Okay, so I have a bucket list. This is something I take pretty seriously, right at the top was to try Paddleboarding. Being someone who enjoys open water swimming, this felt like an entirely natural to evolve my joy of spending time in the water.
When I was invited to Fast Track Fitness Retreats (you can read my review here) there was the option to try out Paddleboarding. I was delighted, finally, the opportunity had presented itself – Paddleboarding, here I come!. We started the day with a short, but intense HIIT workout fuelled up with a handsome breakfast and got ourselves ready to try something new.
At the back of my mind, I knew that the chances were that I wasn’t going to be “a natural”. Primarily due to the fact I’m just one of those people who just doesn’t take to things quickly. But, once I understand and build some confidence, you just can’t stop me. With this in mind, I decided to pop on my coat of confidence and make a choice to focus on fun.
Much to my surprise, the Paddleboards we used were inflatable with a very delicate “fin”. This means they are easy to manoeuvre but need to be treated with the utmost care and respect. I took mine across to the lake and carefully placed it in the water, whilst awaiting further instructions. We were advised to attach the board to our ankle with a strap and cord system (the same as surfing), then paddle until the water was around knee height. At this point, we were able to climb onto our boards and slowly start navigating the water whilst remaining on our knees.
I navigated with the greatest of success. Into a completely different direction to everyone else. Landing jammed out of sight in between to docked boats. It was at this point where I started to realise that only laughter and good cheer were going to get me through. The instructor Peter kindly aided me and made several attempts to help me join the group. I felt a little alarmed that everyone else was standing and I was still trying to remember my left and right.
To stand on a Paddleboard, you need to place the oar across the front of the board. Secure this with one hand and ease into a squat, before rising up and standing tall. I managed to get up, I then completely panicked, looked down and fell off the board. Once I was back on the board, I managed to return to a standing position, 30 seconds later I was face planting the Paddleboard. With a real sense of style and grace might I add.
I suppose this was the turning point when Peter suggested that it might be more sensible that I remain on my knees, I have no idea why.
If you have a good sense of balance, can easily relax and follow simple instructions, Paddleboarding will be a joy. If you enjoy heading off in completely the wrong direction, panic easily and have the ability to trip over your own two feet. It might be that booking a few hours of tuition would be more worthwhile for you (or, urm…me).
Despite my comical attempts, I found Paddlboarding hugely gratifying and I will certainly return to the sport. Primarily, with the ambition of being able to stand up for an increasingly longer length of time. I can imagine that on a warm summer’s day, standing up and traveling along the river on a Paddleboard would be a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. But, until then, I’ll spend a little bit of time focusing on the basics.
Please note, this experience was kindly provided as part of my stay with Fast Track Fitness Retreats and I was instructed by The New Forest Paddle Sport Company.