Thursday 8 December 2016

When your wife is better at something

Published 28/09/2015 | 02:30

Paddle wars: Adventure in Portugal ended in humiliation after several falls off the board
Paddle wars: Adventure in Portugal ended in humiliation after several falls off the board

I was being quite the big man. I had been stand-up paddleboarding before you see. Admittedly once, and admittedly in about four feet of very calm water at Seapoint. But still. I had done reasonably well; I felt like quite the authority. So I talked the wife into going in Portugal, assuring her it would be OK and she'd get the hang of it. I gently suggested to her that maybe she should use a wetsuit which would make her more buoyant (the "when you fall into the water" was silent.) She declined.

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So off we went. Johnny was technically an instructor but he was fairly zen in his instructing. We would go on our knees for a few minutes until we got the hang of it, he explained, and then we would stand up. It was as simple as that. As simple as falling off a log. More of which anon. I climbed on confidently and off we went. I explained to the wife as we went that apparently you weren't really supposed to move your arms, it was more about your core, so you kind of worked your body instead and ... I looked around and she had headed off. We got out a bit past the breaking waves and into calm water. We had, Johnny had assured us, perfect conditions. So we stood up. And then I fell down. I clambered back on again from the back, and off I went, gaining a bit of momentum here, righting myself after a small wave. Hey hey, I was doing it, and ... splash! My wife at this point was calmly gliding across the water with Johnny.

I should perhaps tell you about her new friend Johnny. Johnny was one of those tanned surfer types who sat smiling - and who knows? Possibly stoned - at the watersports centre on the beach. And it's easy for him to smile. What worries does he have except the tides and the wind? And Johnny is all very well now gliding along on his paddleboard. But what good is Johnny to her in the long run? Is Johnny going to bring up the kids with her? Is Johnny going to do all the boring stuff? But off she went, leaving me there climbing back onto my board. With no one even noticing that I was quite deft at getting back up on the board.

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