Learn how to windsurf as young as 7 in Nouméa
New Caledonia has been on school holidays for the last 2 weeks. Schoolchildren are on a schedule of 7 weeks in school, 2 weeks off, a new schedule this year. I’m predicting challenges for teachers and students alike with such long breaks every 7 weeks (increased pressure to get through the curriculum in a shorter period of time, as the primary problem I’m seeing), but I have enjoyed having our son home – and occupying him with sports, reading, piano lessons and all around fun.
Children in Nouméa have a number of options during school holidays, from water sports to art activities to circus school to week-long camps at the local zoo. We’re spoiled for choice!
This holiday, we signed Pablo up for a week of windsurfing the first week, and boy was it fun! From 8.30 to 11.30 Monday through Friday, Pablo was with 11 other children his age and older. He was by far the youngest (having just turned the required 7 years old the day before) and the smallest, but the instructors assured me that he would be fine.
They spent the first morning learning how to put the boards and sails together, what the general safety precautions were, and how to basically get up on the board and windsurf. How fun is that? (Pablo tells us that his father’s recent foray into windsurfing was neither well-organised nor well-instructed, as he didn’t need to put his board together, wasn’t really told how to get on the board, etc.)
They spent the next 3 days practicing what they learned on the first day, falling less and less, advancing further and further into the lagoon.
On the 5th day, they sailed out to an island 900 metres away. The oldest (preteens and teens) kids did great – and got out to the island, despite the windier day (you would think wind is a good thing – and it is when you are experienced, challenging when you are not). Anyone who knows Nouméa knows that wind on Anse Vata can be really something! The younger kids windsurfed as much as they could, and then were picked up or ferried along by a small boat. They all had a celebratory snack on the island together and many windsurfed back.
We were very pleased with the week and plan on doing another week in October.
Windsurfing is challenging for little ones (because a certain amount of weight is required, to balance the board, and muscles are necessary to lift the sail out of the water every time it falls over), but they are also advantaged. They are not afraid of falling in the water (“That’s the funnest part!” claimed our little guy), they can get back up on the boards quite quickly and they are naturally fearless, flexible and energetic.
While out on the Wednesday, 2 students saw sea turtles and weeks before we had a couple of dolphins in the lagoon. Imagine what it feels like to windsurf with some of nature’s most beautiful animals. At 7. Or 47!
With regard to the company we went with, they are Aloha Windsurfing. Though there was only 1 instructor for the 12 students (I would increase this, to make it easier to give individual instruction to the varying levels), everyone did great. Security was number one – the children wore life jackets all morning and water shoes as of the second day (after a couple of people had stepped on urchins and bees). They taught and encouraged the children to prepare, clean and put away the boards and sails and it was great to see everyone working as a team, with the older ones helping out the younger ones. The instructor was kind, encouraging and warm as well as competent and professional.
So if you’re looking for windsurfing lessons for children 7 or over in Nouméa, head on down to the orange trucks on Anse Vata. We’ll be there again once it warms up in October!