Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Maidenhead
Well it’s been quite a while since my last post. But it’s been such a busy start to the summer! After the longest winter ever (yeah, sorry I keep going on about that) I’m making the most of this fab weather. I’ve been told about Stand Up Paddleboarding in Maidenhead. As we live so close to the River Thames, it’s a shame not to make the most of it.
In my ‘Yoga‘ post I talked about someone I know who teaches so many things besides yoga. She does yoga with babies and toddlers, family AcroYoga. That is about balancing your child on your feet and that kind of thing. Plus she’s a kayaking coach and also a qualified SUP coach.
SUP is Stand Up Paddle Boarding. Something I knew little about until, well I met Tara. We started out having a good spring. So lessons of stand up paddleboarding in Maidenhead and surrounding areas on the river are up and running.
Well, I’m willing
If you’ve seen any of my posts or know anything about my family, we are a family of four. I have a teenage son (from a previous relationship) who is more interested in seeing how other people play MarioKart on YouTube all day than seeing daylight, so getting him to leave his bedroom is pretty challenging.
But then my three year old daughter is just into anything. The more active it is, the more she loves it (the AcroYoga is right up her street and she was one of the youngest to try it in Tara’s class). So Darrel (also pretty active – his list of adventures is longer than mine – one of them was a hike up to Everest Base Camp shortly after we first met), Eva and I had our first go on the SUP’s.
I’m not a ‘sporty’ person. I like to be fit but I’m not competitive and I’m certainly not a water baby. We went Body Boarding earlier this year and I worried I’d hate it (I tried Snorkerling once and had a major panic about being under water, so I’m slightly wary now when trying new things..). To my surprise I loved riding the waves and I’m itching to do it again.
It’s not something to do in the height of summer though as the beaches get rammed – it’s a case of waiting until it’s out of season. With Paddle Boarding we are lucky. The surf beaches in Cornwall and Devon are just too far for us, but here living by the River Thames it’s just on our doorstep. We have to make the most of what we have and knowing about these activities is just a great opportunity.
First Time Paddle Boarding
It was the start of the hot weather – the May Bank Holiday. We met Tara down on the river and had a quick brief on the SUP’s. The boards are actually inflatable but so strong and the paddles are made of carbon fibre (obviously different lengths and pretty expensive – so she was rather reluctant to let three year old Eva have one to herself!).
Eva got on Tara’s board and they were away. Darrel then got on his and started paddling. Then I got on. Ok, so I didn’t fall in – that was my biggest concern. I was wobbly (so was Darrel so that made me feel better) but I stayed on so all was good. But then I have to start actually moving – and also steering the thing. That was trickier than I thought. It took me a while to move about an inch (in the wrong direction) so Tara kindly took it upon herself to give me a gentle push – in the bushes. They found it hilarious and I eventually got myself turned around and out of there – but Darrel captured the moment on the GoPro. Great.
Some have no fear
Down the part of the river where we were can be a lot of traffic with boats (and they make waves – very tricky when you don’t want to fall off your board!) but it was 7 pm, still really hot and the boats were less frequent. I got my confidence but speed was a bit of an issue. We practised paddling standing, sitting then parked up and did a few Downward Dogs on them. A test for balance! My posture was all wrong, mainly due to my fear of falling in..
Second Time Paddle Boarding in Maidenhead
I’d do this more often but it’s not the cheapest past time. But this time we were at a different part of the river. The first time was close to the Maidenhead Sounding Arch (designed by Brunel – known for it’s echo, hence the name) then the second time we were by Boulters Lock – and close to the weir (I certainly didn’t want to be sucked down that!). So I was slightly more nervous, plus the river was running a bit faster but it was a good test of my strength (and steering!).
No yoga this time, just another hot evening on the river. Eva managed to fall in this time (she was safe in her life jacket) but certainly wasn’t put off.
If I could afford to do this more often then I will. Tara is taking people out almost every day at the moment so I’ll certainly book another lesson for us all. It’s easier than I thought but I need to get the paddling technique right so I’m going faster and using less energy! Eva is the youngest child she’s taken out and she wouldn’t normally advice a toddler to go on the boards, but she’s known Eva since she was a baby and understands her capabilities (and lack of fear). With three adults close by she was in safe hands.
I’m not going to go as far as wanting to buy my own paddle board just yet, but to make the most of what we have near us is something I think is pretty important.