When you’re asked to teach in the Guadeloupe islands in the French Caribbean – always say yes! It was a treat to lead a private SUP, SUP Yoga, and SUP Fitness Certification for two lovely ladies who work on a yacht. Paddleboarding will be an added amenity for their guests. It was quite the contrast from cold, wintery weather at home to the balmy weather and waters of Le Gosier, Guadelope. I packed my Paddle Into Fitness Yoga & Fitness board, travel Kioloa paddle, and travel anchors. There were no additional charges for my gear on Delta Airlines and Air France. It was super easy. I checked everything into my final destination Pointe A Pitre, Guadeloupe. If you are looking to visit the island, there are direct flights from Miami International Airport.
It was a smooth, relaxing flight, and the views of the island from the plane were amazing – torquise waters surrounding a green mountainous island. I landed and within minutes was whisked away to meet the ladies at the harbor. We tossed my gear in their car and were off to the beach. We wound through a few narrow streets, came to a residential area, parked, and got ready to paddle. It was typically a locals spot because we got lots of onlookers and people stopping to ask us what we were doing, in French. Paddleboarding is still quite novel on the island. Thank goodness for the semester of French I took in high school. It was just enough to help me get by. We warmed up, practicing our French, while pumping up our inflatable paddleboards.
As an instructor, you have to be prepared, flexible, and love the conditions. Prepare for anything and everything as weather conditions can always change. Be flexible in what you are teaching whether it is a yoga sequence, workout class, or taking people on a tour. Adjust to the needs of the group. If they are beginners, ease them into the sequence, class, or tour so they have a postive first experience and can’t wait for more. When it is an advanced group, challenge them. Lastly, love the conditions PIF instructors for your own training. I encourage you to paddle in all types of weather not just when the water is still, calm, and glassy. This helps you to build your confidence and really dial in your technique. Remember, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”
Day one we built a solid foundation with the PIF beginner SUP lesson and got to check out the inlet. We laughed so much practicing our rescues and concluded with a sunset paddle. Some nasty noseeums swarmed on us as soon as the sun went down and we got out of there as fast as we could. They then dropped me off at my hotel which just so happened to be less than five minutes away, on the east side of the inlet. We conveniently used the beach hotel for our SUP yoga and SUP Fitness training. There was an outrigger canoe rental company on the beach where we were able to store our boards and we went to the beach cafe for our working lunches.
We had the place all to ourselves except for the occational takeoffs and landings of a seaplane. The weather was warm and dry with temperatures in the mid-80s every day and the water was also in the 80s. It was so comfortable that they tried more challenging yoga poses like headstands and arm balances, and got pretty daring with the one-leg paddling drills and drafting. The training was a lovely working holiday for all of us. We enjoyed the Caribbean Christmas songs playing in the cafe along with surfer Santas and candycanes decorating the beach.
If you ever go to Guadeloupe, remember to pack your sunscreen, bring some Euros in case the airport bank is closed, and have some basic French phrases to help you get around. Thank you Paddle Into Fitness for sending me. Thank you Dani and Georgia for making time in your busy schedule to get certified, and last but not least thank you Jaiven Skin for protecting our skin and keeping the reef safe!