Ride the sea, ride the wind!
It was a windy weekend here in Nouméa, and a good thing, too. For we were happy to learn about a great water race at Anse Vata , with nearly 400 competitors, paddling surfboards (“stand up”), windsurfing, sailing optimists (small sailboats) and sport catamarans (Hobie cats and the like), kite-surfing, kayaking and canoeing. What a spectacle, this BlueScope Race!
It has been a longed-for treat, to dash out on a Sunday morning in October, to the beach to see windsurfing, kite-surfing and every imaginable water sport. Our last 5 Octobers, we’ve been in Paris, where it is rainy and cold and autumn-y – all lovely in its own way, but also slightly heavy and saddening. We’d missed the water, sun and warmth inherent to the South Pacific during our Paris days and dreamed of getting back to a world we knew existed just 24 hours away.
So off we went to see the competitors arrive from Phare Amédee (a race of approximately 30 minutes – well, for the fastest times). We walked along the bay, admiring those brave souls who were trying “stand up” for the first time (and free of charge at that!). Stand up is a sport I’d never seen before, but is something we see quite often here. Basically, you see people out on the sea, paddling, while standing on their boards. The first time I saw it I thought the person was in some kind of trouble and doing his/her best to get to shore. But no. It is an actual sport (and here I reveal that I’ve been living in a land-locked city for the last 20 years or so) that originated in the Hawaiian islands in the early 1960s. It doesn’t look particularly easy or fast, but I imagine it burns a fair amount of calories, standing and paddling like that. I learned today, that you can also do it while standing on your head (well, at least one person I saw was doing it!).
In addition to free classes in stand up, there were free classes in windsurfing as well. A great initiative that went on the entire weekend for the young and old, alike, the concept was to open these sports up to everyone – and not limit them to the elite. Spreading the pleasure of riding the sea, in as many forms as possible was the goal – and from what I could see, was heartily achieved.
It turns out we were too early to see the winners come in this morning and had to leave before they arrived. Methinks they must have had a late start – and we were sorry to miss them. But now that we know about this wonderful weekend in October, we’ll be back!