It had been the warmest August bank holiday ever recorded, and so what reason would there be to not spend it out on the water. Well, sunburn would be one. But other than that, no reasons. So that’s exactly what I did.
This, is another ‘first’ for me, and if you have never been out on a SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) let me tell you, it’s not as a serine experience as it looks from dry land.
As this was my first time, and I knew I would be likely to be spending more time falling off my paddleboard than peacefully gliding along, I did it at a water park, Alton Water Park to be precise. A really very beautiful reservoir just East of Ipswich. For £13 you have your SUP, buoyancy jacket, and 1 hour. You also have the knowledge that if you get into difficulty at anytime for any reason you can wave and get rescued.
After the initial task of actually standing up, which considering I have mostly balance related hobbies, was pretty tricky in itself, things seem pretty easy going…and it’s at that exact moment you find yourself going for a swim in the lake, it seemed every time I thought “ah, getting the hang of this” I would stagger ungracefully off the board and into the lake. Which sets off a domino effect, as the guys start laughing, this then knocks them off balance, and soon enough, everyone’s in.
In general, you get the hang of it relatively quickly, and with no dramas, apart from Jordan losing his GoPro in the lake, gutted Jordan. It was time to head back. Ah. What we hadn’t realised is that it all seemed so easy, because the wind had done 90% of the work to get us out on the lake. I found it tough to stand and paddle with enough speed into the wind to bother, but kneeling not only reduces the amount of wind you’re catching, but allows you to put a lot more strength through your paddle. Sure, at £13 it’s not the cheapest 1 hour, but put it this way. Two bottles of fruit cider in a pub is nearly as much. So for an experience, sack off the cider, and get out to the water park. A water park isn’t exactly the pinnacle of adventure, but as I said, I knew I would be terrible at it, it’s definitely one of those skills that would be really handy to hone, there’s some brilliant rivers in Suffolk to go out on too, so after a few more practice runs I think I’ll give it a go.
Like I said, the wind has a huge impact on things, which I guess to any water-sports kind of person is dead obvious, but if you’re an idiot like me, it wasn’t. So just keep an eye on how quickly you’re drifting. A brilliant experience, and will no doubt waste some money buying all the kit. I’ll let you know when that happens!