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And so the stoke continues….

February 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

This weekend was my third surfing lesson with Stoked School of Surf. However it would appear the ocean gods did not get that memo because the sea was rudely churning out the most volatile waves I have ever seen – making it one of the hardest lessons yet.

 

The sea, as I found out, is a lot harder to judge when you’re standing on the land looking at it than when you’re actually in it and you can feel how strong the currents are and the sheer power of the ocean suddenly becomes a lot clearer.

 

So standing on the beach before my third lesson with hubby who was there for his first lesson, we gave little thought to how it would go. Sure, the water would be toe-curling cold and the waves did look a little bigger and faster than usual, but no-one expects the ocean to always be as ‘tame’ as it had been for my previous lessons.

   Hubby and I – who said surfing wasn’t a team sport?

 

How wrong we were.

 

While Michelle showed Grant the basics of the first lesson, I went out to try and catch a few waves (I almost sound like a real surfer huh?) with the other people who were there for their second and fourth lessons.

 

That’s where we realised just how wild and crazy the sea was that day. After 15 minutes none of us had even come close to catching a wave. I had also spent a lot more time under the water than I would have liked – with my first two attempts spectacularly thwarted by waves that seemed to grow in ferocity the closer they got and travelled in pairs.

 

After 15 minutes I was exhausted. And a quick glance around the group showed I was not alone.

 

I did however discover a new talent… the jury is still out on whether it will ever come in useful. Wait for it… wait for it… I ‘find’ hidden rockeries under water! It’s true, and I have the shredded toes and bruised feet to show for it. Granted it’s not the most awesome of talents but you never know when something like that will come in handy.

 

So between the churning tumble-dryer waves and the hidden rockeries which I once even dragged my feet along as I fell off the board, making it a far more painful wipe-out than usual – I didn’t get much real surfing in this weekend.

 

But it wasn’t all bad. Not at all actually. I still had an absolute blast and didn’t want to stop when the lesson was voer.

 

Also, it turns out hubby Grant is a natural at surfing, and one of the other women who was surfing nearby said she saw a school of dolphins swimming about 50m from us.

 

Add to that the fitness element of walking, paddling and surfing through such rough waters and it was by far one of the most extreme workouts I have had in the water!

 

It was also great to have Michelle there to guide us because let’s face it, the sea is unpredictable and if all the surfing lessons were on calm, well-behaved waves then when we got out there on our own and it was like that, we wouldn’t know what to do.

 

So big up to Michelle for being such a super coach. And for not laughing at me. Again. Much obliged! :)

Starting to feel the ‘stoke’

February 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

This week’s surfing lesson with Stoked School of Surf took place at Big Bay, and even though it was only my second lesson, I could already feel a huge improvement. And considering my previous record of standing on a board on moving water was a whopping 3-seconds – is no mean feat people! Credit where credit is due!

 

To be fair, I still can’t stand for longer than a few seconds, but just those few are pure bliss and make my heart want to sing with happiness. It’s a childish kind of happiness – just getting something right and feeing nothing but sheer joy for doing it.

 

For Saturday’s class there were four of us again, but not the same three people from before. Instead this time it was a husband and wife and a young girl from Europe who is here on holiday.

 

It was her first lesson, my second lesson and the husband and wife team’s third lesson. So quite a mix.

 

It was amazing to watch the husband and wife team, only one lesson ahead of me and you could just SEE how much more confident they were, how they could ‘read’ a wave (i.e. not try catch a big swell and look a little sheepish when nothing actually came of it like some people… *ahem*) and how they improved on THAT from the beginning to the end of the lesson.

 

The water was warm (or rather, ‘warmer’ than usual, meaning out toes didn’t cramp and contort into un-toe-like positions while un-Godly howls from the depths of our souls emanated from our surprised lips as soon as we ventured into the water), and the waves were really nice.

 

A few were quite a lot bigger than I anticipated and caught me off guard a few times, sending me tumbling below the foamy water for a good few seconds.

 

But like Michelle says, it’s just water. And by some miracle I only managed to swallow about a litre of sea water this time. Still tastes terrible, I wouldn’t advise it.

 

Anyhoo, hubby has now been to watch me twice, which is more interest than he’s shown before in my other fitness pursuits such as running… perhaps because of my spectacular wipe-outs (which are generally accompanied by a rather embarrassing “aaaooweeaahhaa” kind of high-pitched scream that is only silenced by the gulping down of gallons of sea water) and he has now signed up for Saturday’s class, which I’m thrilled about.

 

I think it’ because it looks like fun.

And it is.

SO much of fun!

The two hour classes fly by so quickly that if it wasn’t for the aching muscles and burning eyes from the salty water I could easily stay out there for hours. Fortunately for me and my fair-haired skin, Michelle puts a cap on this or I’d emerge less sexy-mermaid and more wrinkly-creature-from-the-blue lagoon.

 

It’s not a great look.

Check out the Stoked School of Surf page on Facebook here… they also do corporate days so if you ask your boss REALLY nicely I’m sure he’d also be keen to have a surfing lesson as a team-building exercise than some of the other not-so-great ideas they usually come up with!

Surf’s up!!!

February 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

Last week was a week of firsts – it was my first surfing lesson with Stoked School of Surf (who are awesome by the way), it was also my first hill-training with the running club and my first (or rather, personal best) at the dead lift which was 78kg at Cape CrossFit.

 

But first the surfing.

Wow. It’s so much fun I can’t believe it didn’t occur to me to do this sooner. And I completely understand now why people spend hours out on the waves, it’s seriously addictive and as far as exercise goes it’s one helluva workout.

 

 Michelle Davy is the coach and could not be more uber-cool surfer chic if she tried.

