Living in the Bay there is no need to restrict fitness activities to the gym. Water sports can be daunting if you have not tried them before but it's really worthwhile giving it a go.Rosie Dawson-Hewes goes surfing while Anita Moran tries stand-up paddleboarding.


Rosie: Surf's up

Since I moved to the Mount I've felt a combination of awe and jealousy while watching the surfers. Seeing them out there on their boards, in any weather, it's hard not to want to join them.

So join them I did, as part of Irish-born, Auckland-based surfer and artist Alex Monteith's latest performance art piece. Monteith is a photographer and videographer who teamed up with the Tauranga Art Gallery and Hibiscus Surf School to offer a free two-hour lesson to 100 beginners, in exchange for their being filmed for Surface Movements, to be included in her exhibition.

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Monteith and her team of mentors showed us everything we needed to know to get upright on our boards. We started on the sand, learning about waves, rips and general safety.

We then got taught the lingo as we stood on our landlocked boards trying to figure out if we were "natural" (right foot at the back of the board) or "goofy" (left foot to the rear).

Once we'd mastered that and the art of "popping up", which is how you get from lying on your board to standing, it was out into the whitewash for us.

There is something simultaneously calming and exhilarating about being out there, where all you can focus on is whether the next wave will be yours.

After only one afternoon in the whitewash I understand why surfers spend hours waxing lyrical about chasing the perfect wave. There's a sense of utter satisfaction and joy when you successfully pop up and I'm already counting down the days until my next lesson.

Big Wave Aotearoa is on at Tauranga Art Gallery until April 6. Surface Movements is on display now.

Anita: All aboard

It's been a while since I've done any proper exercise and a lot longer since I have been in the ocean, yet I jumped at the chance to try stand-up paddleboarding.

You often see people at the Mount on their paddleboards and it looks graceful and serene.
Needless to say I was not particularly elegant as I tried to steady myself on the inflatable board.

Stand-up paddleboarding is becoming more popular each year. Hawaiians have been using it for years as a means to keep fit when the waves are not adequate for surfing.

By using a paddleboard surfers were able to enjoy the water and obtain some exercise simultaneously. In the past several years millions of people have begun to enjoy stand-up paddleboarding (SUP).

People now engage in stand-up paddling to enjoy the water, spend time with friends, and to improve their fitness level. I was lucky to have a stand-up paddleboarding lesson with the team at East Coast Paddle, based at Pilot Bay.

My instructor, Rakena, spent an hour teaching me how to paddle, stand up on the board, how to turn and how to try to maintain my balance.

Paddleboarding can provide you with a great overall workout. You will make use of balance and strength in order to remain upright and propel yourself efficiently in the water.

The level of intensity depends on your location.

If you are paddling in the ocean and there are a lot of waves and an ocean current, your workout will be intense.

If you are simply drifting in relatively placid waters, it will not be so hard-core. With paddleboarding almost every muscle in the body is used at some point.

A large part of SUP is balance. Your leg muscles will be hard at work attempting to maintain your balance.

In addition, paddling uses the arms, back, and shoulders to propel the paddleboard in the water. The core back and abdominal muscles are constantly at work to maintain your balance.

After my one-hour paddleboarding session I could feel muscles which I hadn't used in a while but I was left feeling relaxed and yet full of energy.

I'm not yet ready to face the waves on the beach but paddle boarding is definitely something I would do again and on a regular basis.


Other water workout ideas
Kayaking
Work those biceps and triceps. Go sea kayaking around the Mount or discover the thrill of kayak fishing and catch your own dinner, or take a scenic tour on Lake Maclaren.

Diving
Take a Padi course in an indoor pool then undertake a real dive in Bay waters.

Aqua Aerobics
Feel the burn of exercise without the pain in a class at Greerton Pools.

Kite surfing
Fergusson and Kulim Parks are the places to be on windy days. Kitesurfing is great for toning arms and windsurfing all round for core, thighs, glutes and arms. Learn to kite or windsurf with the team at Elements Watersports, Kulim Park.

Hot Pools
Okay, it is not quite exercise, but there are health benefits to bathing in mineral saltwater. Try Fernland Spa, where you can bathe in your own private spa or in the main pool.