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The best remedy for body ache? Endorphins!


Try a new sport even though you already have a back? Our columnist Christina Pohl was skeptical - but then dared to go wakeboarding.

Icon: enlarge

Columnist Christina Pohl

Photo: Roman Pawlowski / DER SPIEGEL

Moritz has something on his knee. He doesn't even come. Thomas appears with a strain and a slightly distorted face. I have a back. 

There are five of us, all over fifty. The plan: go wakeboarding. 

You stand on a board that looks similar to a snowboard, but you ride on the water; the feet are in a kind of open Adiletten Velcro shoe. They force you into a flexion that is reminiscent of a bowel movement. In this position you are pulled by a lift. You can go up to 30 kilometers per hour. The water is then not as soft as snow, it is as hard as a board. Headfirst falls are particularly feared and are said to disfigure the face extremely. That can be cheerful! 

I tried that out several years ago. Back then, a handsome surfer boy had gently pulled me out of the water and then on the water with a boat. But then I jumped off a cliff without any problems and was in much better shape. 

To person

Christina Pohl was born the year the US bombed Vietnam with napalm. In her youth she sought peace in the hippie caves of Crete. She has been working as an editor in the SPIEGEL Group since 1991.


Lina Moreno / DER SPIEGEL

Now I'm standing on a jetty, in front of me a man in his late twenties who gave the order to go into the water without neoprene. It's hot as a ball, we women only wear bikinis. On top of that we squeezed into a tight vest, which, like with a dirndl, squeezes everything off. Good thing there are no mirrors here. I am very excited.

Thomas' features are relaxed

Thomas with the strain goes first. He looks like Ken from Barbie, gliding so elegantly over the water. He's probably done this a few times in his life. The rope on the lift is attached to two masts. In the end, Ken-Thomas takes a gentle curve and comes back with relaxed facial features. I have no idea how he did it. 

Sabine is next. She has mastered almost every sport and is considered a kind of superwoman in this peer group. Sure, it can also be pulled out of the water with ease and comes back from the curve with great pleasure. I got in line at the very back to be able to copy as much as possible. But it remains a mystery to me how the other two slide easily on this board. 

Now it's my turn. The commanding man in his late twenties gives me a few more instructions that I absolutely cannot remember. Then he presses the button and off we go. The leash is pulling on me. Somehow I get up, and then I actually go about fifty meters. And sink into the waters. I grab the tow triangle that dangles from the surface of the water. It pulls me up again and I make it to the point where the others started turning. And now? No idea.

Like a very old walrus

Plop, there I am again in my dirndl vest in the water at the other end of the elevator, where the voice of the commanding officer can no longer reach me. I gracefully stretch an arm up as I was told and - interrupted by three more falls - somehow get back to the other bank. Unable to lift myself and the board out of the water, I crawl up to the jetty. Hopefully nobody will pay any attention to me as I desperately try to release the Adiletten lock underwater. Sonja saves me. She takes the board from me and immediately attracts everyone's attention by announcing that she now wants to take a curve too. I drag myself to the jetty like a very old walrus. It's good that there's no mirror here either.

Everyone gets four times. It is actually a lot of fun to shoot across the water. Hey, I don't feel my body aches anymore! It must be the endorphins of the body, which give me a wonderful high here. But on the last trip, the drag lift with its pull triangle almost tears my hands off. I have no strength left to hold on. Somehow I manage the last few meters and hide my red hands. 

Three teenagers in a drunkenness

Everyone giggles and I forget my pain while having an Aperol spritz on the Baggerseestrand. It's getting dark and we're having a barbecue at the neighboring campsite. It's just nice to sit with friends who have known each other for ages and who are now sharing their wakeboarding experiences.

Then I hear a car engine roar. A small car comes into the campsite at around 50 kilometers per hour. Straight towards me. For a second I think, "I'll be dead in a minute". But the roaring driver still manages to turn the steering wheel. The three adolescents in full intoxication leave a cloud of dust behind and come to a stop in the middle of the campsite. You get out and misbehave. Just the youth. The campers, average age around 60, chase away the monsters who tear away the barrier chain with the fender on the way back. The police come, we pack up and, despite everything, I drive home completely inspired. 

To sum up: I was standing - at least temporarily - on a wakeboard, was on an endorphin rush, was almost run over to death and then had sore muscles for five days. 

Would i do this again? Yes immediately.

Icon: The mirror

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2020-08-25

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