 

From the sun-kissed blonde hair to the happy-go-lucky attitude and broad, welcoming smile I knew from the second I met her that she was going to be a great surf instructor. She is very down-to-earth and explains things clearly and is so relaxed that you almost forget that you’re there to learn a new sport.

 

Hell, I even forgot that there were sharks out there!

 

Almost.

But not quite.

 

The lesson was supposed to take place in Big Bay, but since there were no waves there we were relocated to Muizenberg for our lesson on Saturday morning. Which is all good and well except for the fact that the day before I had sent out a silent message to Mother Nature to ensure all her toothy-finned friends were nowhere near Big Bay. So I was a bit nervous arriving in Muizenberg where the black shark flag was flying high (meaning the water was murky and visibility wasn’t great).

 

However, Michelle quickly put any fears to rest and apart from the logical fact that should there be a shark with a craving for surfer-meat, there were far more pro-surfers way out at sea than us newbie’s in the shallower surf – the shark siren is also loud enough and sounded long before a shark is anywhere near us.

 

But to be honest the second I got in the water and started focusing on remembering everything Michelle had said on land, any worries about the “S-word” disappeared.

 

The lesson began with an uncomfortable and what I can only assume to be a very unattractive squishing of body bits into a wetsuit. They’re fine once they’re on but man those things are ridiculous to get on. Once we were all suited up and looking all professional-like we took our ginormous surf boards down to the beach where Michelle walked us through the basics.

 

We then went into the sea and practiced getting onto the board and lying straight on it without tipping over. This was quite difficult because the water is constantly moving… and for someone who battles with balance at the best of times it’s no mean feat to climb on AND STAY ON a board on top of moving water.

 

However I managed and was nothing short of childishly elated when Michelle pushed me off on my first wave and I pushed up with my arms to glide elegantly back to shore. And then I rolled off the side and got tangled in my leash.

 

Ah well…

 

Then we got out the water after about half an hour and Michelle showed us how to graduate to standing on our boards. Then back we went into the water.

 

And you’ll never believe it but I stood! It might only have been for a few seconds, but I actually stood up! It was such an awesome feeling that you just don’t want it to stop. Thankfully the lesson was two hours long so there was plenty of time to perfect my standing – I think the longest I managed was a whopping 5 seconds of bliss, but it’s a work in progress!

 

I did however manage to perfect some breath-taking wipe-outs and twice almost took people out with me. Such is my sense of grace and style.

I also seem to have brought over from cycling my weird tendency to bear left – and found myself heading off to the left for no particular reason on more than one occasion. What is stranger still is that I am right-handed, so where this newly sub-conscious desire to bear left comes from I don’t know.

 

The next lesson is this weekend and I can hardly wait!!! As for the fitness side of it – I could definitely feel that I had worked out without even realising it.

 

My whole body was exhausted afterwards and I could barely drag myself off the couch for the rest of the day.

But it was a good tired. Was also probably due to my eyes still burning from the saltwater, which was very einah but I assume is just something I’ll have to get used to.

 

Check out the Stoked School of Surf page on Facebook for more pics and info. They’re a ‘travelling’ surf school so if you’re in the Cape and you wanna learn to surf, there really is no excuse!

 

 

 

 

Ice, ice baby….

February 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

Lessons learned in the last week were interesting…they included: walking downstairs one step at a time due to a swollen knee is frustrating not only to you, but to everyone stuck behind you who is too stupid polite to ask you to get the hell out of their way, so lesson learned is to just take the damn lift…

 

Lesson two: icing a swollen knee is only effective if your dog’s haven’t developed a sudden yet wildly intense love of ice. If this is the case, rubbing ice on said knee in front of ice-obsessed dogs can lead to scratches, bruises and an overall bad time for everyone involved, not least of all the swollen knee.

 

I could go on but you get the point.

 

Last week was long and frustrating and I had a very swollen and ugly-looking knee.

 

Not that knees are particularly good-looking at the best of times, as far as body parts go they’re quite unsightly. However, a swollen knee – never pretty. My knee was also not just swollen, but lumpy. In fact, if Van Gogh had painted a knee, it would probably have looked a lot like mine did.

 

 

 

So why was it swollen? I don’t actually know.

It might have been from over-use, since I had been doing a lot of running and gym and generally abusing the crap out of my knees and this was their way of going “Really? It’s going to be like that is it? Introducing - UGLY LUMPY KNEE…”

 

Or I could have knocked it a little TOO hard during a marathon session of walking lunges at gym (for the second time in a week). I vaguely remember wincing a little as the kneecap connected with the floor, but I’m not sure it was sore, or if it was my muscles EVERYWHERE ELSE that were sore.

 

Either way I don’t mess around when I get even a twinge of a problem in my knees as I have already been lucky enough to have had three knee operations in the past 10 years. It’s not as glamorous as it sounds – the weeks of hobbling around on crutches, the weird scars, the crying-its-so-sore learning to bend your knee again. Definitely not something I want to repeat for the fourth time!

 

So off I trotted to the physio, who now knows me by name after recent months. Fortunately though there was nothing very wrong other than swelling and after much poking and prodding and frowning and questioning I was sent home with instructions to ice and rest. What fun. At least the dogs were happy.

 

Anyway, by Monday the swelling was completely gone and my knee was back to looking like a weird-shaped joint sans lumpy bits so I was happy. Back to CrossFit and back to running.

 

Just goes to show the power of icing an injury – that’s all I did. Ice and rest. No pills, no anti-inflammatories.

 

So the training is back on for the Two Oceans Half marathon – and I can hopefully begin my surfing lessons with Stoked School of Surf this weekend. Can’t wait! Although I am now more nervous of the icy cold water than anything else. The Atlantic Ocean – it’s LOTS-OF-BAD-SWEAR-WORDS kind of COLD.

 

Good thing it’s 35 degrees outside though….

 

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