I have not been Paddleboarding for very long, in fact I am very new. I tried it out in Scotland whilst on holiday, on Loch Lomond, and the instant I fell off I was hooked! It was peaceful, calm and serene. I got an amazing sense of achievement when I paddled, standing up, out of the bay and managed to keep my balance and remain standing up. The board I was on was definitely not suitable for me. After all I am a fatty! Standing at 6′ 2″ tall and weighing in at 20 st I am not the most likely candidate for this sport. However, I am not one who gives up when things are tough! I investigate thourghly what boards were out there and what would be suited to me. I eventually got frustrated and spoke to a company in Poole called Sandbanks SUP style and after talking my stats through with them I went and bought one of their boards!
I then, within 24 hrs, was at the beach staring out at the sea and seeing 6′ breakers crashing into the sand and thought, well won’t be going out today! So, plans to SUP on hold. I waited for a couple of days and went again. In the meantime I had read about SUP surfing, paddling out and then catching waves like a surfer! Great, I thought that sounds awesome I will give that a go. So good waves breaking I pumped up the board an paddled out. Half an hour later and half the sea swallowed I realised I may not have been ready for that. Still, it was great getting out there.
I had a chat with a friend and she also has a board and she told me tha she goes out at Christchurch Quay and paddles the Stour river and she was willing to come along and give me a few pointers. Fantastic! After a long shift we ventured forth the early evening sunshine, pumped up and got on the water! Under her invaluable tutelage I was up and paddling. That trip had 2 swims as I fell in and I knew I would need a lot of practice turning on the water. I learnt that going in a straight line was easy, turning pits you off balance. There are two primary ways of turning a the board, a ‘J-Stroke’ which turns in a gentle, wide arc or a back paddle which is sharper. As a novice I was yet to realise that I needed to counteract the forcs of the turn by shifting the weight in to the opposite side of the board. The inevitable happened. Splash!
It’s a lovely, as yet unelected excursio. Schedules have not allowed me to have further tutoring. But, I deterred I continued to go out.
I went back to the beach between Bournemouth and Boscombe piers. Only this time flat, calm seas with a maximum of 1′ swells. Perfect SUP conditions. The water was lovely and not too cold but I soon found out that paddling on a river and the sea are 2 completely different animals. On the sea I was up and paddling but was falling off a lot. I wa not compensating for the tide or the waves and falling in.
I went back to athe river twice on my own and practiced, practiced and practiced putting in 4 hours over two sessions and not falling in once. My confidence has grown massively, I know my board better, and I have bought you up to date.
Tomorrow theses is forecast as flat, the weather dry with a slight favourable north-easterly wind. My plan is a whole day on the beach, learning about what tide is best as I will be there during an outgoing and incoming tide, learning how to control the board on the sea. I am now self teaching, gaining experience and learning the sport by doing it. So if anyone is at Bournemouth and sees a Farman paddling, give a wave and friendly encouragement as it takes courage and determination to try the sport and to fail so publicly!
I welcome friendly comments so please do share your thoughts equally I would love to hear your stories! See you on the water!