My third SUP lesson

Woke up early. Checked the weather and it looked like it was going to be a hot day. Originally I had planned on wearing a bikini top but decided to wear my 2 piece swimwear instead. I put on sunscreen generously all over my body so I wouldn’t get sunburnt.

Arrived at the beach early. This time we started from Tungku Beach. Water was so so calm with no waves at all. Such a perfect condition for an open water swim or SUP session.

The session started with light stretches before we hit the water.

I started my watch after I got onto my board. Hopefully this time, since I enabled the heart rate monitor, it can tell me the amount of calories that I burn from SUP.

I put to practice on what I’ve learnt about the 3P’s last week. I made sure that I didn’t bend my arms and my back when I paddled and I surprised myself when I noticed it was so easy to paddle this time.

Stephen was sharing about wind shadow and how to spot wind shadow during paddling.

We paddled across river mouth and continued until we reached a bay.

From here we stopped and brought our boards to the shore.

We practiced falling onto the water. This was first done without a board. Basically we just jumped on our feet and fell on our back and then on our front. I made sure that my arms were spread wide when I did this. I had no issue with falling on my back but after I did on my front, water got into my nose and it stings.

After we got the hang of falling, Stephen asked us to do drills. He demonstrated first on what he wanted us to do.

Leah started to practice with her board first. She practiced the 3 drills that Stephen asked of us.

After Leah was done, it was my turn.

After I was done then Stephen showed us how stable the boards are.

Then we paddled next to the rocks and we got to see corals! Some are blue and some are green.

We continued to paddle to the next bay.

On our way, I just couldn’t resist the clear green water. So I slowly got off the board and took a dip in the water. Leah and Stephen did the same.

I even swam breaststroke just for a bit. Then I got onto my board. It was such a relaxing morning that I decided to just sit as relaxed as I could.

I noticed that this time I was able to manouver the board so much better than my previous sessions. I already know how to slow myself down and also how to prevent my board from hitting others.

We slowed down as we got closer to the rocks and this time both Leah and I saw fishes! They’re black with yellow stripes. This is when I wished that I had brought my goggles and also my waterproof camera!

From here Stephen showed us how to do pivot turn. When I tried to do it, I fell into the water. I think I fell several times because I lost my balance. Stephen made a joke about me wanting to practice my fall. LOL 😬 I admit that it’s kinda fun now falling into the water because I now know how to get on my board.

To be honest, I find it interesting that once I knew how to get on the board, my fear of being on the water had disappeared. Because I no longer worried about me falling into the water, I got to enjoy what I was doing. I focused better on my paddling and where I was going.

It was a really peaceful morning. There were no boats in sight and the calm water helps with the forward movement of my board. I paddled so much better, I watched my posture and I had gain so much confidence in my own ability to SUP.

We headed back to where we left off and when I got off the board and turned off my watch. I was excited to see how many kilometers we paddled and of course the calories burn.

I was so surprised and disappointed that the watch didn’t record the GPS but fortunately it recorded the calories burn.

This got me frustrated. I’m like “what the hell did I do wrong this time!”. On my way home I checked my phone and apparently my GPS tracker on my watch was turned off. I truly don’t know how that happened. Last session, the GPS was working fine but the heart rate monitor wasn’t.

However, I received this image from Stephen that shows the GPS of our activity.

On the next session, I will make sure that both the GPS and the heart rate monitor are enabled before the start of my session.

Unfortunately there won’t be any lesson next week. The final session for us might be sometime in July. I guess I’m going to rest my skin from the sun for some time.

SUP images and videos are by Stephen from Surfskime.

Click here for my first SUP lesson.

Click here for my second SUP lesson.

Until the next SUP session,

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My second SUP lesson

I had the second session of the beginner SUP lesson this morning.

I woke up early, I checked the weather and decided to double up my sunscreen because it was a bright day. I made sure that I applied sunscreen generously all over my body. I prefer not to get sunburnt this time.

Because of the bright day, I decided to wear my long sleeves one piece swimsuit​. I was hoping that the material could shield UV rays from my skin. Surprisingly it did! I’m only more tan on the exposed areas like my face, neck, hands and legs.

Arrived 20 minutes before session starts. Lesson begun with Stephen asked us questions about the paddle and the board.

Then we carried the board into the water after we put on the leg leash.

This time it was just Leah and me in the session.

Today’s lesson was a bit harder for me.

We paddled further and practiced paddling.

