Like most Australians, I have always had a love for the ocean. Sitting on a beach-towel that has been carefully laid across hot sand beneath a wide umbrella, looking out over the water and squinting against the reflected sunlight sparkling upon the calm blue sea.
In my memory, beach days are always the best days. For whatever reason, the worries of the world can't follow you down to the shore, they are halted at the treeline, frustrated by the white glare coming off sand beneath your feet and forced to wait in the parking lot where they pace back and forth along with all the other worries that have been left behind by everyone else who has seized the chance to escape for a lazy afternoon.
When sitting on the beach, facing out over the ocean, the world behind you has been paused and there is nothing so important that it cannot wait until tomorrow. There's a whole other world out there. One where children make exciting discoveries with nothing more than a plastic spade and bucket, where frisbees fly and a cheeky splash of water can lead to a pointless water fight that sees everyone emerge no wetter than they were when the splashing began.
And then, cutting through it all, above it all, glides the Stand-up paddleboarder. We all remember seeing our first standup paddleboarder. Gliding effortlessly across the calm water, seemingly out of reach of the rest of the beachgoers, out where the water is just that little bit too deep for you to touch the ground. I remember thinking to my self how nice that would be, to be, not just beyond the worries of the world, but even beyond the worries of the beach. Passing the noisy splashers or the screaming kids who had played too hard and just gliding onward with every stroke. The stand-up paddleboarder is beyond it all.
With this in mind, my wife and I set out to become that paddleboarder, to be free, just for an afternoon of all that worry. We headed down to the Mornington Peninsula, where we booked accommodation at wonderful Luxury B&B with views out across the bay.
After a relaxing evening overlooking the bay we went to bed early, knowing that we would have to be up and on our way first thing in the morning so that we would be able to make it to Dromana in time for our first group stand up paddleboarding lesson run by SUP FIT.
The instructor Will, provided us with everything we need to get up and paddling, teaching us the basics and making sure that everyone was safe and knew what they were doing before we headed out onto the water. For the next 90 minutes we skimmed across the top of the ocean, we fell into the water when we lost balance and laughed at our selves.
The paddleboards were built for beginners, but even then, a momentary lapse in concentration would more often than not result in a dunking.
At the end of the 90 minutes, we all felt a bit steadier on our boards, and most of us had managed to stay out of the water long enough that we all pretty dry when we reached the shore. I don't know if I am now as graceful as the paddleboarder I first saw cutting across the water, but I know that I enjoyed myself enough that I will definitely get out there again.
Because even though we were in a group and everyone was laughing and having a good time, it was quiet out there, a weight was lifted from my brow and I could breathe.