Paddling Times of Discovery
I had awoken many times throughout the night to the combination of the sounds of the wind howling through the trees that surrounded my cottage and to the pelting of the rain on its tin roof. Now it was 6am on Sunday morning, I was deprived of a good rest thanks to the stormy weather but I had things to attend to. I tumbled out of bed leaving my boyfriend, Rick, to his elephant like snoring and made my way to the kitchen, ready to prepare myself a nice strong tea. I was the early bird today as I had to train with Beth, my fitness coach, who was helping me with my journey of losing 10kg. A challenge, but a welcome one.
A loud knock on the wooden front door made me jump, spilling my earl grey all over the table. Grumbling, I strolled across to the front door, flung it abroad to reveal Beth. "Mornin!" she yawned with a smile, "you ready to head off? We are going down to Porthminster Beach this morning for training". I grumbled further in response, normally Beth would bring down with us to the beach with some training equipment which I loved, but I was suspicious of the fact that today would be less enjoyable post the overnight storm. "Dont whine Sarah" Beth replied, "today will be a blast and I have a surprise for you. We are going paddleboarding!". My eyes lit up and within 2 minutes we were in Beth's wagon heading down to the beach, I had never been paddleboarding before and Beth was right, this isn't something to complain about. I was excited!
Upon arriving at Porthminister, we unloaded her boards from the boot of the car which were inside large waterproof looking bags. "What sort of boards are these?" I questioned, intrigued as to how they worked. "They're inflatables"Beth beamed, "and they are super good these ones too, come on! Let's set them up". She opened her blue bag and unrolled the board inside while I followed with my own. Beth showed me how to inflate them, which was easy, and described how she had come across them. It was online a couple of years ago on a fitness website, which had recommended the model (Trophy T1 by WOWSEA) as a great resource for weight loss. "I have used them with many of my clients for helping with muscle toning, weight loss and fun! That last one is our goal for today". "And why are we just using them now?" I suspiciously asked, "you have to earn the right to use them" Beth replied, "and today the water is supposed to be perfect for it after that cyclone last night"..
We finished setting up the boards and went about warming ourselves up and stretching before heading down to the water, wetsuits on and all. The water is cold in England and I certainly wasn't planning to take any chances if I fell off my board, I was a rookie afterall. "Right" Beth began, "I am going to show you the basics and then we are going to do some easy drills. Sprints, squats, watercircles and what not, all on the water". "Beth! I thought we were just going to have fun today?" I complained, "How on earth can I train on the board when I have never even used one?". I imagined myself falling into the Arctic water attempting it. "We will see how we go, but it is really easy" Beth said "especially with these boards, they really are great!". Her trust in my abilities was suspicious but I accepted and we entered the salty water, lesson beginning.
Beth showed me how to stand comfortably on top of the "Trophy" as she called it, how to paddle in a straight direction and then how to do it kneeling. "This is easy!" I declared after 15 minutes of lessons and practice, however Beth did note again that she had selected this day in particular as the water was always calm in this region after the storms. "Always respect the ocean" Beth noted "or it won't respect you". Continuing on from the lessons we began our exercises and wow, how good did I feel. I felt more like a boat, maybe not the fastest of all but I loved the feeling of the connection between body, board and water. The physicality of the activity itself was tiring but not too much. I loved it in short.
My introduction to paddleboarding began here with Beth. Now I have been practicing whenever possible over the past few months, and not just during Beth's fitness sessions, but for my own enjoyment also. This week I plan to buy my own board and continue with my paddling journey. A Trophy T1, the first and only board I have ever ridden.