with a sweep or two of her paddle and was heading out again, over-taking the surfers that had caught the wave, and was soon back out with those who had not managed to catch the wave at all and were still waiting.

She caught more waves and surfed in more than the surfers – and that’s what it’s about folks, not the hanging around waiting for the wave – it’s the buzz of riding the wave, being driven along and getting the best from every wave.

I was so interested that I practiced a phrase or two in French as I returned to the sea, determined to ask about what I recognised a paddle-boarding ( though I had never actually seen anyone doing it) .  When we had both caught the same wave and were in the shallows together I waded over and asked her.

She wasn’t French. (I should have guessed this as, in my experience; French women in general do not seem to go in for water sports, like surfing or even body-boarding, much)  She was, in fact, German, and had excellent English. (Though not French – as she apologised in English saying Sorry, I do not speak French)

After a conversation, where it transpired she had tried to learn how to surf (from her surfing instructor husband) for two years without success and had found paddle-boarding much better, my thoughts now changed to paddle boarding. When she also explained her ‘board’ was actually inflatable (you could not tell from touching it!) and that it therefore could be easily transported – I was hooked – and regaled the Husband with my new choice when I got back from the beach.

paddle board woman don debold
Photo via Creative Commons attribution Don DeBold

If you’ve not come across paddle-boarding – here’s a picture of what it can look like – now that looks really sedate compared to the surfing type! A good way to learn!

Next morning, as it happens, the husband (who’d not even heard of paddle-boarding before I’d come home enthused) told me of the  news that a man had paddle-boarded from Cuba to the USA – a journey of 111 miles (179 km)!

Since I’ve been back in the UK I’ve been looking up places to learn, prices of boards and lessons and finding I can also call it SUP-boarding. (Stand Up Paddle)  Only problem is….. I do not want to wait until next year – you never know what next year may bring.  I think I may find somewhere to have a few lessons before next year.. and then if I like it, treat myself to a board when that big day comes.

Any one out there already paddle-board? Any tips?

What did you do for your last BIG birthday? Or are planning for your next?

Do you like the challenge of learning something new?

Do share, you know I love to hear from you!


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