Stand Up Paddle Boarding - SUP to it's friends - is something I've wanted to try for ages. Mike and I talked vaguely about trying it out in Menorca last summer, but for one reason or another it didn't quite happen and the idea stayed on the list of things to try at some point. Luckily the opportunity presented itself a couple of weeks ago when the lovely Ruth Tongue asked me if I fancied spending an afternoon messing around on a paddle board with her and Jason Bergin at Wake Up Docklands. Obviously I jumped at the chance.
With the sun shining, music blaring and chilled vibe Wake Up Docklands did not feel like London. It was like I'd been spirited away for the afternoon, which turned out to be exactly what I needed. The last few weeks have been pretty full on. I've had lots of deadlines, lots of thinking to do and not enough sleep or exercise. My mind has become a bit fuzzy, so a couple of hours out on the water, away from technology, taking time to just chill was exactly what I needed.
I spent the first hour or so with Jason learning the basics of SUP. A British Watersports Professional and the founder for Urban-Recovery, he was the perfect person to show me the ropes and teach me how to manoeuvre my board. I have to admit, I only stood up briefly - it is much harder than it looks - but I really enjoyed just pottering about the dock, avoiding wakeboarders, and generally having quite a nice time just chilling out! You can find out more about learning to paddle board at Wake Up Docklands here.
After mastering (sort of) SUP it was time for pilates with Ruth, which was amazing! I love pilates, for me it combines the very best of both strength and flexibility, and I love how accessible it is and the focus on form and function, so to have the opportunity to practice out on the water in the sun was magical! The boards are wide and really stable, so there's very little risk of falling in (plus the water was pretty shallow), it was just nice to be in such a calming environment. Ruth is running classes all summer, and you can find out more here.
Even now, a week on, I keep thinking back to my Saturday afternoon on the water, reflecting on how calming and chilled it was. It was exactly what I needed to disconnect and refocus in the middle of a particularly challenging period, and I'm definitely counting being out on a paddle board as one of my new happy places - I can't wait to try it out on the sea next time I'm in Menorca!
**Thank you so much to Ruth, Jason and Wake Up Docklands for hosting such an awesome event. As always, all opinions are my own. Images courtesy of Ruth Tongue and Fleur Runs**