Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Windsurfing in Kamperland, Zeeland (NL)

In each country that we've lived in, there have been a select few defining and memorable moments. Learning to surf at Noosa heads and Kayaking to a secluded beach in Northern Queensland. A horseback safari and scenic flight over the Garden Route in South Africa. And now, here in the Netherlands...

Butterflies had found their way back into my stomach. "Could I do this?" I wondered, as I tugged hard on the damp wetsuit, sealing my fate with a single zip.

"Follow me, I'll take you out to the instructor." she said, her chestnut hair trailing in the harbor's mild breeze. "You'll need shoes, but I'll find you a pair once we get out there. There are sharp shells in the sand."

"Safety hazard Numero Uno." I thought, reconsidering my decision to not tell anyone where I was or what I was doing for a whole hour.

Then there was my first spill from the board, the heavy mast narrowly avoiding my head. "That was close. You want to avoid getting hit in the head." the young instructor said, informatively. Suddenly, I felt quite old as I mused about his age. "How long he could possibly have been wind surfing, anyway? What was he 12? 15?" Whatever. He obviously knew what he was talking about... and I so didn't.

At first it came easy. Then it didn't, and then it did again. The water was shallow, making it easy to repeatedly mount the board before pulling up the heavy mast. And the wind - mild for Zeeland standards - also simplified things.

An hour later I managed to stay on the board, but hadn't yet mastered turning. "Next time." I thought.

Floating on the mellow current of the Sofia Harbour for a moment, I wondered why I had waited so long to plunge into the ocean here in Zeeland. I'm a Floridian. The water is a part of me.

Water sports have never come naturally to me, but I've always loved them. So I guess it kind of feels like home now... only colder.

And where were the kids? With our babysitter, Kelly. Imagine her surprise when I returned in a wet swim suit, hair heavy with salt water. And the look on my husband's face when I told him I how I had spent the afternoon? Now that was priceless.

Kamperland's Xschool offers windsurfing lessons, kitesurfing lessons, rentals, and more. Visit their website for more information (in Dutch), or call +31(0)643875580

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