I haven’t been doing much other than paddling for the month of November. I’ve put off blogging, drinking, e-mailing, going out, running, reading or writing for four weeks of hard training. I just started doing outrigger canoeing in October and have spent many long hours training, hoping to make the team for the Round Island Race that happened yesterday, the 23rd of November.We’ve paddled around Lamma Island (24 km) three times, done sprint sessions, technique sessions, huli drills (flipping and righting the canoe), sea change practices, and so much more.
I’d never paddled before, so there was so much to think about and so much that they told me to focus on.
I can’t count the number of times I heard:
1. Rotate your body.
2. Reach two inches further.
3. Transfer your weight from your ass to your paddle.
4. Power in the water.
5. Snappy return.
6. Pause at the front.
7. Clean exits.
8. Paddles in and out together.
9. Bend from the waist.
10. Use your legs.
Each Saturday and Sunday morning I spent 2+ hours out paddling, starting usually at 8 a.m. The way to the beach is beautiful on a weekend morning. People are getting their fresh meat from the butchers. Shopkeepers are arranging their vegetables. Old ladies and men are squatting on the edges of the sidewalk with fresh greens or cut flowers to sell. The tourists are starting to choose the steamed boxes of dim sum. I ride the bike through the waking-up village, then continue on past banana plants and vegetable plots out to the beach by the power station.
Plus, there were the Tuesday and Thursday night sessions of paddling at night across the warm water. We were chasing moon paths across the water, dancing ferry lights and avoiding the black silhouettes of fishing boats coming too close.
Not many people get to be out around the corner of the island in the chop and wind where the big tankers sail off to parts unknown. I feel so lucky to get to go out there. When Gina or Mel takes us close to the rocks and we whoosh down the waves through the foam, I try not to wiggle from excitement. My paddling team thinks I never stop smiling.