I'm a copywriter and freelance writer living in Melbourne.
My novel, Another New York Murder, is available online.
Published February 19th 2014
Bored? Get on a Board
My wife looks exhausted. "My instructor says it's harder to learn than flying a helicopter." Of all the excuses she has given me over the years, this is a beauty but who am I to argue. She's just finished a 2 hour kite surfing lesson. It does look hard and judging by the carnage in the water at St Kilda on this beautiful Saturday morning there must be some challenge to it, otherwise, everyone would be doing it.
photo courtesy gokite.com.au
This combination of windsurfing, surfing, parasailing, snowboarding and other dude-ish pursuits definitely requires lessons before jumping in and there are several companies who offer different packages at beaches from the Mornington Peninsula to Williamstown. It's not, however, something to attempt on a crowded beach.
Having no desire to pilot a helicopter and having a similar ambivalence about the difficulty of flying one, I settle for the simplicity of kayaking. There's nothing to it really as they say in the classics. You just sit and paddle and try not to fall out. The hybrid board that's my weapon of choice is difficult to tip, even the jet-skiers and motorboat predators who generously attempt to provide us with white water training have been unsuccessful in capsizing my yellow peril.
Kayaking is the most versatile of water sports on the bay with a range of options and craft to try depending on your level of skill, the conditions or how far you want to go. It's my weapon of choice and a good paddle is a great way to spend some time in the bay.
A Great Way to See The City. Photo courtesy of kayakmelbourne.com.au
The latest craze to sweep the bay, or indeed any body of water you'll come across is Stand up Paddle Boarding or SUPing. On a recent trip to Sydney I could have almost walked from Circular Quay to Manly on boards such is their popularity up north. Many exponents of SUPing like to show off by performing yoga on their boards, as if they couldn't show off any more! SUPers are fast gaining a reputation as the cyclists of the sea such is their level of self-righteousness and self-congratulatory vanity as they make their way past. Some even do it with toddlers hitching a ride on the front. Show-offs or negligent parents? You be the judge!
What could be better? photo courtesy of supwarehouse.com.au
I admit I have been itching to try it but a fear that my newborn horse-like lack of balance will see me come a cropper quicker than a cyclist –or SUPer- can shoot you a finger.
If you want to go all retro then maybe windsurfing is for you. More challenging than SUPing and Kayaking and less so than flying a helicopter and therefore kitesurfing, it used to be the watersport of choice on our bay but has become less popular. It presents a good combination of challenging and fun and –probably most importantly- it's the easiest to get back on if or when you fall off.
photo courtesy rpstheboardstore.com.au
There's also surfing but as anyone from Sydney will be lightning quick to point out, there's really not much point in surfing at Melbourne beaches but a quick hop to one of the magnificent peninsulas bordering our city will satisfy that urge.
So with summer winding down and with less traffic on the beaches, now is the perfect time to don the wetsuit and get on the water, craft and all.
Here are some helpful links depending on your sport.