Windsurfing in the Han River
I am not adventurous. I am not sporty. But somehow, I decided to try out windsurfing with the Yeoksam Global Village Center last Thursday. (The class was free and Alex was curious about windsurfing, so I was the guinea pig!) It was a cloudy, chilly day and it was drizzling when I met up with the group of 10 brave souls (maybe I should use “brave Seouls” ha…ha) near Mangwon Station. Together we took a local bus to the Han River and walked down to “Hangang Dreams” water sports center. We donned life jackets and walked down to the dock. Our instructor barely spoke any English, but luckily our Yeoksam Global Village guide translated for us! The instructor first demonstrated how to get on the board (much narrower than I expected!), paddle, stand up, and rock the board back and forth. He also demonstrated how to pull himself back onto the board after falling off. Then it was our turn!
There were motorboats (towing inflatable tubes, etc) coming and going from the same dock, so the waves were pretty big at times. But, it was not too hard to balance on just the board. The sail was a whole other story… After we all gave the board a try, the instructor then attached the sail to the board, and showed us how to pull the sail up from the water. IT WAS VERY HEAVY! And unwieldy! You really had to be careful how you pulled the sail up, otherwise the weight might knock you off the board. And once you had the sail in your hands, it was difficult to balance with the sail and also on the board. None of us mastered how to change positions (go on the other side of the sail, since the mast always has to face the front of the board) so we couldn’t turn the board. One girl kept on going in the same direction, very far away from the dock. A boat had to be dispatched to bring her back!
When it was my turn to surf with the sail, I did pretty well going in the same direction. But the instructor yelled for me to “change direction” and I couldn’t move around the sail and fell in the water. And climbed back up. And pulled up the (water-laden) sail. And fell into the water. And again and again. I drank so much Han River water… Ugh! In the end, I had to paddle back with the board and sail in tow. It was quite a workout!
It was a great opportunity to try windsurfing AND it was free thanks to the Global Center! Most of us agreed that we would try windsurfing again, but we’d wait for a warmer day. I would also pick a place that only offers windsurfing (away from motorboats). Or, maybe I’ll just sit on the dock and watch Alex give it a try…