Mickey Munoz Mongoose Cup SUP Event

Baby Beach in Dana Point has never looked more colorful.
Saturday was the Mickey Munoz Mongoose Cup SUP Event but to the untrained
eye, it looked more like a rainbow of pick up sticks flung upon the harbor, with
people standing upon them and SUP paddles in their hands. Stand up paddlers from all
walks of life flocked to the beach to showcase their finesse and learn a few SUP tips from
the pros. It was the fun stand up paddle that kicked off the this family-friendly event and I
didn’t need more than a few minutes watching before I knew I absolutely had to try
this new sport that is apparently all the rage. Little kids packed into bright orange
life jackets, parents in board shorts and Ray Bans, a few dogs perched at the nose of
the board as they glided around the bay; is there a better way to spend a sunny
First I joined a SUP clinic to get acquainted with paddle mechanics and give me a
fighting chance to preserve my self-respect and not embarrass myself too much.
Ocean safety was first and foremost. Before anyone was allowed to get his feet wet,
we had to know how to be safe. “You need to know about the boats, that you should
wear a personal flotation device, and courtesy. You’re just like a boat out there,
practically,” said event coordinator Nyle Schafhauser. With 50 “safety paddler”
experts circulating throughout the booths and clinics, there was no escaping
learning the prerequisites that allowed entry into the thrilling world of stand up
paddling. Imagining myself on the open seas, SUP paddling along breaching whales and
flipping dolphins, I held position in the sand and practiced driving the paddle with
my top hand while generating force through the torso for a powerful stroke as
instructed. It was definitely different from the raking the yard maneuver and called
new muscles to attention. Finally the magic moment was upon us and the new fleet
of stand up paddlers were released to try out the new skill. Gingerly I stepped onto
my board and felt my legs find their balance upon the water. The sun sparkled upon
the water as my board through the gentle ripples. What a glorious feeling!
Back on shore I meandered along the various booths selling the latest
products and tempting me to consider joining the ranks of the serious paddlers.
Rationalizing that this event also served as a fundraiser to benefit the Doheny
Longboard Surfing Association and the Terry Martin Medical Fund, I collected
pamphlets and visited a few more clinics. Along the way I chatted with seasoned
surfer Kat Brickner, 20, who had just participated in an SUP yoga clinic where she
used the board as a mat on the water while balancing in downward dog, warrior
pose, and planks. “It was awesome,” she said after the first lesson. It was a lot
harder that I expected. Definitely different than being on the land”. Her surfing
partner, Chris Thomas was equally impressed. “You kind of combine your surfing
skills and balancing the board with yoga, so it’s really good cross-training, When you
get too hot, you put your hands in the water and splash your face.” I ended the day
in with a satisfying Namaste and a vow to try this sport again.


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