Interview with Israeli SUP Surfer and Instructor - Galia Isakov-Haus
Hi Galia, so nice to have you here with us! Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm 49 years old, a mother of 3 children – Romi, 19, Michael, 15 and Ethan, 9, living in Israel. In my professional training, I'm an Acupuncture and Shiatsu Therapist. Although I love helping people through Eastern Medicine Practices, life has so many surprises that I find myself walking a different path every time my heart tells me to do so. For several years, I have also studied and taught belly dancing and performed in the Tribal Fusion Dance Ensemble in Tel Aviv, while continuing to treat people.
How did you get to know Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Surfing?
My love story with the sea began about 15 years ago, when my husband at the time and I were looking for a sports activity to share. We discovered kite-surfing (A sport where the surfer is harnessed to a large kite and uses it to perform incredible jumps above the waves). We loved it a lot, but I knew that it wasn't the perfect fit for me. I wanted something that required less dealing with complex equipment. Pretty soon afterwards we discovered the SUP world (Stand-Up Paddle Boarding).
Tell us a little about SUP.
Stand Up Paddleboard was the workout I've been looking for. Supping is basically standing on a special board, slightly bigger than a regular surf board, while paddling with a size-tailored paddle. There's only a short learning period, after which it's relatively easy to train and workout. From there on it's possible to start paddle surfing and experience a new world of extreme sports. It's also very simple equipment wise – just take your board and paddle and you're good to go. It's fun to paddle alone or with friends, at any season (just take your wetsuit at winter) and in many different locations such as rivers, lakes, seas and pretty much any body of water. I loved it so much that after a few months, I decided to get my professional SUP Instructor Certificate from the Wingate Sports College in Israel.
How would you describe the SUP workout? Is it a competitive sport?
The SUP workout is intense, but also very personal. We train in different weather conditions, in a constantly-changing environment, and the main thing is to keep our minds focused so that we can be our best and enjoy ourselves while staying safe. Although there are many paddling competitions, personally, I'm not fond of formal competitions, so I prefer to compete only against myself.
What part of your life does the SUP and other sports take up?
Sports, and SUP in particular, take up a huge part of my life. Besides paddling and surfing almost every day (as the sea permits us), I run at least 3 times a week, paddle in a Ski-Surf Kayak and have recently also started learning Karate. It's hard for me to imagine my life without everyday sports. It helps me clear my mind, gather my thoughts and keep everything in perspective. Everything seems much simpler after surfing in the big blue or running on the beach.
How would you describe the positive effect that sport has on you and the women who you train?
Sport has also helped the women who I train and myself to deal with body-image and self-worth issues, which, sadly, are still a big part of most women's lives. After a period of training, we find ourselves getting stronger both mentally and physically. We enjoy a great sense of accomplishment when coping with intense weather and sea conditions, when getting up at the crack of dawn to head out to the cold ocean and more than anything - when we finally decide to put ourselves in first place. It gives us a sense of control over our lives and helps us appreciate the challenges we succeed in facing.
Why do you believe that sport is such an important subject for women specifically?
In my opinion, sport is extremely important for everyone but especially for women. Us women have a tendency to put ourselves last and diminish our thoughts and ideas, even more at times when we become mothers. Turning inwards and acknowledging our strengths when working out is one of the great presents we can give ourselves when we commit to a healthy and active life.
What advice would you give to women who find it difficult to find the time and the strength to begin doing sports?
I know that sometimes our lives are so hectic that it's difficult to start doing any kind of sports. That's why I recommend starting gently. I believe it's best to start walking, preferably outside, in a beautiful, inspiring place. Make these walks fast and active, so you'll start to enjoy the benefits of those endorphins filling your brain and start to look forward to these special times. If you find it too difficult to begin by yourself, find a good friend that motivates you and schedule joint workouts. If you have the resources, treat yourself to a personal trainer that will create a tailored workout just for you. For me, this was the solution when I wanted to start running. I saw that I couldn't do it on my own, so I turned to a personal trainer and she helped and encouraged me to succeed until I could do it by myself.
Final question - What would you like to wish our readers and also for yourself?
For the future I wish for myself to continue to improve in the work that I'm doing, to be better and stronger, more skilled and kinder to myself. To treat myself the best way I can. For all you readers out there, I wish for you to find your inner voice and start listening to it, little by little, until this voice becomes loud and clear, and helps you create a better and healthier life for yourself. I wish for you to be gentle and kind to yourself and to your body and know that you have the power to take control over your life and live it to the fullest.
For more information about Galia, check out her website and social media:
Galia, thank you for joining us, it's been a real pleasure!