Northern Beaches residents love their water sports. With idyllic beaches a-plenty, many of us hit the waves for a body bash, surf or swim to keep fit.
But what if you want to stay fit and enjoy the ocean with a little more zen in mind, and a safe space from the maddening crowds? Here’s a few great experiences where we’ve found peace:
Sunrise SUP, Manly
Join the gorgeous Vikki from She SUPS for a sunrise tour in Manly. At 5.30am you can join Vikki and a group of ocean-loving local paddlers for an hour of calm paddling and nature spotting as the sun rises over Manly. The group arrives at 5.25am to be on the water for 5.30am where they spend a relaxing 60 mins on the water looking out for other early risers such as dolphins, seals, turtles and little penguins!
They always make sure they are back by 6.30am so you have plenty of time to shower, change and head to work. The tour costs $45pp with board hire included or just $15pp for BYO board.
For Vikki, SUP is a great way to find Zen. “Being on the water helped me process working in a toxic corporate environment, life struggles, loneliness, being away from family and living with anxiety,” she says.
“Through SUP I gained strength, learnt new skills, and found my identity. Being on the water helped me create a stronger connection to country, build friendships and connect with and learn from Mother Nature.”
Indeed, a trial of one of Vikki’s tours last week left me feeling extremely Zen, but it was a work out too. SUP boarding requires a lot of balance which uses your all-important core muscles, leaving you feeling worked- and blissed- out.
Vikki also offers one-on-one lessons and group trips.
For more info visit: www.shesups.com.au/sunrise-sup-manly
Buy your own SUP
For those who have found their feet on a SUP, Vikki recommends a Red Paddle Co paddleboard as they’re inflatable, so you can make the most of these boards home or away!
For more info visit:https://redpaddleco.com/en-au/
Editor’s note: For an all-gender SUP play or those wanting to double up on their “Zen workout” check out FlowMOcean, a Manly-based SUP Yoga, Kayak Yoga and Beach Yoga business that leaves from Manly Cove. I first tried SUP Yoga as part of a team building exercise with the agency I worked with last year and enjoyed the challenge, the view and the riotous laughter when coworkers fell off their boards mid tree stance. Laughing is excellent for your core….
Kayaking and Yoga on The Spit
Join Kate and husband Shannon at Sydney Harbour Kayaks, at The Spit Bridge for a range of options for you to Zen-out on the water.
From about $25 you can rent a kayak and experience the beauty of Middle Harbour. Or, you can opt for a special guided experience with the lovely and super-serene Kate.
We tried their Mini Wellness Retreat, which costs $80 for three hours and includes a morning of kayaking plus yoga and a healthy morning tea (delicious homemade wholemeal spelt muffins, fruit, coconut water).
Here’s a time capsule where you can forget all those to-do lists, and really focus on the present as you kayak to a secluded beach for an hour of yoga with an experienced yoga teacher, stopping for a guided meditation on the way. It’s the ultimate way to relax and recharge.
After this retreat, I felt more flexible and toned from yoga plus the kayak gave my core and upper body a solid workout too. All while taking in the sights of the Spit.
Kate bakes the muffins herself and, as a cookbook author, foodie and nutritionist I can say with some authority – she’s one of the best healthy bakers out there!
If yoga’s not your thing, you can also try a Sydney Harbour Kayaks Eco Tour, which runs for four hours and costs $135.
Here you’ll learn something about the natural and social history of the area from a friendly guide as you paddle through differing environments – from affluent urban to the remote natural bushland of the Garigal National Park.
As civilisation slips away, the true beauty of the harbour and its wildlife will open up before you. Soak up the serenity while you enjoy a comforting morning tea (cheeses, dips, crackers, fruit, coffee, tea, biscuits) served at a secluded spot, only accessible by kayak.
“There’s no better place to find Zen than from a kayak in the idyllic surrounds of picturesque Sydney Harbour,” says Kate.
“With no motor to spoil the serenity, paddling a kayak allows for true escapism as you really feel at one with the water.”
For more info visit www.sydneyharbourkayaks.com.au
Transparency check ✓ This is a non-sponsored, genuine review. It was based off a mix of experiences, some self-funded and others provided as a free trial for review.