If my legs are shaking through fear and an inability to balance, does that mean my muscles are working?
Climbing onto a paddleboard and pushing myself out into the freezing, grimy and not to mention, busy, Thames on Saturday afternoon, I was scared. Scared that I would fall in, that I would get in the way of a boat race or that I would hurt myself.
Luckily, none of these fears came true but it didn’t stop my body shaking with nerves.
I’d been invited along to the launch of Crewroom’s new SUP club, a twice weekly paddleboarding club leaving from the Crewroom headquarters in Putney. An enthusiastic yet apprehensive group of us donned lifejackets and waited to get onto the river. I think more people than they were expecting had turned up to the session, so there was a lot of hanging around while boards were found, and groups were split up. Hopefully they will have this sorted out before the next session!
After a brief safety talk, we stood along the already teeming river, waiting our turn to have a go. About 4 of us were on the water at any one time, Zoe and her friend went first, then swapped with my friend Charlie and I.
Paddleboarding is definitely harder than it looks, especially in fast moving water. I found it really tricky to manoeuvre confidently through the water, and felt incredibly unstable when I tried to stand up. I spent most of the 10 minutes that I was on the water on my knees on the board. Charlie on the other hand, was a natural.
The movement to paddle yourself through the water is very different to rowing; you want to pull the paddle directly down rather than out to the side. You also hold the long paddle at the top of the handle, with your other hand further down, swapping sides and grips as you paddle along. As well as the muscles in your legs working to keep you standing upright on the wobbly board, it’s also a great ab and arm workout too.
As well as weekly paddleboarding clubs on Tuesday and Saturdays, they also offer longer tours. ON Saturday a group were heading off on a 2 hour tour to Chiswick and back- definitely something to build up to! If you live in London or are just visiting, Paddleboarding would be such a fun way to spend a day. You can sign up at Active360 to book a place on a tour or for SUP club.
Thanks to Zoe’s Mum Yaffa for a lot of these pictures.