When you’re travelling alcohol can become a big part of your social scene. It’s an easy way to get to know people, a few drinks lowers inhibitions and causes everyone to relax and connect. However if your liver is complaining about the constant abuse while you are travelling there is another great way to connect with people. Something that will help lower your inhibitions, raise your confidence and cause squeals of laughter. And would you believe that its healthy!!
I am talking about stand up paddle boarding! What?! I hear you say – how can this do all of the above as well as alcohol?
Start by inviting some friends… or random strangers who you have met while travelling (or drinking the night before), tell them to get up super early and catch a couple of buses to a place where you can SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard – for those of you who aren’t in with the lingo). If you’re in Sydney, I suggest Rose Bay, its relatively close to the city, has great places for breakfast around the corner and is off the beaten tourist track so it’s something different – with spectacular views of the harbour. Finally, hope for a sunny day! Now it may be awkward for those first few moments when you stand in the stand waiting for paddle board. The nice man who organises it, tries to explain the best way to stand on the board, but because you are so nervous you don’t listen properly and inevitably slip off the first time you try to get on.
THIS IS THE FIRST INHIBITOR LOWERING MOMENT
As your group paddles out into the bay there will be one person who will get the “hang” of it straight away – that person is the devil. You will bond and with all other members of your group as you watch this person sail away towards the horizon while you flail about trying to work out why you are going around in circles. Eventually you realise that you should stop worrying about how awkward and ridiculous you look and concentrate on not falling off – all inhibitions have now disappeared. Suddenly you will work it out and start racing off in pursuit of that uber coordinated friend. Your confidence soars, you add more power into each stroke which releases the exercise endorphins giving you a little high – which when mixed with the confidence you feel at mastering this awkward looking sport gives you the ultimate rush.
THIS IS THE CONFIDENCE GAINING MOMENT
However, as you gain speed and agility there will be one person in your group who takes that little bit longer to master the skill… the squeals that you hear from behind as you race towards the sunset encourage you to perfect this newly found skill. At last everyone is in control of making their boards going in the direction they actually want and you move together as a pack of boarders – confident in your skill and talent. Then a wave comes! At least two of your group will end up in the water, another one will be reduced to crouching on the board, whereas if you are the lucky (and I use the word luck) to have maintained your balance – you must raise your paddle in the air in triumph!
THIS IS THE PART WHERE EVERYONE SQUEALS WITH LAUGHTER Everyone regains their boards, feeling completely relaxed from all of the laughing. There is now unity within the group as everyone bonds over challenges met and overcome. You are now SUP experts and revel in this success. An hour later as you sit around a café gorging on a well-earned breakfast you bond with your new-found friends by describing their face as they fell in the water. You now have friends for life! Without a single drop of alcohol being sipped.