Monday, June 9, 2008

Winter's a comin'

Since warm water is no longer an option unless I take a very long and expensive trip overseas, surfing may not be on the cards for a while. My friend and I decided once that because it was the middle of winter, and we were so desperate for a surf, we would do a winter roadtrip to find some waves. We ended up at Whangamata Beach, a 2 and a something hour drive, and only staying in the water for 45min. By the time we got out of the water we couldn't move our fingers, our legs couldn't lift our feet off the sand more that an inch, and every ounce of our headspace was screaming out for warmth.
Winter, for some people, can be the season of the year that they most look forward to. For others, it's depressing. Gray skies, rain, cold, wind - you get the point. For me, surfing gives me an opportunity to relax and take my mind off everything that's going on. People sometimes say it gives them perspective. Winter has often produced itself as a great time, movies, friends, food, movies. But, sometimes tends towards a little boring when I struggle to find stuff that gives me the same adrenaline pumping feeling combined with the opportunity to relax and enjoy life.
Some might say I need to harden up and just deal with the constant icecream headaches and numb fingers but I've been thinking of some possible alternatives to swimming around in the wintery water for some waves.

Here are my ideas for some winter sports:

1. Snowboarding
So many people were on the slopes and living it up in Wanaka and Queenstown (the tourism capital of the world!) when I last went down there and the culture is similar to that of surfing. The passion, excitement and adventure that seems to go along with snowboarding makes it pretty appealing. It seems stupid that 15min up the road we have an indoor, all year round, snow mountain appropriately called "Snow Planet" that I haven't even gone to once yet.
This winter looks like it might be the winter for a road trip... 15min away.

2. Skydiving
This was by far the best extreme sport I have ever done. For my 19th birthday I had a chance to jump out of a plane with a friend in next to freezing conditions, 12,000ft above land amongst some of the greatest snowcapped mountain scenery in the world. The cost of the single jump was too much for me to jump right back in the plane and do it again, but since that jump I'm pretty mega keen to get my skydiving licence. Once you do the course you can jump without going tandum and do your own tricks etc. Definitely could be a good contender for an alternative to the winter surf.

3. Basejumping
Again, like skydiving but take the extreme level bar and raise it up 20 notches on the wall. Basejumping is the high of all highs, jumping off buildings, towers and massive cliffs. I've been watching some videos on youtube and seriously those guys are mental. I thought that jumping out of a 5m tree into water was epic... until I saw people running off cliffs and dropping thousands of feet. It is important to keep in mind though that it will be winter, having your parachute instandly freeze to ice like something out of "Day after Tomorrow" isn't always the most preferred way of dying.

4. Icefishing
Not for all people but certainly for some. Eskimos seem to enjoy themselves sitting on a block of ice in a fluffy big-foot jacket, raging icey winds and cold snow all the while peacefully relaxing with a rod in hand. I'm sure the fish from the Antarctic waters defrost after a few days. It definitely is a viable option to attempt, but personally, not for me.

5. Cross Country skiing
Now this seems to be the winter equivalent of summer runs - a favourite past time of many locals. Difficulty stands when running in snow slowly morphs into a slow jog; eventually turning into a swift sliding of the feet; hey presto! Cross Country skiing! The good thing about this is you don't seem to have to run so hard - skis glide across the snow effortlessly and thus reducing the need for so much running. Unfortunately, Cross Country skiing often does work as well on concrete. Having no snow in Auckland really does suck.

So there you have it - 5 alternatives to attempting to do a summer sport in winter. Personally I think the snowboarding might be a real contender for my winter sport alternative, but then again icefishing really does seem appealing.
What are your plans for winter? Any other good ideas for alternatives?

Song of the day - Assassin by Muse.

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