Paddle pushing gains ground in sun-kissed Cebu
YOU’VE tried everything in Cebu — visited the sites, seen the beaches, swam the waters, explored the islands and discovered the underwater treasures.
But have you tried exploring Cebu via Stand Up Paddle (SUP)?
If you find island hopping on a boat as “so old-school,” the SUP offers another way of seeing Cebu: gliding on water on your feet, on a long board with a paddle.
While Siargao is known for surfing, Cebu’s SUP pioneer Buzzy Budlong wants Cebu to be known for its SUP.
“When you want to explore the seas of Cebu, this is the way to do it. If you want something new to do in Cebu, then do SUP. See you on da water,” says Budlong with a rasta vibe.
But why would anyone we want to get on a board, question his sense of balance, and even risk drowning just to paddle in the Cebu sea?
“Why not?” says Budlong of outdoor adventure firm Island Buzz.
“Do stand up paddle for the sheer fun it brings. Apprehensions are actually brought about by the fear of falling. But falling is inevitable. If you fall, our natural tendency is to float back up. Once you have fallen off your boards, it will help eliminate the fear of falling into the sea because you will realize that the water is not your enemy and that it is actually fun to splash around” he says.
It’s all about balance
Still, many are apprehensive that they won’t be able to balance when doing SUP. They’d wonder, “How the heck do you balance on a slab of wood, on the water?”
Remember Jack of Titanic? He died because he can’t get on that freakin wooden board!
In Stand Up Paddle, balance is key, and Budlong will show you how. It’s inevitable to fall into the seawater. You have no choice but to get back up, find your balance and paddle on, just like life, says Budlong.
Back to the sea
One of Budlong’s advocacies in introducing this sport is to get Cebuanos back into the water.
“It is ironic that we are in an island, the beaches are just minutes away from the city, yet a huge number of Cebuanos are scared of the water,” he says.
Budlong and his crew, the Sea Warriors, want Cebuanos to use the waters around them as their playground, and feel the wind on their skin, the salt in their hair.
“We want the Cebuanos to develop their sea sense and to have a better judgment of sea conditions and, of course, water safety,” he says.
By next year, they will be coasting on their stand up paddle boards around schools in the coastal areas to hold clinics to school kids.
“We want kids and all Cebuanos to get into the water and not be scared of it,” he said. “It is really time for Cebuanos to get back to the sea.”
What to do on a paddle board
Apart from being able to navigate the seas toward nearby islands, there are a lot of things that can be done on an SUP board:
Island-hopping. In the absence of a banca or kayak and you need to get to another island, one can use the SUP board. Seriously. Budlong and his crew once did Panglao to Balicasag on SUP boards one fine day in Bohol.
For rescue. Budlong says in rescue situations in sea mishaps, one can use the SUP board to search for survivors. “You will have a better line of vision compared to being on a kayak or banca, because you are standing up,” Budlong said.
Exercise. If doing the regular poses aren’t hard enough, Plantation Bay Resort and Spa has offered Yoga on an SUP board in the resort. Jenifer Rodriguez-Martinez, who leads the group of yoga insructors in the weekly event said doing yoga on an SUP board gives the practitioners additional challenge in doing the poses.
Bonding. An SUP board can actually accommodate two people and you can spend quality time together gliding on the water.
Surfing lessons. A lot of people go to Siargao to surf and spend quite a lot on getting lessons. Getting yourself to stand and balance on an SUP is actually the basics of surfing. “So before going to Siargao, they might want to try SUP first, just to get a feel of how it feels to surf,” said Budlong. (MCB)
(Stand Up Paddling is offered by Island Buzz and at Plantation Bay Resort.)
Basic SUP stuff
Longboard. It serves as your vessel. And you are the captain of that vessel.
Oar or paddle. It is your steering wheel. It is what propels you from point A to point B.
Safety belt. Wrapped around one leg, the safety belt is hooked to a line that’s connected to the board, so you won’t drift away should you fall.
Buzzy Budlong stresses that their main concern in doing the SUP is safety. And paddlers need to follow these simple instructions to a T, especially when paddling long distances:
* Join an organization, whose main concern is safety
* Always stay with the group that you are with
* Always wear your personal floating device or life jacket
Paddling with benefits
Apart from enjoying the seas, Budlong says the more you try doing the SUP, the more it develops your sense of balance, and you will be more cautious about safety.
Health-wise, paddling and trying to balance on a slab of wood is a great aerobic exercise and it helps develop your muscles as well.
Balancing act: SUP 101
1. Sit on the board and put the leash on your ankle
2. Get in the middle part of the board and sit on your knees
3. Hold your paddle/oar with both hands
4. Use your knuckles to push yourself up to stand
5. Gather yourself, check your balance
6. Look straight. Don’t look down
7. Micro-bend knees if needed