TO HAVE a feel of surfing in Hawaii, you can try standup paddling. That was how I spent my recent Saturday with a fun-loving bunch.
It was a pretty awesome deal on Groupon for a 2-hour introductory lesson in the waters of Changi. Yay to online deals!
But no, kidding. The sea waters in Changi is relatively calm… Of course nothing like Hawaii at all.
Standup paddling (SUP) is similar to paddle boarding, but involves standing (duh!). It uses a surf style board and a long paddle. What was tricky was the use of that long paddle – very unlike kayaking which I am so used to. The SUP paddle is a single-blade and slightly curved. For this reason, I had to spend the first few minutes figuring out how to use it to my advantage. Rule of thumb is that the paddle grip should be held at eye level, and using my torso to paddle instead of pure arm strength.
A little issue with my hand-arm coordination when switching sides to paddle! Ah, just give me a kayak paddle already!
Pretty soon we were all getting the hang of it. SUP is also about the balancing act. Started off with a kneeling position to a tall kneeling, before I got brave enough to stand.
Like a capsize drill, we had to learn how to fall into the water and help ourselves up. Good thing was that it is much easier to get back onboard, as the beginner’s paddleboard is stable enough and unlikely to flip. Once I got my butt on, there was no need to start bailing water like in a closed-deck kayak.
The other nice thing about SUP is that you can venture along many places. From protected lakes to open water paddling, and all the way to surfing waves. We did get a chance to paddle along the river canal after the calm sea. On the way back to shore, experiencing the slightly choppy waters and rain reminded me of my gruelling 4-day sea kayaking trip back in 2008.
All in all, it was a pretty thrilling time at sea! All sore from the paddling, all tanned from the morning sun, and all set for the next water sports activity we have plans for… windsurfing. Stay tuned!