LAYING about on a Te Awanga beach, I witnessed a pair of windsurfers in distress.
Somehow they'd both lost their sails. In desperation, the men dislodged their sail-less masts and, still standing on their boards about 50m out, used the masts to paddle their way back to shore.

As they came into focus, I realised I'd misread the scenario completely.
They were in fact of the unusual paddle-boarding ilk.

Of all the advances we've made in the pursuit of leisure, this latest in watersport incarnations needs to be smartly relegated to the same forgotten backroom as wine cooler and those awful plastic polytetrafluoroethylene non-stick barbecue grill mats.

Unsuccessful in negotiating the final waves, the two were thrown from their boards.
Ironically, this was their crowning moment. When Tangaroa understandably turfed them off in the surf disgusted, they were at least, sort of, not paddle-boarding but surfing.

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Indeed, the act of falling was infinitely more dignified than staying atop their boards.
I mean, what's the allure? Is it the minimal control? The ability to travel single propulsion at super slow speed or, compared with sitting in a kayak, does the standing elevation make the chiropractor visits completely worth it?

Perhaps, instead of Tangaroa, it was in fact the Inuit sea god Aipaloovik (whose followers invented the kayak) who'd barrelled them.

Friendly chaps, the two introduced themselves as visitors from Greece. Obviously then, it was the other sea deity, Poseidon, responsible for the scuppering.

I watched with mild jealousy as they headed back to sea, wobbling like two graceless gondoliers in boardshorts towards the Cape.