For Mother’s Day earlier in the year, my brother, sister and I had clubbed together to buy a stand up paddle boarding (SUP) lesson, and I’ve been on the search for a new hobby (alongside Geocaching) so decided that I would accompany her! With this weekend bringing the glorious sunshine to Devon, heading out to explore some of the beautiful countryside was an absolute must. So, we booked in for our 2-½ hour lesson with Croyde Surf Academy! Want to know how we got on? Read on…
The lesson started at 10am, where we met our lovely instructor at a car park in Croyde where a big blue double-decker bus marked the spot. The website says that groups can be from 6-8 people, but we were lucky enough to be the only ones booked in that weekend, so had our own little private session. We signed our lives away on consent forms and were then given wetsuits and rash vests and got changed inside the bus.
Once we were ready, we got back in the car, driving to a private lake in Knowle for our lesson. The lake was beautiful, although slightly reed-filled, with some geese and ducks pottering around. We got out our SUPs and headed straight for the water, paddle in hand. I’ll be honest, I was incredibly excited, but also VERY nervous, sure that we’d both fall in within the first few minutes. The reedy, murky waters of the lake didn’t appeal to me much; that definitely motivated me to stay as sturdy as possible!
We started off simply kneeling on the boards and paddling a little but quickly moved into the standing position, where my nerves almost got the better of me. When you first stand up, you feel certain that your body won’t hold you up and your legs are going to give way, but the board is actually far sturdier than I’d imagined. Standing up gives you such a sense of satisfaction, and within a few minutes, I felt pretty comfortable paddling up and down the glistening lake.
Our instructor kindly offered to take photos for us; I’d come prepped with a waterproof phone case so that I would have some good snaps for this blog as she taught us.
During the lesson, we learnt a few different strokes, tested out different speeds and even tried swapping boards, which was thankfully a success. The whole lesson was fab, we were paddling about chatting about this, that and the other as my confidence and knowledge grew. I was surprised to hear that there aren’t many locals who take up lessons, as North Devon is known as a surf destination, but I’m so glad we decided to do it and would definitely recommend it to anyone who visits!
SUP boarding is very relaxing but also works your core and thigh muscles due to the constant squat position. When I get a little more practice in (if the sunshine stays for a little while longer) I’d love to try SUP yoga! I think I’ve definitely found a new hobby – just need to save up for a board of my own as they aren’t the cheapest! I’d 100% recommend this to people of all ages; I’m not the strongest of swimmers, the most balanced of people or AT ALL sporty, but I honestly loved it!
We’re getting ready to take the next step and book in for a surf lesson with Croyde Surf Academy in the next few weeks, which I am terrified about, but excited all the same. I’ll be posting an update on that experience in the next few months so keep your eyes peeled!