September is a sort of anniversary month for me – 2018 was the first time I got up on an SUP board. Significant for me because I am not comfortable in the water, i am not a very good swimmer, i have a healthy respect/fear of the ocean and a phobia about water closing over my head due to a near drowning as a child.
Perversely I have always wanted to learn to paddle board! The universe conspired for/against me and I had a lesson set up with Deon at La Mercy one early September morning. Could this 65 year old, overweight, less than supple body get up on the board and not fall in? I did, and exhausted but happy made my way back to shore. I could not wait to do it again – I was in love (not with Deon although he is an awesome person). Deon suggested I join the Blue Betties for coffee, muffins and companionship. I did that too, and the rest as they say, is history.
We are each others’ cheerleaders – we celebrate with the newbies when they get up for the first time, applaud when someone achieves more than they expected, and share the blessing of birdlife and the zen of a paddle in perfect conditions. We pitch up when it is windy (and curse all the way back to the beach), huddle around in winter woollies in the cold (then look smug because we have braved the elements). We do have coffee and muffins, but the Betties are about so much more.
Dan and Jade have an infectious enthusiasm for their commitment to the environment, and although it is sad to see the disrespect for our beautiful beaches and waterways, we cheerfully clean up wherever and whenever we can. The idea is not just to do this on the day, but to make it our mission to educate others on recycling, preservation of our environment, and to be more aware of the harm the products we use can have on our Blue planet. If you love what you do and the people you do it with, contentment and a sense of fulfilment is a natural progression.
Blue Betty SUP and Surf socials are my happy place, me time with women who are all individuals, but share the same purpose -Love the Ocean – Save the Ocean.
Ps, I have also tried body surfing at Addington Beach and can happily add that to my repertoire of “Brave things to do in water”
By Shaza Foulkes-Morris
Blue Betty Life