The reason for the trip to Namibia was for a gymnastics competition called Zone 6. It is an international competition that contains different gymnastic disciplines. Athletes come from South Africa, Namibia, Angola, and Zimbabwe to compete in this competition. These are some of the top athletes that compete in Artistic, Aerobic, Trampoline and Tumbling, Rhythmic, and Acrobatic Gymnastics. Zone 6 is a week long to help accommodate all of these gymnasts and different disciplines. Being a FIG Judge, I was fortunate enough to judge this competition on the artistic men’s side. This also meant all my meals were covered as well as the hotel.
The men’s competition was scheduled for Wednesday and consisted of two different sessions. One in the morning and other that started a little before lunch. It was really fun and an awesome experience to judge this competition. I was able to meet and make new friends with the seven other judges that were there from different countries.
While in Walvis Bay, the competition was not the only thing we did. Since Namibia has one of only two costal deserts in the world, we went on a dune quad biking trip one of the days. All of the gymnasts from South Africa came along as well as coaches and judges. This trip was a blast and even though I didn’t ride on any of the quad bikes (decided to let the kids enjoy them since I’ve ridden quite a bit) I was able to ride behind in the Land Rover. This was a blast for me and I enjoyed it just as much! We did everything the bikes did including going down a really steep dune in reverse. I was loving riding in the Land Rover through the dunes with some of the other coaches and judges.
The other activity that we did as a group was climb Dune 7 in the Walvis Bay area. It is the largest dune in this area and since we went in the afternoon the sand was nice and hot. A company in the area that offered tourist activities had a leader board of the top 10 fastest dune climbers. Jesse quickly jumped on this opportunity and tried to make it. Unfortunately he was a few minutes too slow. The climb up the dune was difficult and every time you would step forward your foot would sink in and slide back almost to where it started. It was exhausting and definitely a great leg work out! It took me 10 minutes to get to the top and my shoes were completely filled with sand. The view was spectacular and we just couldn’t resist going upside down while at the top of this dune. A few of the younger gymnasts decided to climb the dune twice, I concluded they were crazy. This was a cool experience and running down the dune was the best part.
Meeting new people and experiencing Walvis Bay was a blast. It was really cool to be apart of an international gymnastics competition and learn how gymnastics operates outside of the United States. With sand and dunes everywhere, it was very uncharacteristic of the beaches I know. It was strange to think that we were right on the ocean when all the terrain around us was not green and filled with trees and plants.