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.)