Rachel Mayhew is a 10 time NZ Surf Ski champion and has been crowned world series champion to boot. Here she tells us why surf ski paddling is a great sport and recreational activity - and why everyone should give it a go.
It keeps you fit! What better way to keep fit than being out on the ocean/lake/river taking in the beautiful scenery & breathing in the fresh air with no heavy impact on your joints it’s a pretty cool way to keep fit. Paddling is also great as it’s very low impact on your joints! So if you’ve got knee/hip issues paddling is great. Surprisingly paddling is all about your core & rotation using your heels to drive power in each stroke. I personally love paddling whether it be training, racing or quality time with friends as you can keep social and stay fit at the same time.
Make new friends - find that local club or that friend that already paddles, it’s a great way to meet new people and go on adventures on the water!
Anyone and everyone can do it - Whether you’re a teenager that’s into sport or a CEO wanting to try something new, literally anyone can learn to paddle. There are so many clubs out there to join, whether it be the local Mairangi Bay lifesaving club or the sheltered and great for learning Lake Pupuke, there’s also Takapuna Boating Club and Royal Akaranga Yacht club for those that feel you need a passport to cross the bridge. The general rule of thumb for paddling is: never paddle alone. Always paddle with a group of friends. I’ve made some lifelong friends padding overseas that I’ve met in races, everyone is very welcoming & all want the same thing - to enjoy being on the water.
It’s a relatively cheap hobby/sport - become a member of your local club and use their club gear or invest in your own surf ski, life jacket & paddle. Compared to many other hobbies it doesn’t cost a fortune. Most clubs have gear to use as a member so you can try before you invest your own money in one.
You can do it all year round - of course summer is absolute bliss paddling on the ocean with the sun beaming all over you (wearing sunscreen of course) but it’s also pretty magical in the winter with crispy milk pond-like conditions with a few extra layers to keep you warm. Winter can also be great as you may be one of few people out on the water and really feel like you’re ‘at one’ with nature - something pretty special!
When you start - here are 5 bonus tips to get you going:
- Take your time - spend a good few months learning the technique & consider getting some lessons
- Challenge yourself, once you get the hang of things set some meaningful goals. Whether that may be to paddle non-stop for 30 minutes or you enter your local winter race!
- Never paddle alone
- Buy some paddling gear to wear, it makes a difference being warm in the colder months and also comfortable all year round. My go to brand is Vaikobi paddling gear!
- Have fun!
Rachel is a CurraNZ ambassador who loves the recovery benefits of our blackcurrant supplement. If you're getting into paddling, make sure you have some CurraNZ handy for helping with sore arms and shoulders :)