At we started going out, I somehow lost my balance and I fell into the water. I remembered Stephen mentioned in the previous lesson, if we fall, make sure that we spread our hands wide and so we don’t fall deep into the water. I did spread my hands but my body didn’t fall straight, instead my butt hit the water first. I did sink into the water for a bit. Then I came to the surface and swam to the nose of the board and tried to get hold on of the board. I didn’t manage to and the board moved further away from me and I was still in the water. The second time I tried, I successfully got onto my board.

I was soaking wet obviously from the water. Thank God that my cap was stuck onto my hair and my sunglasses was still on my face. Water went into both my ears and nose.

Minutes after that Leah fell into the water and she was quick to recover and got onto her board.

I was like what the hell happened to us?! LOL 😂

Then I remembered to start my watch to record my activity.

And so we carried on paddling and crossing a river bank to go to the bay next to Pantai Jerudong.

As I was paddling, I noticed that my arms begun to fatigue and my back started to hurt.

I tried to remember what I had learnt​ in session one and applied it. Unfortunately I felt tired from straining my back.

After we arrived at the bay next to Pantai Jerudong, Stephen started to give us instructions on proper paddling.

A few things to keep in mind are keep both arms straight when paddling, make sure the paddle is vertical when paddling forward and keep the body straight, refrain from twisting the body.

Now I see why my arms were fatigue when I paddled. It was because I was relying on the power of my arms instead of my core to move forward.

That back pain was because I was twisting my body instead of keeping my body and arms straight.

Also I noticed often when I paddled, sometimes I went off course (Stephen sometimes making jokes about this, saying that I’m going to Labuan), this was caused by paddling the paddle at an angle. The moment I practiced putting the paddle vertically into the water, I moved straight forward instead of moving at a slight turn.

Those three really made a huge difference in the way I paddled. Not only I got more power, it was a lot less strenuous on my body.

We were practicing and focusing on paddling for quite sometime. Then Stephen asked both of us to race each other and to add more power to our paddling.

We did and Leah was faster than me.

I realised that I lack power when compared to Leah. I’m guessing my core is weak for now.

We also learnt how to know the direction of the wind, SUP etiquettes and the 3 Ps.

This time, I can feel that I’m better at back paddling and I know how to break as well. I now know what to do to prevent my board from hitting other boards.

However, I still need to work on my sweep turn because it took me longer to do it. I gotta learn to relax and soften my knees. Would you believe me if I told you that I lost the feeling in my feet while standing on the board? Stephen kept reminding us to wiggle our toes once in a while.

By the time we were heading back to the starting area, Leah saw a baby jellyfish while paddling, I saw a fish jumped out of the water and skirted his way away from us and Stephen decided to take a dip in the ocean because it was so so freaking hot!

After 2 hours, I felt exhausted and I wished I went home to catch up on my sleep but I didn’t. Went to watch a movie instead. I was lucky I didn’t fall asleep at all. I was also so tempted to break my fast with water because I was so thirsty. Apparently the amount of water that I drank in the wee morning wasn’t enough to hydrate myself. Bobby managed to convince me to just continue with my fast and I did.

In my previous lesson, I didn’t track my SUP activity because I thought my watch Suunto Ambit3 Sport doesn’t track the sport. I found out a few days ago that it can and I was wearing my heart rate monitor hoping to find out the amount of calories that I burnt from SUP. I was disappointed because it didn’t show the calories. Just the distance, time and average speed and also the GPS location. Turns out, the heart rate monitor was disabled. So in next session, I will enable it and see if the watch records the calories burnt.

However, I did sync my workout with Endomondo and it shows the amount of calories burnt. Although there is one minor discrepancy, it recorded 1hr 40mins workout instead of 1hr 57mins.

Screenshot_2017-06-11-10-48-23-079_com.endomondo.android

And below is the recorded GPS of our session.

Screenshot_2017-06-11-10-48-02-663_com.endomondo.android

SUP images are by Stephen from Surfskime.

Click here for my first SUP lesson.

To more SUP sessions,

My very first SUP lesson

I decided to sign up for SUP beginner class after I heard from someone that I know interested in taking up the class.

Originally I had planned to take up the class sometime in July, but that changed when I found out that the beginner class starts as early as this June. So I made up my mind to enroll myself for all 4 lessons.

The first lesson was this morning. I arrived at 6.45 am as the first session starts at 7 am.

Weather was cool and cloudy and the water was so so calm.

