Paddleboarding & Marine Science Experience
Last Sunday, 20 student ambassadors from Northland high schools and NorthTec, took part in a day of paddleboarding, surfing, team-building and marine science, hosted by Tutukaka based business Sup Bro Paddleboarding.
With high tide at 9am, we met early at the Matapouri Estuary, divided into teams and after a safety briefing, headed up stream on super-sized paddleboards. When you are balanced on the same board as 6 other people with paddles, every movement affects everyone and you quickly learn to work as a team.
Once we had got the hang of the smooth water, we headed out through the waves to Matapouri Beach for some paddleboard surfing.
“Many of the students were not strong swimmers, coming from land-locked countries, but to their credit, everyone gave it a go and for many, surfing on the giant paddleboards and tipping over in the waves was the highlight of their day. “
” Getting tipped over, and riding the waves were definitely the best highlights for me! ” – Mark
“Teamwork is dream work. The trainers were very patient and gave us lots of time to use the equipment and have a great experience.” – Hillian
While at the beach, students also had the opportunity to try waka ama in a 6-man outrigger canoe, paddling out to the entrance of Matapouri Bay and looking across to the Poor Knights Islands and single person paddleboards. It was a morning of firsts for many students.
After lunch, we caught up with Luke, Outdoor Education teacher at Huanui College for some fun, team building games. Imagine guiding three blind-folded members of your team to a pile of life jackets 50 metres away without touching them or speaking, getting them to put the life-jackets on correctly and then get back to the starting point.
Students then took part in the Marine Metre Squared citizen science project surveying and recording plants and animals living in the Matapouri estuary. Jo from Sup Bro is passionate about teaching kids how to better understand and look after marine environments. Our student ambassadors found crabs, worms, shellfish and more, identifying everything from charts and recording to be uploaded later to the New Zealand wide MM2 website.
The Sup Bro team has developed an incredibly fun and educational experience for students of all ages, creating a legacy of kids with a better knowledge of water safety and respect for their marine environment.