Girl’s SUP Out!
“There may be no better weekend for a woman, than a “girl’s weekend”. Combine that with SUP, the wild outdoors, loads of coffee by day, and wine by night and most gals are already packing their bags for what’s known as the REI Outessa Women’s Adventure Summit.
A unicorn in a field of horses, is the REI Outessa event. A first of it’s kind. Sure, there have been many women’s retreats focusing on one or two different styles of adventures, but Outessa is the first to offer almost every outdoor activity you can imagine to bring the active-minded women of world together for 3 solid days of fitness, fun, and food!
It all began in what I found to be a hidden gem in the SUP world, known as Silver Lake in Kirkwood, California, on cool, summer-y, “feel the wind in your hair” kind of morning. 10 giddy girls hit the water with myself and fellow BiC SUP Ambassador Julie Roach for some of what I call, “Active Relaxation”. Active Relaxation integrates movement and activity on calm, glassy waters invoking a blissful relaxation all throughout their overworked and underpaid bodies and minds.
Women from every phase of life and every genre possible, made the pilgrimage from across the country to this pristine mountain town – doctors, stay-at-home moms, college undergrads, wanderers, adventure junkies, meditative yogis, and even some mermaids like myself immediately became a female family of escapees from life’s daily grind.
With waters that resembled a real life fairytale, we started the ladies with the basics of getting on the board and watched as euphoric smiles spread across their face. Next, we fashioned them a lovely paddle stroke to ignite their core, and reveal to them the secret of making SUP a core exercise. After some distance utilizing their new stroke and “Feeling their core like never before”, we customized their experience on the water with variations of exercises, from yoga to pilates, to the not-so-standard “burpees” and everything in between.
(If you’re interested in learning more about SUP Fitness and how to blast your metabolism out on the water, check out my other article on Metabolism Boosting Pushup’s on your SUP HERE.)
Finally we sent them into some relaxing stretches, and a gentle restorative pose called Savasana or “Relaxation Pose” to let them float on the silvery waters and feel nature caress their skin. For more ways you can blast your metabolism on a SUP, check out my article HERE.
Each class was designed according to our audience and was custom-tailored the request of the ladies. We wanted their experience on the water to be precisely what they had desired to learn, and yet far exceed their expectations.
We introduced the rookie to what it felt like to stand on water. We enlightened the SUP enthusiast to some new paddle techniques. We seasoned the seasoned paddler with some spicy stroke training to bring more juicy speed to their cadence.
And if only I had a dollar for every wide-eyed, enchanted smile I saw that first day on the water….as well as the enchanted opportunity to watch our friend, the bald eagle, show up to perch firm amongst the noble evergreen trees. Speaking of the majestic and noble evergreens, something about the way they reached elegantly to the mountain-ness sky made me want to stand taller as well, on my SUP.
I found myself in a very honored state of mind to not only experience the wonder of nature in the mountains of Cali, but to also witness new relationships blossom, between women who had never met before, but seemed to re-connect on some level somehow. I smiled as existing friendships dug deeper roots through the water that brought them together. Laughter, cheers of encouragement, and sighs of long-held stress through SUP Yoga became decadent medicine for these women of all walks of life.
Did you miss Outessa? Want to catch the next one scheduled for 2017, but looking to see what to expect? Here is a sampling of just what a typical day could look like:
Wake up with unlimited coffee, including Nitro Cold Brew from Taylor Made coffee.
Hit up an early morning mountain run, or perhaps the morning meditation session to calm your body for the days activities.
All-inclusive hot breakfast served in front of warm fire pits blanketed by mountains (did I mention unlimited coffee?)
Start the day’s first activities (preferably with SUP since the water is quiet,calm, and fabulous in the morning).
Gain some major swag (free, mind you) at all the many booths set up in the REI village.
Lunch is prepared and served and again all-inclusive! (More unlimited coffee? Yes please!)
Out and about for afternoon activities or go out on your own, take a snooze, catch up on some reading lounging in a hammock, or sign up for more SUP!
Dinner served under the setting sun as the fire pits are lighted once again and free wine begins to flow.
Keep the wine flowing or grab a s’more (yes they are all Natural and gluten free too) and cuddle up as some wonderful speakers take to the stage to entertain and teach you about a variety of topics.
Get to bed early! More of the same tomorrow so get your 8 hours!
If you’re interested in adding some adventure to your schedule and learning more about REI’s Outessa Retreats, click HERE.
Written by: Jodelle Fitzwater, Pro BIC SUP Ambassador and REI Outessa Instructor