It has been too long!

It really has been too long since my last post.  Unfortunately SUP has not been ossicle for me for the past month or so.  I am absolutely gutted by that.  Firstly, we got battered by several storm fronts.  High. Winds and a lot of rain made for some gnarly conditions for the moderately novice boarder.  I did not want to go out and get washed away.  There was a case of an experienced kayaker who misread the flow of storm run off and he was not found.  Really brings in sharp relief the fragile nature of life and how being on the water is a privilege that nature affords us, not a right of us to go messing about and my thoughts are with his family.  But, having said that the weather is improving, the seas and rivers are calming and Spring is retreating in the overwhelming force that will soon be summer and SUP will be back on the agenda! And I have a lot of time to make up.

I have not been idle in the lay off.  Indeed, my fitness programme has gone from strength to strength.  To the extent I really should rename this blog from ‘Fat man on a SUP’ to ‘not so fat man on a sup’.  Through the power of diet and exercise I have lost a whopping 4st 7lbs and for those that prefer metric that’s 28kg!  I still have another 2 st 7lbs ( 10.5 kg) to lose before I reach my target.  I have lost 8″ around my waist and the same from my chest.  I swim and gym 6 times a week and consume less than 1800kcal daily.  I am to be beach ready by July, because that is when I am ding a 1.4 mile sea swim for charity.  The British Heart Foundation have, for a few years, organised the swim from Bournemouth pier to Boscombe Pier in Dorset Uk, it is a worthy charity that raise funds for heart disease research and support to families affected by cardiac issues (I will put a link up to my Just Giving page at the end if anyone wishes to donate).  

I have been thinking recently, pondering who I am and the person I want to be.  I guess being on such a radical and total weight loss and attitude readjust has given me pause fir thought.  I am essentially trying to change who I am, or should I say who I was, not just mentally and in my attitude, but physically, through the weight loss I am trying to become someone I have never been, someone toned, trimmed, and generally pleasing to the eye.  It sounds strange to some of you that someone is that intent on changing essentially who they are, but I was not happy with how I looked, I was not happy with how it affected my relationship with an amazing women and how my children must perceive me. So, I had to change. I had to do something to make everyone around me happier. 

This radical change in attitude though comes with its own side issues.  These have only raised their heads in the past week. I had to go through my wardrobe and empty all the clothes that did not fit, not an issue had to be done, and it does give me a chance to get some new threads.  This itself has been eye opening, I know can go into shops like Fat Face, Crew or Animal and choose essentially what I want because I now fit in fashionable/designer clothing.  I must be honest, I am not much fir fashion, I have a look I like and am happy to be out with.  My issue is, and this is mad, I now think that I am getting clothes I like that I really should not be wearing.  I am 37 years old and I think I have entered into mid life crisis early.  Dressing to recapture my youth, or at least what I would have liked my youth to be if I had not listened to my parents and my friends (I use the term loosely as looking back they really were’nt).  But, I wonder if I now am doing things because I didn’t back when I had hair. Yes, I am balding which makes the look a bit ridiculous.  I have 2 children, twin boys and they are 2 and a half now, I wonder if I should be suited and booted and not wondering around in Hawaiian shirts and board shorts.  But that it makes me comfortable and happy. 

I feel that as a man I now have the power and authority that I lacked in my youth to voice opinions and to act on the complaints.  This is how my brain works at the moment and it is driving me nuts, my thought process is:  I was young and idealistic and no one listened to me because I was young.  I am in my twenties I am going to gain the knowledge and experience so that my voice can be heard.  I am in my 30’s and now those that need to listen won’t because they see me as old and passed it.  So, what is one to do?  Well, for a start, let’s start with the sea that I love so much…….stop putting plastic in it!  Microbe ads in cosmetics and scrubs drive me up the fucking wall!  Use sand it’s abrasive and natural and when it gets to the sea it just settles back to whence it came.  Stop the use of helium balloons, two reasons for this, helium is finite, we can’t make any more and when it’s gone it’s but also an inevitable side effect of helium balloons is that they float up, when they pop or go down they land wherever they land often in the sea and get stuck in the stomachs of all manner of Marine creatures.  And my final gripe today is a simple one, take your rubbish home or put it in the bin.  Doesn’t matter where you are, the park, the beach or in the middle of nowhere.  

Well that’s that rant over so I shall now update on SUP.  I bought a new paddle.  I had been using the bog standard alloy paddle that came with my board and now have upgraded to a glass fibre paddle, it is a Red Paddle Co Vario glass fibre 3 piece and it’s as light as a feather.  Unfortunately I have not tested it out yet as not had a chance to get on the water since purchasing it.  But will review it when I do.  What I can say is this, many of the literature say not to bother with an alloy paddle, to change it as soon as possible. I disagree, for this reason, learning to paddle and I am mostly self taught, having the extra weight in the paddle develops technique and power.  So, don’t be so quick to ditch the alloy, use it to ones advantage.  When you’re confident with it change it up.

I think that may be enough of a post for now, you are all caught up.  Once I get on. The water again I will update further, but fir now here is the link to my Just giving page, any and all donations are most welcome and even if you can give a little it will go a long way.


