The weekend before memorial day (Victoria Day long weekend in Canada), I went to a cancer camp to learn to surf, hosted by the Send It Foundation. I have always wanted to learn to surf, so this was a bit of a dream come true for me. The surf was freezing, but the opportunity to try was a lot of fun. I realized at the trip that I need to be in much better shape to actually surf. I need to be able to jump up into a squat position from laying down. It was a struggle, but also a motivation. It has helped to motivate me to try harder at getting my body back into physical shape. Although I had no hope of getting up on my feet, I did manage to get up onto my knees a couple of times.
Scott pointed out that I had two heads. The head behind me was my surf instructor. Note that she is wearing a full head wetsuit, cause the water was COLD. I clearly was rather focused.
After a morning playing on the surf, we went out standup paddle boarding. I had done it once before in Niagara-at-the-Lake (where the water was really warm). Here, I’m wearing a wetsuit so I don’t freeze if (when) I fall in.
I did well going down the lagoon, but then couldn’t get back. I was fighting both the wind and the current. I ended up on my stomach being pulled back by the rescue kayak. I then traded in my standup paddle board for a position as a rescuer.
This was my first time kayaking since surgery. I had no idea if I’d be able to do it all, so I was glad to be able to try it out. I actually did pretty good, but my body (especially my upper body) was tired from the morning of surfing and the standup paddle boarding.
We did a second day of surfing, and some exploration of the town of Stinson Beach, the next day – however, the professional photographer wasn’t there, so I didn’t get any nice photos.
In the end, I did manage to try out all the things I had wanted to – and it opens more doors for me. I know now that I can kayak, although I don’t think I’d be comfortable in a single kayak just yet (unless there was no wind). Back in 1999, my hubby and I spent a few days kayaking in Southern Haidi Gwaii, and have done several other sea kayak camping trips, so I was not unfamiliar with kayaking (and how to paddle correctly), mostly I didn’t know if I could do that with my post-surgery body.
I am very glad that Send It let me join them. I’m a little older than their normal crowd. There is a challenge with being diagnosed with cancer in your 40s. I’m considered a ‘Young Survivor’ from a breast cancer perspective, but a lot of the charities that provide adventures to cancer survivors use 40 as their age cut off – so they aren’t open to me – unless they make exceptions. In this case, Send It made an exception, and I am grateful for it.