Thanks must go to Mark for the idea behind title of this post.
New Zealand as a nation is obsessed with water sports, be it surfing, rowing, sailing, windsurfing, kite boarding, paddle boarding etc…you get the drift. Auckland is called the “City of Sails”.
We had been looking forward to the better weather to try our hands at some of these…so here is a run down so far…
If you have never tried sailing, you may think it is quite simple to pick up…and in theory it is. Find out which way the wind is coming from and then point your boat in the right direction to get to where you want to be. However, throw in the variables that wind blows in circles and gusts, that you have a tiller which is far too long to handle, that you have a rope in the other hand to hold the sail, very little room to move and a boom that likes to surprise you at full speed and you can start to imagine that all is not simple.
Suffice to say that several lessons in, I don’t think I will be troubling the Americas Cup team…and that I collected a nice gash on the head (and smashed sunglasses) from a tricksy boom and found that Auckland harbour is rather pleasant for a swim at this time of year. I think sailing can be left to the experts, pirates and the foolhardy.
When my good friend Phil visited we decided to have a surfing lesson over on the west coast at Muriwai. The currents in the Tasman Sea here are powerful. After delighting the excellent Muriwai Surf School staff by donning the wetsuit back-to-front (both of us independently!) away we went.
Credit to the coach because he had us all standing on the board and surfing on waves within 10 minutes (albeit briefly) and what great fun it is to do this. It is by far the most physically exhausting thing I have ever done. I managed to cut my toe somehow…but took away only excellent memories (and three days of aches and pains).
If you ever get the chance, you should give surfing a go.
Here is where you can learn to walk on water! If you have ever seen someone paddle boarding on a calm ocean, that is what it looks like. The sport of the Messiah perhaps!
Great exercise for your core (another ache the day after!) it is surprisingly easy to get going at this. Again on calm water, it is quite hard to fall off these boards…if you start to lose your balance, drop to your knees and lower your centre of gravity. Simple. Quite a pleasurable activity albeit without the huge adrenalin rush.
Worth a dabble if you see one on a calm coastal day.