In the words of JR Tolkien "Not all those who wander are lost". My passion and loves are my family, travel and writing. I'm fortunate to be able to combine all three for an extraordinary life adventure....
Cairns may be 1200 kms from the nearest surf beach yet the surf culture is alive and well in Far North Queensland. As well as discovering the beautiful reef and the amazing rainforest, you can now add 'flow boarding' to the list of must do's while you are visiting the Cairns region.
Whether you are a beginner (like us) or a pro, this is a fun and thrilling family activity. Chances are that you will come away feeling inspired simply by watching some of the awesome skillful riders in action whether they are practicing intently for their next Junior or International competition or simply doing it for their love of the sport.
In fact only a few days prior, the Tobruk Memorial Pool hosted the Juniors competition showcasing some of the impressive skills of these young riders who were back again today (lucky us) doing what they love best.
Flow boarding is a hybrid sport combining the skills of snowboarding, skating and surfing. It is appealing because it can be undertaken at all levels from beginners (never tried before) to advanced skill level. Without any stingers or crocs about, it is a family activity that is available all year round. The Tobruk Memorial Pool is well located, only three kilometres north of the Cairns city centre.
Depending on your skill and/or comfort level, you can choose from either 'stand up' riding options for the more advanced rider to body boarding if you are a first timer. In fact body boarding itself can be exhilarating no matter what your age or level.
My 8 year old son was the first keen one to give the flow rider a go and had no hesitation launching himself into the wave. It wasn't until my 6 year old son came out unscathed that I was finally brave enough to venture forth!
Even though my manoeuvring skills were a little rusty it didn't take long to feel comfortable and get straight back in for a second and third attempt. In fact, with a 30 minute session there are lots of opportunities to improve your flow riding ability.
Even when the wave 'washed' me over the edge, there was an easy smooth flat shallow surface for the dump. Definitely a 'no fear' moment.
On hand to give us some cool tips and advice was the friendly and talented staff member Dale. We were impressed with Dale's skill and knowledge and as a Cairns local it was pretty awesome news to hear that one of his dreams of competing on the international circuit resulted in a 5th position in the World Championships held in the U.S. It was a real privilege to see a live demonstration from Dale of what is possible on the flow rider.
Dale was attentive to all the participants on the flow rider during our session and he didn't hesitate to jump out there and show the younger kids a trick or two, and he was quick on the mark for any assistance.
For those who find this sort of experience truly 'epic', Tobruk Memorial Pool runs daily 30 minute and 1 hour Flow sessions, or with an unlimited membership pass you can enjoy as much flow riding as you can handle!
If your keen to improve and get yourself skilled up, there are casual group and private coaching options to suit all abilities.
Please note: for body board, the rider must be 110cm, for stand up, the rider must be 120cm. It is highly recommended that all first timers try body boarding first to get the feel of the water.
All participants must complete a waiver. Get there 5-10 minutes before your session start or save time by downloading the Flow Rider waiver from the website and completing this beforehand.
Like any activity, check your kids comfort level prior to sign up - go check it out first and have a look at what it involves if you want to find out how it works. Any participant under 18 years of age will require a parent/guardian present to sign the waiver.
As well as the Flow Rider, the Tobruk Memorial Pool offers both membership and casual swimming and fitness classes. There are several outdoor heated pools to choose from including a 25m, 50m and a warm pool.
Swimfit, Deep Water Running, Aqua Aerobics, Aqua Natal and a unique Yoga/Pilates class conducted on a standup paddleboard are available at various times during the week. Please see the website for more information on their Group Fitness timetable.
Finally after a satisfied workout, take a break with your family, friends or simply solo, to rest, relax and rejuvenate at the Swell Cafe. Choose from a range of hot food, gourmet fillings in fresh or toasted turkish bread, salads, burgers, or decide from a selection of tasty cakes, muffins or slices.