I am in a lot of pain today. I went wakeboarding for the first time yesterday and it was a phenomenal experience. For the uninitiated, I achieve grand levels of suckage in sports. I suck at almost every sport known to mankind with the exception of air hockey (umm.. it counts? sort of?) and swimming (I am a bad swimmer but it counts because knowing how to swim is better than not knowing). It has been this way since I was born, when I was an underweight child, a perfect teenager and a slightly overweight adult – so I guess weight has nothing to do with it. I just suck at sports. And when I say sports, it encompasses everything from games to field sports to gym workouts. Yes, I even suck at gym classes that any odd person could pull. When I am on the treadmill my expression is usually that of immense pain and disgust (and my mouth is open).
You will appreciate this factoid more when I tell you how my weekend went. On Saturday I dragged my lazy ass out of bed to go to a reggaeton class at the gym. If you know reggaeton, you know that that dance form is all about the ass, which is why I wanted to go. I figured it would be a good workout because let’s face it –unless you’re J.Lo, the big ass thing is really not all that cute (and her ass isn’t all that big, it’s just relative).
Turns out it wasn’t a reggaeton class but a jazz funk class and I used to be darned good at that in a previous life. But when the instructor asked the class who was there for the first time, I raised my hand. Turns out I haven’t forgotten and I still got the rhythm. I did surprisingly well and the instructor asked me to dance upfront. Usually the instructor in these classes demonstrate certain moves which are for advanced participants and they’re obviously harder, like they’ll ask you to pick up a heavier weight or jump a little higher, etc. I am usually at the other end of the spectrum doing the “lighter-intensity” moves. So imagine my sheer delight when the instructor kept pointing to me and asking me to do the more advanced dance steps. She signaled to another girl and myself and said “She’s been dancing a long time (she knew her) and she (i.e. me) has clearly danced a lot before”. Woohoo! The Jups still got it!
On Sunday, I joined Jin and headed out of the busy bustling part of the island and out to a place called Tai Tam, a wonderful, scenic and quiet place that you wouldn’t believe existed just 20 minutes away. I guess I would have been happy to just sit there and stare at the jade green waters and the surrounding mountaintops – it was beautiful. But I wasn’t there to do that. No siree. I was there to wakeboard. For the first time.
I was always intimidated by wakeboarding. I had several friends in Singapore who wakeboarded on a regular basis and uploaded pictures on facebook and it looked fucking scary. Your feet are anchored to a huge board, your legs are 3 feet apart and you’re being pulled through the water by a motor boat at some scary speed. If you let go, you fall into the water with your feet still stuck to a board. I couldn’t, for the life of me, imagine doing that. I figured you needed the stamina of a horse to pull it off. While I have the stamina of a housefly.
Jin and her friend had been doing this awhile. Needless to say I was intimidated. On the bright side though, not having any men around helped my confidence. Men have a really shitty habit of kicking you (and by you I mean me) when you’re down, at least where sports is concerned. Everytime I have made an effort to pick up a sport, try something out, I have always given up due to sheer embarassment from the patronising and the insults and the jokes.
But this time was different. The girls repeated the same thing over and over – don’t try to stand up…you’ll know when you’re ready. I strapped on the board and surrendered myself into the bottomless sea. Hmm okay.. I was floating like a baby…knees bent and head and feet at the surface, rest of the body underwater. I held the handle of the rope with both hands, in between my feet, thinking to myself, how the fuck is this gonna work? The boat is just gonna drag my ass around till I give up and let go.
No, Jups, focus. Remember what they said. Knees bent, arms straight and don’t try to stand up. Don’t try to stand up.
I must have risen up by a foot… Splash! Plonk! Into the water…
“Bend the board one way…give it direction”
Board pivots in the right direction. Right handed = left-footed. Okay this is right. I was mobile. Squatting on the board but moving. Splash! Plonk! Into the water…
With every attempt, I was a little better… but not standing yet. Ideally you want to land in the water, butt first so you’re floating in a baby-like pose but on occassion you might fall stomach first with the board under and behind you. This happened once and it was endlessly irritating. It’s hard to turn around – you’re like an overturned tortoise…in reverse. So the boat came back, I grabbed the rope and pivoted around it and then turned over. Whew.
Attempt 6 was a non-attempt…Vroom! Splash! Plonk! “Sorry!!!!”
Board pivots. Knees bent…focus… arms straight focus….now stand…. stand… whaddayaknow… I was wakeboarding. For about 10 seconds. Splash! Plonk! I had my mouth open (in sheer delight, not disgust) the entire time.
After that, it was better… I did a few stints where I was able to stand up but not for long, the driver kept accelerating too quickly. Or maybe I was tired.
My second session was largely unsuccessful, by then I had swallowed so much fucking salt water, my throat was on fire. I wasn’t tired but I felt sick from all the salt. And I had to pee. I resisted, believe you me, I did. I was ready to quit; maybe it was beginner’s luck. “Two more tries and we go home”. Okay Jups, they’re letting you try, don’t give up. Focus.
The driver/instructor pulled into calmer waters. Vroom… It happened and how! Let me tell you that that feeling, when you’re gliding over the waves with the wind in your face, is something else. When the driver knew I was in my groove, he gave the boat a beautiful curve and I zoomed right behind. It was poetry and I think it lasted 3 or 4 minutes. Which seems like little but time seems to slow down when you’re on that board. All you need is one errant wave and you know you’re done for. I let go of the rope and let out a triumphant eeks and plunged into the water. When I was finally done, the instructor asked me to unstrap the board while I was still in the water. Now this is a crazy feeling because all of a sudden this huge weight is off you and your legs feel weightless…and then you realize you can’t feel the bottom of this swimming pool… and that is kinda freaky. But it’s all good.
And so like I said, I am in a lot of pain. I am hurting in places I didn’t know I could hurt. But I am inspired nonetheless. I went to the gym and ran for 25 minutes (it’s all I could manage). I really want to become a fitter, sexier version of me.
And of course, I am going wakeboarding again on friday.