Saturday, 21 May 2011

Bongoing beach bum

 A few weeks back, hubby dear and I had a "dry run" at surf kayaking whilst at the coaches conference in Glenmore. We were told at the time that there was to be a beginners surf weekend up in Sandend in May. I have a very understanding boss when it comes to weekends off (I'm self employed!), so I duly rearranged my work and off we went.
 We were going up via Glenmore to collect a couple of SCA surf kayaks. It was there we bumped into Rowland again, he who hee hawed at me during the 5* training a couple of months back. After coffee and a huge cake at the visitor centre down the road, we continued up to Sandend to meet up with David Coghill. There were only going to be the three of us going out. there's nothing like fine personel coaching.

David showing us how it should be done
 David had had a bit of time to make some sand sculptors, showing the different types of waves and how they break, so we went over that before going on the water. The waves were at a fine height for "newbies" like us, although in all the photos, they look fairly flat. We started off in the froth, learning the bumpy art of bongoing - leaning on the breaking wave for support while skooting in sideways at what seems like great speed. We then went out a bit further, to catch a few waves and hopefully travel along them. There were a few kids with body boards we tried to avoid, although at one point Ken seemed to head straight for them like a game of skittles. He did manage to go between them as opposed to going through them. It did look skillfull, but in all honesty, it was more than likely luck! I'm sorry to say we were a bit of a dissappointment to David that day. We both managed to stay upright with no rolls. I think he was possibly looking to hone in his rescue skills.

Ken making it look easy

Sarah having a go
 We were staying the night at the camp site, so we walked round to book a pitch, only to get an odd look from the site warden, we were still in our drysuits. I hadn't realised how tired I was until trying to bend over to pitch the tent. I don't know who creaked and groaned more, Ken or myself. The rain was now chucking it down, so we sat in the car eating our tea, having a beer and listening to radio 2. Had I done this any other night, I would consider myself quite sad.
 Next morning we headed back over to the beach to meet up with David. The waves seemed to be noisier today - and bigger, in fact for a beginner, they looked huge.
 David decided we would be working in the frothy bit again for a while. We went out a bit to catch the waves to learn how to lean back if the waves were going to be a bit big, which lets them wash past you. After that, we were doing a bit more turning.

 I carried on playing in this area, while David took Ken further out to the bigger waves. When I looked out, I could only see the tips of the paddle occasionally. As I was pretty well done in by now, that and the fact the bag we were using as a marker was now floating, I headed in. I thought I would possibly get some photos from the beach. I was just getting out of the kayak, when Ken suddenly appeared beside me. Had I seen him catching the biggest wave of the day?, er - no, oops! A huge wave came, he decided to go for it, which sent him whizzing down a very steep wave, he went over (1st roll of the day) came back up, forgetting that the next huge wave would come and pummel down on him. He came back up from that (2nd roll of the day) and came skooting in. He looked a bit shocked and speechless. I had to grovel and aplologise for not only having no photos, but not even seeing it.

Hard work
 We went back out for a while longer, when it was my turn to go over, I managed back up, went straight back out, straight back in and straight back over again. I had no idea whether I was up, down or inside out by now and bailed out (1st and only swim). A bit later, I was over again, I was now getting really tired, but still had to keep having "one last go". I had another really good whizz back in and decided to finish on a high.
 We headed home via Cullen, where there is a fantastic ice cream shop, it was there when I was on holiday with my Mum and Dad in the year dot and is still there. A hard weekends paddling meant we had deserved a double ice cream, Honeycomb crunch and chocolate chip -Mmm yum.
 By the time we arrived home, having sat still for two and a half hours, the pair of us had stiffened up and again we had a competition to see who could creak and groan the most.
 I have to say, I had been looking forward to trying surf kayaking for quite a while and was certainly not dissapointed. I had an absolute ball. David was a fantastic coach, thank you so much.
  I could quite happily become a beer swilling, ice cream guzzling, bongoing beach bum.
Happy paddler