Closing out one year and entering a new one is always a time of reflection and creating intentions for the unmarked path ahead. Our intentions encompass what we want to do, achieve or become and they are often the ‘jump start’ for change in our lives. We know our intentions also take us on a path into the unknown which is accompanied by a whole range of emotions for anticipation and excitement to nervousness and sometimes fear.
We started SUPWell because we’re passionate about more New Zealanders of all ages and abilities discovering the best that stand up paddling (SUP) has to offer. That’s our intention. We know it lines up with many peoples’ intention to try or improve their stand up paddling. Like all intentions though, you probably have a range of emotions connected with that flicker of desire. It’s a leap into the unknown which almost always carries with it a sense of discomfort.
Our goal at SUPWell is to make it EASY for you to discover the best SUP has to offer. So let us guide you through the questions we hear most often and demystify some of those unknowns.
- Will I be able to do it? With good equipment and guidance, the answer is yes. Simple things like how to stand up successfully, where to stand on your board and how to use you paddle all make a big difference to your success rate. But I need great balance, don’t I? Not really. With a stable board you’ll be amazed at what’s possible and in any event, balance is very trainable. It’s not something you ‘have’ or ‘don’t have’.
- What gear do I need? You can bring yours (if you have it) or we provide all the top quality gear you need from the board and paddle to your life vest and leg leash. And this also has the advantage that we can match you with a board that suits your height, build and confidence levels so you can experience standing up and paddling.
- What if I fall off? Truthfully, this is inevitable, even for the best of us. And arguably it’s part of the fun in summer when the water is warm. We teach you to fall away from your board (which most people do naturally anyway) and you get wet. That’s it. And you have a leg leash and a life vest on so you can get back to the board and climb back on … we’ll show you how to do that. So as long as you can swim a bit, you’ll be fine.
- What should I wear? Light exercise gear like shorts/leggings and a t-shirt or top. Quick drying fabrics will keep you most comfortable so avoid cotton fabrics. At this time of year in Auckland there’s no need for any fancier gear than you’d wear for a walk or for the gym.
- Is it safe? Under the guidance of a qualified instructor and in appropriate conditions, it’s a low risk activity. We make sure you are in enough open water and space that going for a swim is really the worse case scenario. It can feel more comfortable to start in a more ‘enclosed’ water space so we hold our classes in basin-like environments (like Orakei Basin, Judges Bay and Lake Pupuke) as well as at bays and beaches.
- What about the weather? Yes, the weather plays an important part in a safe and enjoyable experience. Wind direction and strength are the key influencers for where and whether to hold a class. Rain can obviously play a role too. We may move classes to a more suitable location (like Lake Pupuke or Judges Bay) in the wind or if we do cancel a class because of weather, we’ll credit you that class back.
Over the combined 8 years we have been coaching stand up paddling, we’ve successfully taught people of all ages, body shapes and energy levels to paddle. Some of our most rewarding work is coaching people recovering from cancer treatment to paddle through the PaddleOn Program … it makes the biggest difference to peoples mental and physical wellbeing, not to mention their confidence.
As with any intention that becomes reality, there’s the moment you need to embrace the unknown. Followed by moments of joy and achievement, frustration and disappointment and joy and achievement. Moment’s of feeling ‘I’ve got it’ and moments of confusion. That’s learning. The beautiful thing about what we do is that we can always point to your progress: your first glide; first time to turn; first time from bay to bay. And you can have a chat to paddlers who will have been through similar experiences and learn from how they’ve improved.