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The clock is ticking

15 March 2007

Session three began with all the promise of the end of session two. Pushed off, nice and high, pump pump pump, yeah! Then I did it again! Yeah! Got it! Then I tried four times in a row and didn't get past halfway. 'What the heck am I doing wrong Danny?'


Danny Loo, stood at the side with video camera in hand, shrugged his shoulders. 'Not sure mate.' Danny had been with me during session one at Bray Lake. We're never going to talk about what happened there again. It was that bad. This bloke, record-breaking skateboarder, reckons he can AquaSkip across the Channel. 'Fair enough,' Danny had said (or at least he'd said something similar to that), he'd been with me for pretty much the entire BoardFree extravaganza, and he knew that sheer bloody-mindedness would probably get me through. Until Bray Lake. That first push off. 'Why are you calling this BounceFree?' they asked, 'try SinkFree Dave, it's more appropriate.'


'You just wait and see,' I said, gulping. 'You just wait and see.'

And Danny could see the progress. Now he was gulping. Well, at least for the first two goes. Then I lost the rhythym and floundered about for a little while, and he was able to be smug again. So I got him on it. This was his first go, he'd been too much of a wussy that first time with the cold water all around. Now, in the safety and comfort of an indoor swimming pool, Danny was ready to give it his all. 'If I make it further than Dave did on his first go I'll be happy,' he said. And he did. He pumped a bit. He got about 4 metres, which is 6 metres to Danny because he's small. And I was happy for him, because it's not easy to be that small and excel at any sport.

Cefn Hengoed Leisure Centre is tagged on to the side of the local school, and at lunchtime for about 15 minutes the blinds at the side of the pool were lifted and about 30 faces crammed up against the glass to see what was happening in the pool. They applauded when I skipped the entire length of the pool, and either laughed or banged the glass when I disappeared awkwardly underneath the water after forgetting about the bouncing rythym, which admittedly I often did when I drew up alongside the windows and got taken by a rush of blood to the head, which forced me to wave like a madman at the young, interested faces. And it was when I did this with two hands that I usually fell off.

But the session, as it wore on, was becoming a true success. The pool. at 23 metres, had me beaten last week, but this time round it was a restriction. the 'Skipper doesn't have the smallest turning circle so when I made it to the end I whipped around as a BMX rider would do when skidding to a stop, and sunk. This time, gracefully. For I was a length of the pool champion.

But this session had an altogether bigger aim. This Sunday, much to my chagrin, I am missing a get-together in a lake near London. The purpose of this meeting is for random people of all ilks to take on the challenge and bounce it off for the ultimate accolade, to be 'The Face of AquaSkipper!' The prize, a week long holiday in Morocco, where the AquaSkipper promo video will be filmed. So, because I am otherwise engaged on said weekend event, the video footage from this session was being sent to AquaSkipper UK headquarters, as my entry into the competition, so thank goodness I was getting the hang of it.

All I can say is, woo hoo! The feeling of bouncing along on the 'Skipper filled me with extreme joy. Improvement in anything is so satisfying, and having been a complete dimwit at AquaSkipping in the previous two sessions I was delighted to have finally found 'the knack.'

Watch this space for news about Morocco. Three weeks into my new career, am I going to be accepted as the face of AquaSkipper? I find out early next week.

PS. Just for the record, I love Danny. Just as a friend, but I love him. I don't mean to cause offence when I take the mickey out of him, I just do it because...well, it makes him laugh. And there's nothing like seeing his little round face grinning from ear to ear. It's almost like giving a baby a toy. Sheer excitement! He's my best mate, and he'd think something was wrong if I just said 'well done mate, you did awesome.' He's look at me sideways waiting for the punchline, and when it didn't come he'd walk away and I'd never see him ever again. Probably because he got stuck in a pothole and couldn't get out, but that's not the point...