Stand up paddleboarding is something I wanted to try over the summer when the surf was flat, but with no willing companion, I didn’t fancy heading out on my own. Hubby wasn’t crazy on the idea – he said “It’s just not the same as surfing.”
True, but when you are landlocked, you will do just about anything to get a fix, so on Sunday, me, hubby and my landlocked surf friend met up at Edgbaston Watersports in Birmingham for a half day SUP course.
It was about as far from the idyllic view of SUP as you can get. Instead of salt water, blue skies and miles of open ocean, Edgbaston Reservoir is 2 miles from the city centre with a semi urban backdrop and a 2.2km expanse of grey water. It was a typical cold, November day, but I was up for a new challenge!
After getting suited up, it was time to say hi to my board for the day – a 12ft barge which was about 4 inches thick. Great stuff! Nice and floaty, as I didn’t fancy falling into the murky reservoir. Another plus point for the board – it had a handle so I was able to carry it! My short arms are a bit of hinderance when carrying my mal!
Into the unknown
Before entering the water, we had some pointers on how to hold the paddle, how to manoeuvre, our stance on the board, and how to get onto the board by firstly getting to our knees (preferably without falling in). Our group of 5 tentatively waded in and after some initial hesitation, we were up on our feet, and cruising along!
Then it was time to get more adventurous. Keith the instructor showed us how to turn and that was when the first of our group tested the temperature of the water! I felt sorry for this guy by the end as I lost count of how many times he fell in, but he took it in good spirit and didn’t appear to be put off.
We also had a go at speed paddling, shifting our feet into surfing stance (cue more swan dives into the reservoir), what to do if we were ever on the open sea and the winds change or we get caught in a rip current.
I managed to keep my balance, as did my friend as we made it round the 2.2km expanse of water without taking a plunge – girl power! My ‘steering’ went a bit awry at one point as I sailed into some trees but overall, I think I did ok and my balance skills really did me proud.
I have to say that I had a grin on my face during the whole 2 hours and really surprised by how stoked I was! Ok so it wasn’t the sea, and I wasn’t riding waves on my surfboard, but it was so great to be on the water, just cruising along…and only 17 miles from home!
What surprised me even more was how much hubby had enjoyed it. From SUP cynic to total convert! So at the end of the course, when the instructor told us about the Inland SUP club and invited us to join, he was totally up for it! They have a club day every Sunday, and do regular events including a forthcoming Santa SUP ending at the pub!
I can see it being a more regular activity now – on flat days by the coast and as a great way to get a landlocked fix!
Huge thank you to Kelly for suggesting and organising this – if it wasn’t for her, we may never have tried it. Here’s to many more SUP days and possibly another water sport hobby to focus on during our landlocked weekends!