I finally met Stephen from SurfskiMe. Lesson started as soon as all of the students arrived at the beach.

Took a few seconds to take a picture with Leah. We knew each other early this year from Effortless Swim. Since then we regularly swim in the open water together. She is one of the strong swimmers that I personally know.

Before we get started, Stephen mentioned about hydration and he asked me if I was fasting and yup I did. So I won’t be drinking at all. Thank Goodness that I woke up at 2ish in the wee morning to hydrate myself because I tend to have headache/migraine when I’m dehydrated and exposed to hot weather.

Lesson started with equipment overview.

I find it helpful to get to know the equipment and also their names as Stephen often mentioned them in his instructions.

Stephen also covered safety procedures on what to do if we fall of the board.

  1. If or when we fall, do so flat with a large surface area, so that when we do, then we don’t fall too deep into the water. As we don’t know the depth of the water and also whether there are rocks and the like underneath the water.
  2. Swim to the nose of the board and get up on the board from there.
  3. Do not pull the leg leash, one might get a surprise hit from the board and
  4. Do not try to get on the board from the tail as you might injure yourself by being in contact with the sharp fins.

He demonstrated on how to enter the water correctly. We started out by kneeling on the board and once we got the hang of it then we stood up on the board.

To be honest, I was struggling at first trying to balance myself on the board. And I was looking at the water and I noticed how clear the water was. Guess what happened next? I was trembling!!! I was so surprised by how shaky I felt and the thought that I had in my head at that time was “what if I fell into the water?”

That was the moment I realized in my own personal opinion SUP isn’t for people who are scared of the water. It’s even worst if the person doesn’t know how to swim. Because in the event of lost of balance, the person will most likely fall into the water and if this person doesn’t know how to swim, he or she might panic and injured themselves. But then these are my personal opinion.

And so I was able to shake off my shakiness as I reminded myself that I can swim in the ocean and I’ve been actively swimming in the ocean since 2016.

I was glad that I was able to calm myself and just focused on Stephen and his instructions on how to paddle.

We were practicing paddling close by the beach and later on Stephen instructed us to paddle to go to the other side of the beach.

All of us were heading to the beach after we were practicing with sweep turns. There were several times when my board hit the others and quite frankly, I didn’t know what to do to prevent it.

Before we arrived at the beach, I was lost in my head and I wasn’t aware that my board was so freaking close to the beach and the nose hit the sand, I couldn’t maintain my balance and I fell. Half of my butt hit the board and the rest of me fell into the water. Thank God the water wasn’t that deep. I was able to stand. From here, we learnt how to get off the board.

We got off the water and took a few pictures.

And then we were ready to head back to the beach.

The right side of the beach has a lot of rocks underneath the water. From here we learnt back stroke with the SUP. We don’t want to run into the rocks, otherwise the boards might be damaged by the rocks. The mistake that I did with back stroke was I turned the tip of the paddle towards me and yet I still paddle forward. I admit, I still need to get used to do back stroke properly. I do get confused.

Here we were trying to get closer so Stephen could take a picture of us.

We started to paddle and move out of the beach. On our way out, there were two boats crossing the water. This created waves and I could feel the waves underneath my board as I continued to paddle. At times I did feel the imbalance because of the waves.

We left the beach and paddled towards the beach where we started from.

Bobby was there and he took a video of me when I had arrived at the beach.

After session was over, we went home. I was in a hurry to continue with my sleep.

Woke up after 2pm and I finally noticed that my upper chest was sunburnt! I was like how on earth did that happen? I did put on sunscreen all over my body just in case I would wanted to swim after the lesson was over and I did wear a rash guard.

Then it occurred to me that:

  1. I was sweating and so the sunscreen might have melted away with my sweat and
  2. the rash guard doesn’t have UV A/B protection.

I see now why some rash guards mentioned superior UV protection and also UPF 50+. Looks like the one that I have doesn’t have the UV protection. I guess time to shop for some UV protected rash guards.

Back to the SUP lesson, I’m glad that I signed up for the beginner class. I actually had a thought of learning SUP on my own but after today’s lesson, I don’t think I would made so much progress if I was learning on my own. I learn so much better with Stephen as the instructor. And of course learning with a buddy is so much fun! Me and Leah, we got to chit chat and also laughed once in a while (coz we were going off the course) while we paddled. I’m so looking​ forward to lesson 2 next week!

SUP pictures are from Stephen of SurfskiMe.

Interested to learn SUP? Find out more here.