Never too old to learn new tricks

2015-09-03 06:00


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WHO says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Or half a trick that is, as standing up still remains elusive to me. My colleague, on the other hand, managed to stand up for a few seconds before falling over - something we seemed to do a lot that day.

Lizelle Olivier and I tackled our first surf lesson on Saturday with the guidance of our very capable and experienced instructor, Daniel Jegels, from Island Vibe Adventures in Jeffreys Bay.

The first obstacle to overcome, was to put on a wetsuit - not the most flattering item of clothing if you are not an athletic and nimble individual, but it kept us warm in the freezing water. About fifteen minutes later, after lots of pushing, pulling and giggling we eventually looked the part.

Nerves nearly made us turn back - wetsuits and all. We always wanted to learn to surf, but being scared of not knowing what to do and feeling intimidated and conscious about wearing a wetsuit - and off course worrying about sharks - nearly made us head for the hills.

Once on the beach, we were shown the “cobra” technique before venturing into the water to practice. No one ever told me getting onto the surfboard is such hard work . . . and being as clumsy, as I am, staying on is not much easier.

With the “cobra” technique under the knee, we went back to the beach to learn the pop-up technique step-by-step. Daniel explained foot-by-foot how to stand up on the surfboard and which foot to put forward. Your strongest foot is considered your ‘front foot’. With this technique rehearsed, it was time to head back into the water where Daniel shouted the pop-up instructions as we clung to the boards on our way to the shore.

One knee, two knees and . . . we are off the board - making underwater summersaults. According to my husband, who was a spectator, we looked like whales: all you can see are our heads and feet sticking out of the water.

We spend the majority of the lesson falling off the board and under the water, but it was a lot of fun. I am sure some of my bright pink nail polish is still stuck to the bottom of the ocean.

Still on a buzz from my first experience of surfing, I am determined not to give up until I managed to stand up - and then I will probably invest in my own surfboard and wetsuit.

Sure, someone who is in their 30’s, 40’s or 50’s may not be as agile or flexible as someone who is half their age, but your age shouldn’t stop you from getting in the ocean and enjoying all of the wonderful benefits that surfing has to offer.

. Do not miss the Kouga Express the next three weeks to read more about stand-up paddling (SUP), sandboarding, and township tours

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