Our trip to the Big Island was a little bit of work, a little bit of leisure; this meant, we actually did have meetings and site inspections daily and weren’t solely left to our own devices to lounge on the beach all day, every day (which is very much how I would spend any true vacation!).
However, we had a few small windows of time to check out the activities the Fairmont Orchid had to offer, starting with stand up paddle boarding. The Orchid has the most beautiful, placid inlet, Pauoa Bay—how could you not want to try out a water sport here?
We checked in for our one-hour lesson at the activities center and found out our “coach” would be Umi, a native Hawaiian with a quick wit and an even quicker tongue. He never failed to laugh when we face planted (in a good-natured way, of course), and kept telling me, “hey, Kristin! Don’t get too comfortable on your knees there, just hanging out on the board!” when I’d take a break from balancing on my feet and decide to paddle while sitting upright.
Of course, when I’d see him do a long stint on his knees, I wouldn’t hesitate throwing his words right back at him!
Good guy, that Umi. He said to make him Internet famous, so I’m attempting just that.
I’d done stand up paddle boarding (or SUP) once before, in Barbados, where we started right out in the pounding surf. This was far easier. We waded into the bay, hopped on our boards, stood straight up and began paddling around. Of course, paddling in the bay was akin to an obstacle course with all the kids and snorkelers we were made to dodge. It may be (relatively) easy to stand up on those boards, but steering is often a challenge!
A friend told me, “Whenever people referenced SUP while I was in Hawaii, I always thought they were saying ”sup?’ to me.” Valid point, and when in Hawaii, right?
(Excuse the water spots on the lens. An unfortunate occupational hazard of using underwater camera equipment above the sea!)
SVV had never done SUP before but being a long-time surfer and an all-around natural athlete, he picked it up in no time. If you have a little balance (and most of all, patience), it’s a really easy sport to pick up—and a great workout, too!
Speaking of waves, it was fine and dandy—i.e. we paddled around that bay like we owned the place, not getting in the ocean at all (meaning we didn’t wipe out once)—until we entered the open water and had waves to contend with, as well. That’s when the challenge really began. Umi said our balance was 100 percent perfect—I guess those years of college tennis are finally starting to pay off—but it’s more the constant paddle motion that’s the next thing you have to worry about. If you stop paddling, even for a stroke or two while out in the waves, you will fall into the water. I can’t say we managed to paddle consistently, so the inevitable splash did happen a time or two (or 10).
Still, I’d like to think we rocked it—only doing a belly flop here, a sideways fall there—at least for newbies. And my arms got a good workout, which is more than I can say for the rest of me. (That “continue marathon training throughout duration of Hawaii trip” that was on my to-do list has yet to happen, conveniently. Seeing as we have one day left in Hawaii, I’m going to chalk that up as a FAIL.)
Stand Up Paddleboarding from Camels & Chocolate on Vimeo.
Hey, some exercise is better than none. I love finding new and exciting ways to kick my own ass; keeps it from getting boring.
On a different topic, I would like to point out that in your fourth picture that water spot is strategically placed so that it looks like you had to blur out your bum.
Not strategic, just convenient. I have no plans to but my bum out on the Internet, so if that water spot hadn’t gotten in there, that picture would not have made the cut, ha! =)
There are all sorts of women who do that on the lake where Andrew’s family lives and it looks SO SCARY. Then again, my sense of balance is terrible, so…yeah.
Awesome activity… And it looks like you were in paradise.
What waterproof camera were you using, and where was it attached to you? (For video.)
We have a couple different waterproof cases. The one for the video was my little Canon G11 and the underwater housing. I just balanced it on the board and let it film as I paddled! The wider angle still shots are from our GoPro HD Helmet Cam. That’s the one we use for a lot of our outdoor sports, particularly skiing and boarding, as it’s super durable and compact and gives such a nice, open perspective.
We’ve got the GoPro HD Helmet Cam – dig it!
Good for you for trying out a new(ish) sport for you. I go to Hawaii once every two years or so because my in-laws are there, and I haven’t tried SUP or surfing yet! I’m not a very athletic person, but still!
LOVE the raindrop fade!
Hey Kristin! I have a lesson to learn how to SUP in Miami in a couple weeks. Funny you should be writing about this now. Looks like a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to a couple faceplants.
That looks like heaps fun. The kind of surfing I think I can do — the kind that does not involve waves 🙂
My parents are acutally HUGE SUP riders and talked Bob and I into trying it the last time they were in San Diego- Really fun! We only really paddled around though, as soon as I saw those huge waves I just couldn’t understand how to make the board go through them! I needed a boogie board!
You’re braver than I–what with all the great white sightings consistently in San Diego, I prefer to stay OUT of the water when I’m done that way! I’m with you, though: Boogie boarding is the best.
We loved paddleboarding when we tried it in Key West. The weather was freezing so we wore sweaters and thankfully never fell in, but I think that was due more to the lack of ocean waves than our natural athletic grace. 😛 Great sport, though, and such a freaking workout!
Sweaters, eh? I can’t imagine! Even the water in Hawaii was about as cold as I could handle–and that was with 85 degrees out!
I came THIS close to paddleboarding when I was in Miami last week. Heard it’s the best workout for your arms. You guys looked awesome out there. But, I do have an important question, how can I get as dark as Umi???
You move to the islands, mon. 😉
Looks like a great time! SUP is pretty popular off the beaches near me in Japan. I’ve been planning to try it.
Ha ha at the water spots. On the first pic, I thought you were trying to censor your bottom.
Trust me, while the water spot was accidental, had it not been there, that picture would have never made it onto my blog! I prefer to appear only in photos on the Internet fully clothed =)
I just tried SUP a few days ago in Thailand… I did it for like 5 minutes and then was like, is that all there is? Maybe I needed waves? Next time!
I’m taking a SUP lesson in Oahu and I’m so excited! I always think how easy it looks, which I’m sure means I will fail miserably and humiliate myself. Ha.
Actually, it is pretty easy! The first time I did it in Barbados several years ago, I got up on the first try and stayed on the board for quite awhile. I have a feeling you’ll pick it up very quickly!