Note: This was written pre-COVID-19. Whilst things still remain relatively teh same a few things have had to change in the short term. But the principles are unwavering.
Words: Tez Plavenieks
Pics: Tez Plavenieks, Fi Plavenieks, James Jagger, Nick Kingston, Sportography.tv
We’ve touched on the topic of lifestyle before in SUPM but how this plays out for each individual who do see and act on stand up as a lifestyle can be very different. To highlight this further SUPM’s editor, Tez Plavenieks, talks about stand up paddling, how this fits his and his family’s lifestyle as well as watersports on a wider scale.
Wake around 6am, usually by the chattering of my youngest (2yrs) Oscar who tends to open lids at first light. Get dressed groggily trying not to wake the others – my wife and 5yr old daughter. Grab Oscar and head off on the morning coffee run whilst using this up early to check conditions on the ground/beach.
Drive to said beach and observe conditions. Cross reference this with forecast data, for both wave and wind, across a number of different websites. Thought process already whirring into action; a plan of attack being made. What kit needs checking off as far as photos go; what gear needs a further runs out to assess wider performance and accurately create a test report? Do I need to swap equipment currently in my van with something different based on the conditions and how the weather will pan out on this particular day? Is Oscar happy? What strength coffee am I in need of? Head to coffee shop and gorge on caffeine.
Post-coffee run and everyone’s now up and at ‘em so get washed, dressed and ready for school/nursery. Anyone who knows/follows me on social will be aware there’s an added complication with my daughter’s health following a liver transplant and ongoing management of this. Meds need to be administered and depending which parent is on nursery run, leaving slightly earlier, will determine who gives Molly her drugs.
Quickly rejig the van with equipment and head off. Usually, it’s me taking little one to nursery. Drop him, say goodbye then boot it back to the beach, perhaps stopping briefly for some food fuel. Arrive on the sand and quickly take stock. Are conditions on forecast? If so, grab piece of gear according to Mother Nature’s mood (remember this isn’t just SUP. It could also be windsurfing as we have another publication in the mix that needs to be kept on top of). Rig up/prepare kit (as quick as poss – no time for dawdling). Head out on said piece of gear and stomp the session. After around an hour it’s back to beach to pack up and head to office.
Once in front of laptop wade through reams of emails, reply to urgent messages and then check plan. Next steps are either edit articles (text and image docs), review proofs, create/write content and communicate with rest of team. Field any issues and then move on to website/social media stuff. Give any new comments/engagements a once over and reply if necessary, check website performance via Analytics and then begin web content uploads and social media management.
Stop quickly for more coffee and another glance at the forecast. Have things changed? If so, do I need to readdress my plan of attack? Check calendar for anything else pressing needing attention through the day: brand liaison, meetings, follow up calls and so on. Crack on with web content uploads and/or creating something new for digital.
Around lunchtime (noon) check weather situation and decide upon next move. If weather’s playing ball then head back to beach. If not, decide to hold fire and complete more work. Should the latter be the case then keep a keener eye on weather buoys and as soon as things look good it’s green light it to the water. Arrive back at beach and assess briefly. Grab next piece of kit and head out. In some cases there may have been a plan to meet up with my photographer for non-POV action cam shots. If no photog on the ground then it’s usually a GoPro moment.
Post-another hour or so on high tail it back to office stopping for further foody fuel. Afternoon’s usually entail more computer work, and communication with the various brands/companies we deal with for both SUP and windsurfing plus applicable accessories. Have another peruse of forecast sites, in particular looking at data for follow on days and into the next week. Start to formulate plans for these periods. Also make a plan for late afternoon on this particular day.
Towards 4pm look once again at weather buoy live readings and maybe check our local beach webcam. Decide on whether to hit the beach once again or hold off (by now I’m usually feeling tired). If it looks good then a quick boot to the beach and get a final sesh of the day in, maybe getting more pics and/or thoughts for final review/test report. If I don’t head back to water then tick off (time allowing) more general article/mag tasks.
Head to nursery pick up and then home. If it’s summer decide on whether to spend time with kids at the beach or do something else. For times when conditions allow get them on/in the water. If winter then get involved in a different activity, usually indoors or simply go for a wintry walk.
Once kids are in bed check emails once more, and decide if anything urgent. If so, reply. If magazine deadline approaching then look at article proofs and fine tooth comb. Around 7:30pm eat dinner with wife before crashing out on sofa. Just before bed check forecast sites one last time for the ‘morrow and then sleep.
With Saturday rolling round it’s foot off the gas in terms of computer/emails and such like with time spent at the beach focused on family. If weather looking good then kiddy windsurf/SUP/surf/kayak time. If not good for the beach then other activities, such as woody walks, scooting or skateboarding usually being the order of the day. Fit in some reading/drawing/colouring play time as well for the kids.
Lunchtime usually sees our youngest have a nap so at this point it’s usually me heading out on the water for some personal riding while he sleeps. My wife usually gets a go in the afternoons (sometimes mornings), should conditions be applicable.
Afternoons usually comprise of more activities before a little tipple at one of our favourite ale houses. We may possibly do dinner out as well if everything aligning. Then back home for bath time and bed. If on water looking particularly good then I may squeeze an evening session in on either Sat or Sun. In summer this isn’t a problem as far as light goes but winter can make sundowners tricky (although I’ve been known to go out in the dark before!).
As you can see mine and my family’s whole life revolves around playing in the sea and the coast. Of course, this has to balance with everyday chores and responsibilities, which is no different to others. For us, however, it’s about making SUP fit into our lives whichever way possible thereby making it a lifestyle more than anything else. It certainly helps living on the coast and being an active family. But where there’s a will there’s a way. How does SUP into your life? And if this is obsession then I’m all for it…