Learning to paddle board on the Hamble

Today was the best Sunday I’ve spent in a while. Warm sun rays peaked through the edges of my curtains and I woke up to the most beautiful day. To make things even better I had that wonderful nervous-excitement in the pit of my stomach, as today was the day I’d been talking about for a year.

I was going paddle boarding.

The past three years have been a blur, pushing myself to extremes in one form or another to achieve a few important life mile stones. Now that the Masters degree is complete, the PR career is off the ground and the house has been bought and moved in to, I can finally catch my breath.

None of this has left much time to strike a good life balance. So once I reclaimed my weekends, ditching the late night second job, it was time to do something to mark my new found freedom.

About a year ago, on a much needed break, I spent an afternoon paddle boarding along the coast of a Caribbean island. Paddling through the crystal clear water I knew this was something I wanted to keep doing. It was idyllic and watching fish, stingray and jellyfish pass by was a real highlight. It was like someone had plucked me out of my real life and dropped me in to an Instagram travel feed. I was hooked immediately.

With this amazing memory niggling in the back of my mind, I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I had some free time again. At the earliest opportunity I booked a British Stand Up Paddle Boarding Association (BSUPA) Level 1 Ready to Ride.

The River Hamble is situated on the south coast of England with a mix of boats and rolling countryside along it’s banks. On sunny days it looks like something off of a postcard. Today was one of those days.

The friendly instructor Drew, from the AV SUP Club, took the group over the basics and got us all out on the water and stood up in no time. It was amazing to paddle up and down the river seeing places I know very well from a completely different perspective.

Once over my initial nerves I embraced the ‘wetter the better’ way of learning and took a few trips in to the water to learn how to react in different situations. Turns, technique and tumbles helped build everyone’s confidence and we all started to pick up speed on the paddle back down river.

It was an incredible experience and lived up to the memories of my first trip. This was the perfect way to celebrate getting a better work life balance back and a great way to spend a Sunday. I can’t wait to go again.

If you want to try paddle boarding look at the BSUPA website for further information about how to get started. I’d definitely recommend doing a Ready to Ride course if you’ve never done it before. The certification gives you the necessary skills to be confident and safe going on the water and means you can rent a board anywhere in the UK. Well worth it!

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