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In April 2016, I saw an announcement on Social Media for a Juice PLUS+ competition where the prize was a long weekend in Gran Canaria. I would get an hour’s training in Stand Up Paddle (SUP) from surf legend Björn Dunkerbeck, 42 times world champion, and VIP spectator entry for the European Championships. Sounded great. All I had to do was to post a picture showing me following my active and healthy lifestyle so I thought that was easily done. I got my wife Anne-Margaret to take a picture of me on the bike at the spinning class wearing my bright Juice PLUS+ cycling shirt as usual. I posted the photo and immediately forgot all about it.
However, I was very pleasantly reminded of it again when, to my great surprise, my name was called from the stage at the Nordic Conference in September. I was the winner from the Nordic region. Fantastic! I was going to have an amazing weekend in the sun in Puerto de Mogan in December, away from cold and grey Denmark and the Christmas rush. Dream come true!
SUP surfing means Stand Up Paddle board, and though it is neither as complicated as wind surfing or regular wave surfing, it is not easy. Keeping your balance and paddling as hard as you can is not an easy combination. So it was a challenge for me. Being almost 2 meters tall, balancing is not easy.
We were a group of 12, 7 competition winners and five spouses and children, from Germany, Belgium, Mallorca, Italy, the UK and me from Denmark. We met at the hotel lobby of a beautiful 4-star hotel to make it to the beach for training with Björn Dunkerbeck. Björn is half Danish so it was fun to be able to talk to him in Danish. He was so laid-back and friendly. The weather was gorgeous and the water 21 degrees. Fine for SUP surfing. After our lesson and instructions on the beach, we were let loose on the water in the sheltered bay. A few (=many) falls later, we finally ended up spending most of the time upright.
Although we had originally thought we would be spectators the next day, we got a surprise. It turned out we had been entered into the race in the “Promo” class especially for newbies. Nerve-wracking, but Björn assured us we could do it so nothing for it but to give it a go. Fortunately it was low tide so we had to stay in the protected bay due to rocks that were dangerous to pass at low tide. But it was tough enough. Four taxing rounds, each including a run on the beach carrying your board. I didn’t win, but it was fun to participate. Two of the Juice PLUS+ girls from our group took prizes in the ladies’ class though.
After the races a delicious paella was served on the beach.
This was a weekend of surprises. In the evening there was a medal ceremony at the hotel when the winning girls in our group got up on the podium to receive their medals. And then Björn said how proud he was that this was a sport for all ages. He called some young children and then my name as the oldest to come forward and be recognised. It felt a bit strange being hailed as the oldest, but I was quite proud to be mentioned. Björn’s point was that anyone can do this!
The rest of the time was spent watching the races, sunning, swimming and borrowing boards for at bit of fun in between the races.
In total this was a really great experience. The atmosphere was unsurpassed. Everybody so friendly and relaxed. We made good friends with the other members of the group and we hope to stay in contact. Finally, a huge thank you to Juice PLUS+ for making this possible. Just simply the best company to be associated with.
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