What a day to learn to kayak!

This morning I embarked on another great Groupon deal and adventure.  This time with Toronto Adventures and their Learn to Kayak along the Humber River.  Good thing it was an early start for a Sunday because it sure was a hot one today.  Plus it’s was a new sport, didn’t want to be the one to tip and that lifejacket really kept me hot, I mean safe.  But it was all really great.

It really was a perfect day for this (though hot, but helped with sweating off the calories)  I set out with a friend and about 15 new acquaintances and a couple of great instructors (Patrick and Will) down the Humber River.  Started out right below the Old Mill TTC station.  Great to find something like this that I can actually get to by transit, just not on Sunday mornings.

It is amazing to me how all the various paddling and rowing sports can be so different.  After being a competitve rower for so many years, it really didn’t help my kayaking at all.  Other than maybe a better understanding of balancing and how to steer.  But all these paddling sports are unique and take some time to learn.

We slowly made our way down the river and got to see parts of the river and the city that I’d never seen before.  Who knew there was a Humber River Yacht club, or that some of those houses along the river were so incredible, plus as the big bonus being in nature from this vantage point.  All of this, right here in my city.  We saw a white heron (not the correct name for it), some geese, and a few other birds.  Previously, we were told that they have seen beavers, deer and turtles.  Who knows, there might have been more to see, but I was concentrating on what I was doing probably more than I needed to.

I did get the hang of it.  I know that I will be sore tomorrow or the next day.  But it was quite simple and very relaxing.  For me I wanted to learn so that one day I can try it in the ocean and in various places around Canada and the world.  It is a great way to get a new perspective on a place you already know or somewhere you are just getting to know.

Toronto Adventures is a great group.  You can rent their equipment at various waterfront places in Toronto.  I saw them yesterday at Sunnyside Beach in the west end beaches and they are at the Humber River by Old Mill TTC Station.  You can also connect with them in the east end on the Rouge River, in the beaches and even paddle into Ontario Place for concerts.  Wouldn’t that be nice.

I will definitely be giving kayaking a try again.  Thanks Toronto Adventures and Groupon for another great new opportunity/adventure in my city.

Great day for Stand Up Paddle Boarding on Lake Ontario!

What a great way to start the week!  First thing this Monday morning, I attempted to try some stand up paddle boarding down at Kew-Balmy Beach in the east end beaches of Toronto.  I’m not going to lie, I fell in the drink a few times, got frustrated, but got back on and I enjoyed myself.

It’s really thanks to Groupon for putting together these great deals with various groups and sharing them with me.  I would never have known that this was possible in Toronto.  I remembered seeing it in Maui last year and of course seeing all the various stars like Cameron Diaz and Kate Hudson doing it, but who knew you could do it in Toronto.

This Groupon was with the lovely team at SUPGirlz.  Definitely click on the link and check them out.  Janna was our instructor this morning and she was very patient and helpful with me.  I’m not the best at balancing in perfect conditions on solid ground, so this was definitely a challenge.  I’ve always found I have trouble finding my centre of gravity with my disproportionate body (long legs, short torso and very tall).  Plus tensing up didn’t help the situation.  But after a few drops to the knees, a few dumps into the water (one dismount was very impressive from what I understand) and a change of boards, I think that I started to get the hang of it.  As you can see from the pic, I’m wet, but starting to look stable (this was near the end).  As I’ve been told, as a joke, by various coaches in my sporting life, as long as you look good.  I think that I’m playing the part well in this pic.

Wet, but still smiling!

Let me tell you, that with some practice I think that I could get this.  Definitely want to figure it out before I go to Maui again one day.  Lots of time before that will happen though.

My experience was a great one.  Believe me, no one else was in the water as much as me and some never went in once.  This is an enjoyable sport to try.  If you have some good balance and know your centre of gravity, you will pick it up right away and you can choose when you dump in to cool off.  And even if you don’t, you will pick it up and it can be very relaxing (I understand).

SUPGirlz can help you get started.  Contact them for a great intro deal.

Thanks SUPGirlz and Groupon for opening my eyes to great things I can do in my own city.  Looking forward to my next Groupon activity this Sunday – Intro to Kayaking and a trip down the Humber River.  I’ll tell you how that goes.  Hopefully that one will be much drier.  Don’t want to fall into the Humber.  Not as clean as the east beaches of Toronto.