Stand up and be Counted – The Weekend   Leave a comment

After trailing a few of the inflatable Stand Up Paddle boards (SUP) on show at the Wetspot Open Day the other week, I was convinced enough to go ahead and purchase one for myself. After chatted to the manufacturers rep at the open day as to the best option for me, I found out that the one I had decided upon would not be available in this country until the new year. I could buy another model (in fact the one I was going to buy before I changed my mind!), but I would only kick myself for not waiting, so not wanting to miss out on some practice I decided to hire a SUP for a weekend in order to test it (and myself) out.

Friday, 28 November, 2014

Molonglo Reach

This is a place that I’ve ridden past many a time on my way around the lake. Molonglo Reach on the junction on the Molonglo River and lake Burley Griffin is home to some sort of canoe club and it looks a perfect spot for SUPing as there’s a small beach and a pontoon to launch from. As well as the canoeist, I’ve seen many a SUPer out on the river in the evening and as it’s just off the main road that runs down from work, it makes it a perfect place to drive to after work and have a paddle.

As I was telling the folks back at the office of my plans for the weekend, I realised that Karen’s husband is a keen canoeist, so I asked if she and her family would like to join me for an hour or two on the water. Left work at the usual time for a Friday and drove over to Fyshwick and the Wetspot shop to pick up the SUP and was on the water with an hour and half. As luck would have it I was only one on a SUP tonight, although there were plenty of club members going through their paces in their canoes and after a very shaky start, where I struggled to stand up on the board itself, I was soon paddling back and forth across the river. Karen and her team rolled up not long after this and helping Andrew, her husband and two kids Dylan and Kylie unload the two canoes they had brought with them, we were soon on the water enjoying the early evening sun.

I’m always amazed how kids have no fear and how quickly they pick things up, as within seconds of showing Dylan and Kylie how to use the SUP (I call it the 30 second intro, as that’s about as much I know!) they were off. Of course, like the big kid I am, I wanted to have a go on the two canoes they had brought along and after a brief stint in the inflatable kayak, I squeezed myself into the extremely short canoe that I couldn’t seem to paddle in a straight line.

After drying off (I still seem to fall off the SUP quite a lot) and packing up, we all took a trip over to the Max Brenner Chocolate Bar on the Kingston Foreshore for a hot chocolate before heading home.

Saturday, 29 November, 2014

Yarralumla Beach

Lots to fit in today, haircut, shave (not normally a big deal, but I needed to get rid of the Mo I grew for Movember), a bike ride around the lake, before taking the SUP down to Yarralumla Beach at the lake, meeting Barry at the club tonight to watch a Sydney A-League game on the telly, as well as squeezing in some shopping, washing and cleaning. So I started the day off with a lie-in!

The bike ride went well with me recording a new record time for the 40km route down to and around the lake and back. Decided to leave the shave till later as I knew that would be needing a shower after being in the brown water of the lake. I arranged to meet Glenn and his windsurfer down at Yarralumla sometime in the afternoon and as it was I was set up and on the water well before Glenn arrived. In the meantime, a couple of blokes had turned up with their SUP and had given me a couple of pointers to improve my technique, especially when trying to move across the water at a faster speed. I was still finding it hard to actually move around on the board, I think through fear of falling in, but once I had watched the other guys practicing stuff and ending up in the water, I wasn’t so embarrassed about getting wet. The wind was a bit hit and miss, which was fine for me, but Glenn was struggling to get his windsurfer going in the light winds, so he had a go on the SUP while we waited for the wind to pick up.

Towards the end of the day, Ya, Glenn’s wife turned up after finishing work for the day and showed me how much she has learnt on the windsurfer since the last time I seen her on one. She was even keen to have a go on the SUP and was soon off across the lake after my usual 30 second training session.

I was feeling pretty shattered by the time I got home, but I still had the energy to shower, shave the Mo off and get myself over to the Southern Cross club to meet Barry in order to watch the Sydney derby match, have a few beers and walk home to bed ready for a long day tomorrow.

Sunday, 30 November, 2014

Merimbula

Good job I had a lie in yesterday as I was up early this morning ready for Glenn to pick me up at 8 o’clock in his smart new car. I’ve driven to the coast a few times in the last few weeks but today it was great to be chauffeured all the way there. It took us just under 3 1/2 hours to get to Merimbula and this included a stop at Bombeka Pie shop for breakfast. We were little unsure as to where we were going, but we knew there was some sort of competition happening on the main beach. Eventually we saw some of the sponsors tents lined up near a beach so we parked up a wondered over to see what was going on.

We soon discovered that the SUP competition was being held in the surf just over the sand dunes. Wow, those guys were good and watching the 30/40 of them do their stuff, I was keen to have a go myself. Not in the surf mind you, but in the more sheltered lagoon behind the beach. We found the perfect spot by the water’s edge with a little beach and after setting things up and donning our gear, we were both off and running or windsurfing in Glenn’s case and SUPing in mine. Glenn was having a ball in the stiff off shore breeze which made my paddling a lot harder and I really had to work hard to stop myself being blown onto the beach.

After a couple of hours practicing various things on the board, I was feeling pretty confident on it, enough to venture out into the open sea where the SUP competition had been replaced with kite surfing and wind surfing. However, I soon found out that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was and struggled to stay on the board for more than a few second in the swell just beyond the breaking surf.

After packing up our gear, Glenn and I returned to the competition/sponsor area just as they too were packing up, so we showered off, ate our sandwiches and headed home.

Conclusions

I’m knackered, but I’ve had a great weekend and learnt a long of things about SUPing and myself. Big thank you to Karen and her family for joining me on Friday night and also to Glenn for being such great company over the last couple of days (and for the lift to the coast of course!). I’ll return the hire board tomorrow and have a word with the guys at Wetspot about putting in an order for the one I want, shame I won’t be able to get it till after Christmas, but maybe I’ll be able to do a deal with them on getting hold of one for use during the holiday season!

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Posted November 30, 2014 by yermandownunder in Observations, Out and about, Travels

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yermandownunder

A Blog about Mario's life down under!

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