Friday, 10 July 2009

Challenge 1 - Keeping the Pace


Stopping for a break, we must extend the first of what will no doubt be many huge thank you's to our guides here in Namibia.

For some reason me and a few of the other lads all thought that we might lose weight on this trip. What with getting up at 6am every day, cruising into the dunes at sunrise and hurtling ourselves down the slopes all day; we all thought we'd be burning through the calories like there was no tomorrow. Out in the desert there's no corner shops, no mini-supermarkets and certainly no bars or pubs, so we all have to rely on our guides for each day to keep us fed and watered throughout.

You can dehydrate very easily out here in this arid climate, because of the cool breeze you hardly notice and our companions here keep a close eye on us to make sure we keep our energy levels up and our danger levels down. We're already pushing ourselves to the limit with this challenge, the last thing we need is to collapse from heat exhaustion.

But when I say they're looking after us, we really mean it




After the banquet we're back on it. Hard, fast and raring to go.. Higher and higher still. Raymond scouting ahead, the competition winners following close behind. We're all picking up some technique now. Of course, we have a great teacher but these boys are fast learners and they're not stopping for anyone.


We're in such a rush to get to the next big dune that we leave the boarding wax somewhere along the last stop... We've been driving for an hour, even if we could go back - we doubt very much we'd find it. The wax is a very important part - something which I'll come back to in more detail later but - it keeps the board slippery and smooth for getting the best speeds on the fine sand.

No Wax = No Speed. And suddenly, we have no wax. Damn.


Manzoor, refusing to give up, experiments with sunblock. Smearing on the underside of his board he leaps down the dunes at a lightening pace...

"Superb!" says Eric, "We have a wax replacement, come quick! Let's get boarding!"

We continue for a half hour or so more, but the sunblock is in short supply and our hunger for the next rush is relentless. As dusk begins to settle we high tail it back into town to buy some more wax and make our way back to the training slopes where we started on day one, to board the hills we know as the Moon rises above us.

Tonight we ache. But it's a good pain. Later, we dine. Then head to bed well before midnight.

It's an early start tomorrow...

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