People are forever going to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone – it’s exciting, it challenges you and it enables you to grow – but are you actively doing so?
If you’re up for a challenge and eager to give something new a try this summer, there is only one place on the Essex coast you should visit.
Similar to many other coastal villages, St Oysth in Essex is a quiet place, perfect for enjoying the perks of the countryside. However, the village’s newly opened water sports centre is sure to shake things up. Turning Mill Dam Lake into a floating obstacle course, Curve Wake Park offers visitors the chance to don a wetsuit and try their hand at a variety of water sports in a safe and controlled environment.
Upon arriving at Curve Wake Park, you’re instantly greeted with sunny blue skies – apparently it’s always sunny in St Oysth – and incredibly friendly staff, who all tell me they believe they have the best job in the world.
Providing wakeboarding and SUP (read: stand up paddle boarding) coaching on a one-to-one basis, the staff at Curve are all avid water sport fans. Despite being pros themselves, they make taking to the water exciting for even the most nervous of beginners.
I’m more than happy throwing myself into something I’ve never tried before, but even so, these guys made the experience an extremely enjoyable and supportive one. Even if you’re likely to be face planting the water a fair few times when you first get in – guilty.
Wakeboarding introductory sessions include both a lesson in and out of the water. Once you’ve managed to master the technique on dry land – getting onto your feet and holding the ‘frog’ position – you’ll be straight into the water to put your newly acquired skills to the test for 15 minutes.
Might not sound like long, but its definitely enough time to get your heart rate up and get you out of breathe!
Whatever your ability though – whether beginner or advanced – a lesson on one of the centre’s two System 2.0 wake cables is guaranteed to be your first of many. Driven by your instructor on the sidelines, the cables allow you to repeatedly travel backwards and forwards. This means once you’re on your feet – and have learnt how to change direction and manoeuvre around obstacles – continuous riding up and down the dam is more than possible.
To my surprise, I actually managed to pick up the technique pretty quickly and spend way more time on my feet than I expected to. I’m even told that if I came back for another go, it wouldn’t be long before I’m moving onto something a little more advanced. Progression with wakeboarding at Curve is quick, and if you’re confident riding the water back and forward, you’re likely to be moving on to tricks and obstacles in no time.
Not sure if you’ve got the co-ordination or balance needed for wakeboarding, but you’ve got pretty good grip? Fear not, as adrenaline junkies can still have exhilarating fun on a ringo inflatable – picture something similar to the inflatables that were always attached to the back of a speed boat when you were on holiday as a kid. Now this was good fun too!
So would I recommend Curve Wake Park? Yes. Would I go back again? Most definitely.