Don’t worry I am not telling the story of paddle-boarding as a sport professional, but a sport idiot rather. If it was anywhere else or not with my host sister, I would have never tried this by myself or keep any record of trying it.
Basically I’m not good at any of the sports, just sometimes do some swimming, badminton and hiking. THAT’S IT. This is an advance stuff to me and I would never be ‘oh that’s cool, let’s do it!’ I am more of the ‘wish I can do sports skillfully’. But this time, in Brazil, a magical place, where you can’t really say NO to any opportunities coming, I said YES, SURE.
This is what happened.
I was lucky enough to have a wonderful host family during my stay in Brazil, and my host sister asked if I want to try paddle-boarding in the most beautiful place in Aracaju on a Saturday/Sunday afternoon. She showed me pictures and told me stories about her friends trying that. Given that I am open to possibilities when I am traveling, a positive response came out of my mouth.
First of all, this is not at the sea side, it is some sort of lake and river thing located 30 minutes by car away from the central area of Aracaju. By the time we got there we saw only few people doing this and we were so excited to try it (though I was quivering inside).There were 5 of us, 3 girlfriends of my host sister, me, my host sister and a guy friend who was responsible for taking such amazing pictures.
So, we’d got ourselves a coach showing us essential skills before we got on the paddle boards. Guess what? He only speaks Portuguese! What did I do? I relied on my host sister for the translation, which was actually a mess because she doesn’t speak very good English and had never tried paddle-boarding before, let alone explaining me the correct position and tricks to make it easier. The guy friend who was not paddle-boarding with us is kind of a sports professional so he tried to be my ‘personal coach’ but I was too stupid to understand it.
Never mind, I know how to swim and the lake is quite gentle and paddle-boarding doesn’t seem to be a lethal sports so I decided to do it without really knowing what was I supposed to do with the thing on my hand and how do I stand and stuff like that.
At the beginning I was kind of behind the group, not successful in getting myself forward and not understanding the instruction from the coach on the way to the pit stop. The coach kept telling me to just paddle on one side but that’s not gonna help moving forwards. I just did what I felt like doing when the coach was not paying attention to me. It worked somehow just to follow your feeling! I wouldn’t say that paddle-boarding is easy but you don’t need a lot of skills for this. Good balance may be an advantage but there is no danger of it because you’ve got a safety string tying your foot to the board, so there is no way you would die from this.
After 30 minutes I think, we finally all arrived at the pit stop and took a rest. My limbs were quite exhausted already since I needed to make sure I was standing on the board and moving forwards (sometimes even need to fight against the wave). By the way, if there is a strong wave some other boats were creating, it’s better for you to squat if you don’t want to climb up to the board with your tired body.
Did I explain how does it work?
Simple. Push the board little further from the coast, kneel on the board at first and get your left foot tied to the board. Paddle left to move further away. Once you get to the centre of the water, paddle left and right with a rhythm to move forwards. Squat whenever there’s a big wave and pay attention to your coach. That’s it, keep repeating the above steps then you’ll find yourself safely at the pit stop.
On the way back to the starting point after 10 minutes break at the pit stop, somehow I managed to be the first among all of us. I thought I was so left behind without anyone around, but turned out to be too fast. Though I ran into a boat that was resting aside and got stuck and manually pushed myself away so that I could continue.
It was a really nice experience and the sunset at Orla Por do Sol was so lovely. I did that in July so the weather was not as hot as you think. But be aware of the rain because winter time in Aracaju means ‘summer with rain’ (I’ll write more about this city later in another post.) Anyway, paddle-boarding seems a professional thing to do but is actually quite simple, so if you want to look like an expert in sports, give this a try and make the beautiful illusion with the photos :p.
You may also want to read the other sport I did in Brazil