On a beautiful Gold Coast morning Jackie, Evie and myself arrived for my first sup boarding experience with Linda from Go Vertical. She was all smiles as she briefed us on the process of the experience. I was very excited because sup boarding was something I had always wanted to try but I have never had the chance to take a board out.
First she took us through the techniques of paddling by helping us adjust the paddle to our height and demonstrated how to get on the board to eventually stand.
We carefully took our boards out on the water and mounted the wobbling foam on our knees first to get used to the balance and paddling technique. Jackie stood almost straight away, bravely placing her feet on either side of the board and rising up. Evie and I were much more diligent and slow with our standing process, with lots of “oh god,” “ahh,” “It’s wobbling!”
Success! We all stood and Linda cheered us on as she raced around us with expert speed and turning manoeuvres.
We made our way down the calm river bank of Surfers Paradise taking footage of the beautiful scenery and our amateur supping stance. Flying fish raced past and leaped from the water as if they were just as excited for the summer activities as we were. Linda gave us lots of tips and tricks as we paddled down the river with strong arms and strong balance determined not to fall into the water.
We gently paddled under the bridge to the other side where MacIntosh Island lay ready to be explored. The deep water was like glass as we glided through the undisturbed surface with ease gaining more and more confidence with every stroke of the paddle. Linda directed us to a sandy bank on MacIntosh Island where we were going to stop to see some peacocks and stretch our legs. The thing with sup boarding is that your feet go a little numb after a while and for beginners like us the last action you want to do is move your feet around on the board and shatter the glass water below.
Thankfully none of us fell and we all dismounted safely but maybe not so gracefully onto MacIntosh Island. The sand was hot on our numb feet and we eagerly raced to the rocky footpath to massage our soles and look at the bird life.
Linda explained that it was peacock mating season so the males were displaying their stunning tail feathers in hopes of luring a female over. We saw a number of peacocks, ducks, geese and little hens on the island but the peacocks were too shy to show off their feathers.
After the numbness left our feet and the prickling feeling slowly returned we made our way back along the path to our sup boards for the journey back.
This time Linda eagerly showed us the surfing stance suitable for supping if we were going to ever enter into a race (disclaimer, we weren't). She placed her foot firmly in the middle of the board and the other a step back, the nose tipped out of the water and she swirled around the back demonstrating the various twists and turns that can be achieved with this new stance.
We all gave it a go but she certainly made it look easier than it was! I wobbled around on the board and stepped too far back nearly capsizing myself letting out a little yelp, Linda explained that I should use the paddle in the water to balance myself whenever I felt uneasy and lo and behold her advice worked and I managed to stabilise myself for the adventure back to Surfers Paradise.
I trailed behind on the adventure back, enjoying the scenery and cool water of the Gold Coast, watching lots of different schools of fish swoosh by and stingrays lazily graze the bottom of the river.
Linda guided us into the shore and taught us to dismount while standing which was a breeze compared to getting onto your knees and dismounting to the shore. This experience has made me even more determined to invest in a sup board and start taking it out on the river for more activities to do on the Gold Coast.