Got up early since I need to get an early start on the morning cleanup. My duties now include cleaning the outside area, stripping the beds of those checking out and getting them in the wash/dryer, sweeping all the social, kitchen, toilet areas and rooms, then mopping the bottom floor, washing any dishes remaining and wiping down the tables and kitchen area, and cleaning the toilets.
If you don’t have anyone in the hostel, the work isn’t that hard. If you have several people, its a full morning work. Thankfully, Tracey is perfectly understanding about the Wake Boarding, and just asks that I get through as much as possible before I go, and does a chunk of it herself. So by the time 11:15 runs around, there’s just a few small jobs to do and she waves me off.
The wake boarding is advertised in Cairns, but it actually happens at Lake Tinnaroo which is just a few minutes away from the lodge and where we’d gone canoeing. I’d been trying to organise the wake boarding all week – made difficult by the lack of phone number on the posters. Turns out Damo, the owner and our guide for they, has been redesigning the brochures and promotional materials for Cairns Wakeboarding, so its partially intentional.
There were 6 of us on this trip – 3 who’d wakeboarding with Damo before, and 3 who hadn’t wake boarded at all. I’d never been wake boarding before, but figured it wasn’t going to get any easier sitting in the boat, so when the first guy (who was now on his third session and becoming a pro) had shown everyone how it was done, I volunteered to go next.
A wake board looks very similar to a snowboard. It consists of boots attached to a thin board. You slip your feet in and slip into the water with your knees bent and your arms straight while holding the handle and keep the board vertical to the water, toes slightly bent towards you. As the boat speeds up and you feel pressure against the board, you tilt the board with your toes even more, and try to stand up with your weight on your heels.
According to Damo, the average time to get someone to stand when they first start is 10 tries. On my first time I managed to stand…admittedly only for 3 seconds, but it’s a very good start. Second time I’m up for maybe 10, but lean forward a bit too much and crash. Third time though, I’m up and going for it.
You’re supposed to steer using your dominant leg which is at the back and holding most of your weight, but I was finding my right leg hard to steer with, so while up on my fourth shot, I decide to try and swap. Angled the board so it was straight, with my weight even, then swung the board around and had my left foot steering – which was a lot easier.
(it wasn’t until a few more rides and I was having to get back into the boat that Damo informed me that little 180 turn where I swap legs is something people normally take hours, if not sessions to figure out. And I’m doing it with nothing but instinct. Clearly I have discovered a hidden talent).
My beginners luck didn’t really help the other beginner girl though. When the other experienced girl managed to do a really good couple of trips, and the other beginner managed to get up after a few turns, she had quite a bit of pressure on her. That said, she did eventually get up and speed along the waves.
The final experience girl had her shot as we got back to shore for lunch, and while Damo changed the boat harness for the surf board, some of us had a go on paddle boats. Do NOT like these, found them really hard to balance and steer, and when we were trying to get back to shore, we had to fight the wind and current every step of the way. Just glad I never actually fell into the water.
The surfing is supposedly a lot easier than wakeboarding, though I had my doubts since I wasn’t actually stuck to the board. And I stand by that statement. Although I did manage to get up on the board, trying to steer this thing is a nightmare! The idea is to steer the board into the centre of the waves the boat is creating so you can glide along behind without any handle (which Mr. Experienced demonstrated for us all). I just could not get my board lined up and into the centre, though could get it on the outer wave a handful of times.
That said, only the experienced guys were able to pull this off. The newbie guy got very close, but its not something any of us were able to get first time in.
With the sun getting ready to set, the boat was back to shore and another attachment added. Time for the tubing. Basically grab a hold of the plastic inflatable and hold on for dear life. I haven’t done this in nearly a decade, but at least this time I’d be doing it in something warmer than a lake outside Southampton.
I had honestly forgotten how much fun this is! The boys were definitely having the most fun, grabbing the single person floats that weren’t quite big enough for them and bouncing along the waves, while another girl and I braced against each other in the large multiple person and placed aquatic conkers with the smaller inflatables. The boys inevitable fell off first. but second round had our float flying round at such speeds my entire body was only held on by the hands…which eventually gave up and sent me skipping across the lake. My lack of core strength meant getting back up was impossible, so had to go back to the boat, where we were joined by another girl on the multi (hogging the middle spot, cheater), and round 3 began. Despite desperate attempts to dislodge the boys (essentially having them all but under our float), the original girl I was sharing the float with fell, and the last round had us all swapping. New girl stayed in the middle cushioned by the boys, while the other girl and myself grabbed the smaller floats.
Which by the way are tons more fun as they go flying…but will dislodge you by choosing to hit the water upside down, which saw me fall off, followed by the other girl, and then one of the boys on the big float with a vicious turn. We all had to drag ourselves back on board…but when Damo was getting the van to drag the boat out of the water, I joined the fallen boy and tried to push the large float over…sadly didn’t work cause they were too well balanced, so jumped back on the back of the boat and kicked my legs so drench them anyway.
It was an awesome day – and really gonna have to do wake boarding again some time. Have been warned my body is going to hurt tomorrow, but totally worth it.