Delay in paddling out

It has been an unfortunate few weeks.  The U.K. Has been battered by several storms and inclement weather making paddle boarding nigh on impossible.  The good days we have had I have been working and regrettably I have been unable to get out on the water.  I am quite sad about this as I could do with a good SUP.  Get out on my mind, in the middle of nowhere with no interruptions and no technology.  Go and get some quality exercise whilst soaking up the brisk chill of a winter water adventure.  Sounds idyllic but not always practical in the British weather.  Having said that I see a lot of posts on social media of people paddling around icebergs or trapping through snow to get some water time.  The problem I have here is that the water becomes treacherous with the increased volume and quite frankly I have no desire to get myself into potential dangerous situations.  I have already risked that this year and I got a bit frightened.  

So, what have I been doing instead?  Well, I have been putting in some serious pool time and getting fit in the gym.  I am going to be swimming for charity in July to raise money for the British Heart Foundation swimming between Bournemouth and Boscombe pier, a 1.4 mile open sea swim that is annual done (weather and sea state permitting) for a fantastic cause.  I have not swam seriously since I was in the Hampshire swim team when I was 16 and even then I was a backstroke specialist so this poses a unique and interesting challenge.  One for which I cannot wait to attempt.  I have been on a major diet and loosing lots of weight, getting into shape, changing my lifestyle and generally overhauling my life.  What changes have I made?  Well, firstly I have stopped drinking carbonated drinks, no Coke, no lemonade, no fizzy water, since Jan 04th I have not had a single fizzy drink and this has made an interesting change.  I feel better just for drinking water and green tea.  Coffee and high caffeine drinks have been dramatically reduced and as a result I feel calmer and happier.  I was once told that coffee can act as a depressive.  Surprisingly this is true.  Limited caffeine and also reduced meat and fat intake has given me a spring in my step.  

It’s remarkable to look back and analyse what I was eating, the portion sizes, meat intake and realise that I was headed to bad times if I continued.  A healthy diet fruit, vegetables, fish and low carbs are having a remarkably positive effect…Who knew?

Now what I need is some good weather!  Get on the board and paddle, paddle, paddle!  I really can’t wait for spring in order to get some calm seas and calm rivers with a light wind and a warm sun.  In preparation I am looking into some new kit.  I am really happy with the inflatable board I have, it was a bargain buy and is serving me well, but I am still using the paddle that came with it which is a no frills alloy paddle, heavy, very little flex and freezing on cold days, so I am looking into a new one which I am leaning to an intermediate paddle with a glass carbon shaft.  It is the outlay that is getting to me as I struggle to find the funds.  I am looking at a Red Paddle Co glass paddle and hopefully will get one soon.  The other thing I am after is a pair of floating sunglasses but they seem to be quite rare to get a suitable one.  Obviously they are abundant online but I would rather know they are suitable before I purchase, after all don’t want to look like Elton John or Dame Edna!  But all these things are relatively minor, and all I ally need is some bright weather and a favourable tide. 

The plan is to hopefully get out on Tuesday but we will see.  Anyway folks, happy paddling and stay safe in the winter weather.

2nd week, 2nd paddle

I said last week that I was a planning a paddle around Keyhaven.  Well, unfortunately I bottled it.  The reason is that I was not confident enough to try to paddle around the bay as, after reading the charts and local advice felt it was slightly risky given the time of year and temperature, if I get stuck or get it wrong it is a very cold way to spend the day. So I decided to alter my plans and I went to. The slightly more protected and safer option of Mudeford Quay, in between Christchurch and Highcliffe.  It is a fascinating little place that is a large sheltered bay behibd Hengistbury head and the Solent.  For the most part it is no more thN  a feet deep even at high tide, it has some deep channels of a few metres and a also houses a treacherous channel loving called ‘The Run’.  Essentially the Run is to be avoided at all times. The whole force of the tide is squeezed through a deep channel about 10 m across.  The force of that outlet to the open sea is akin to the worst Rip tide you will ever see and if your caught in it you won’t be seen until you reach the Isle of Wight. Fortunately though the bay is about 4.5 miles around the edge so plenty of room to paddle without vanishing off into the Solent.

I read the tide well and arrived 40 mins before high tide and they was plenty of Water I. Which to paddle, and I was not the only one.  I bumped into another boarder just starting  out.  The other paddler was slot more experienced than I so I let him toddle off before I ventured of the water, essentially so I could see where he went and if there was any issues on the water.  A very chilly wind was whipping around chopping up the water which made it challenging to paddle, also made it a bit cold.  But, wrapped in neoprene I barely felt the wind so was happy to crack on.  I hit the water and was immediately surprised by the strength of the wind and the effect it had on paddling, to get out into the bay I had to travel into the wind. It was hard going and my feet were getting a bit chilly. About 500 m out into the bay my feet went numb.  I was wearing neoprene shoes but it was very cold. I endured and went further into the bay, the sun was glorious but the wind was high making a challenging SUP.  I went further and missed the signs for the shallows as they were submerged, and ran aground and fell in. Whoops! It was a chilly dip and wasn’t my only one.  I have so much to learn about this sport.  
Inclement weather means that I cannot get out for at least a week so I am in the pool every other day!