The Hard Road to the Mauritius Ocean Classic

Paddle paddle paddle..... practice helps prepare for big paddling goals

Paddle paddle paddle..... practice helps prepare for big paddling goals

It’s now only five weeks until Nat and I board a plane for Mauritius. The past five months have been intense, as I’ve attempted what last December seemed impossible – lose weight, get fit, and learn to paddle a surfski well enough to survive the 28km ocean race that is the Mauritius Shamaal.

It hasn’t been an easy road. In the first four months I lost 25 kgs, through a combination of diet and exercise. That’s some serious weight, and for those that were close to me, they know how hard I had to work to get it off. This included hours each week in the gym, foresaking all food of any remote flavour and all alcohol, and a seriously tough core-strengthening regime that involved many painful sessions with kettle bells.

It also meant time in a surfski, with the Stellar SR my ride of choice. I’ve fallen off her maybe a hundred times. I’ve paddled her across rivers, lakes, bays and on the ocean. I’ve learned to catch runners and surf breakers, and even learned how to keep upright when side-surfing (well, sometimes!).

I have no idea if I’m close to being prepared enough for Mauritius. I’ve had no-where near enough time on the ocean, and long hours in a new job are preventing me from training as much as I’d like. Still, in 5 weeks time I’ll be going, so I guess time will tell.

It’s a good thing to set yourself big challenges. Whether you achieve them or not is irrelevant, but if you never try to achieve something really hard, you’ll never get to achieve something really hard! Get out there and give it a go. Cheers, FP

The Fat Paddler by Sean Smith