7th February 2020
Where there’s water, you’ll invariably find a stand-up paddleboarder these days. Yes, ‘SUP-ing’ (as those in the know call it) is taking the country, and the world, by storm.
Not only is it a great way to explore some of the UK’s waterways and coastlines, it’s also relatively easy and affordable to do. Best of all, for someone like me whose fitness took a nosedive when I hit 40, you don’t need to be super athletic to give stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) a try. Amen.
I first tried stand-up paddleboarding on a lake near my hometown in Gloucestershire and was hooked from the moment I wobbled my way out onto the water (and fell in). So when I was invited to a beginner’s stand-up paddleboarding session (with some other local bloggers) run by Inspire2Adventure on the beautiful River Wye, I jumped at the chance.
Inspire2Adventure are a fabulous, friendly, husband and wife team specialising in outdoor activities for adults, families, stag and hen parties, as well as youth groups and corporates. They run their adventure sessions on the magnificent River Wye in Gloucestershire, which is a beautiful spot for water sports, around the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley in Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire and the Brecon Beacons in South Wales.
Our 2-hour session took place on the river, just outside of the town of Monmouth. When I arrived, the boards were laid out, ready to be inflated, and I was made to feel warmly welcomed by our instructor and the rest of the team.
First, we were kitted out (all the equipment you need to enjoy your session is provided by Inspire2Adventure), then we were given a comprehensive safety briefing. Next, came the hard bit: pumping up the boards! This is no easy job, believe me – but we all had plenty of laughs trying to get our SUPs ready for the off.
Boards pumped, we floated out onto the River Wye – four of us on solo sups, six of us on the McConk Mega SUP (called Monty).
Our instructor Paul gave clear, precise and easy-to-follow guidance on the right posture, how to keep our balance, and what the different paddle strokes were for moving forwards and backwards efficiently. I was given an individual paddleboard while a few others were given a giant SUP to share. They were taught how to work as a team to manoeuvre the 8-person board nicknamed Monty without falling in.
The session saw us wobble our way up and down the river, learning what to do with a few simple team-building games thrown in to build our confidence on the water. All in all, it was huge fun, and I even heard a couple of bloggers say, ‘how much does a SUP board cost?’ Proof Inspire2Adventure’s SUP session really did float all of our boats!
By Claire Robinson of Weekend Candy, an award-winning writer, digital consultant and content creator who runs the online magazine Weekend Candy, which is dedicated to uncovering unique weekend experiences across the UK and Europe at: https://weekendcandy.com/