Me and my boys were invited by Inspire 2 Adventure to learn how to paddle board. And where better to try it than on the calm waters of the River Wye in Monmouth. If you have been wondering whether to give paddle boarding a go, but have been a bit unsure as to what to expect, read on to see how we got on.
We were greeted by Paul from Inspire 2 Adventure at the car park. I say car park, its more of a field next to the river. We also met some of the other lovely bloggers who were also taking part in the learn how to paddle board experience.
The boards were already laid out for us. Alongside the standard Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUPs) there was also the Mega SUP which was huge. Apparently you can fit about 15 people on it. I’m not sure of your chances of staying on it then though!
Paul had us working in no time, finishing off pumping up the paddle boards. He then went through a quick but thorough safety talk and outlined the instructions on how to operate the boards.
Our experience of Paddle Boarding on the River Wye
Before we knew it we were out on the water. Six of us started off on the Mega SUP. This was surprisingly easy and being so large wasn’t too bad to balance on. Don’t get me wrong, there were moments of wobble, but somehow we managed to keep it together. It was a great way to introduce us to paddle boarding and to build our confidence. It was also nice to paddle down the river and have a chat to everyone. A great one for team building too.
After an hour on the big SUP we then swapped with the others and had a go at the individual paddle boards. My boys shared one and I got to have a bit of peace on mine. Just as well as they fell in within about 2 minutes on the board. But to be honest I think they’d been itching to fall in from the start.
I loved the individual board. It was a lot harder than the Mega SUP and you felt that you were really working your core, especially when turning or changing direction. And of course when I foolishly tried to race my sons up the river. I’m writing this now and my arms are still aching from the effort.
Inspire 2 Adventure were fantastic. They were supportive to those who were a little nervous and gave plenty of tuition throughout. They were also patient with my boys who honestly can test most peoples patience.
We had plenty of time on the boards, as we were on the water for 3 hours. If you have ever been tempted to give Paddle Boarding a go, then I would 100% recommend Inspire 2 Adventure to learn how to paddle board. Me and my boys loved it. The setting was idyllic. A beautiful wide open river that we almost had to ourselves save for the occasional kayak, rower or swan.
So here are some tips if want to learn how to Paddle Board…
Use the Leash
There is a leash that you secure to your ankle, a bit like surfing. This means if you fall off the paddle board does not end up down the river without you. Keeping it attached to you makes it much easier for you to get back on.
Build Up Gradually
Pick somewhere with calm water. The River Wye was ideal for beginners. Start off on your knees and gain your confidence before trying to stand up. When you are ready to stand up take your time and do it carefully. You can use your paddle to steady you.
Don’t Scoop your Paddle
This is a different technique to kayaking. The temptation is to scoop the water but really you should be aiming for a smoother stroke to give you a nice glide. That way you will be more likely to keep your balance and it will be less jerky.
Look Where You Are Going
The natural temptation is to look down at your board but this won’t help your balance. The best tip is to look forward at where you are going. Keep your head up, your core tight and keep the weight even over your feet.
Be Aware of Whats Around You
It’s unlikely you’ll be the only one on the water. There will be others, rowers, kayakers and perhaps some ducks or swans. Watch where you are going so you don’t bang into anyone. Keep your wits about you.
Take the Conditions into Account
We were told to get back on our knees in any areas of shallow water. That way if we did fall in we would be less likely to hurt ourselves. The same goes for if it is particularly windy. If it is then lower yourselves down or even lie on your board.
Be Prepared to Fall In
Likely hood is at some stage as you go on you will fall in. If you do try and fall away from your board and forwards into the water. When it is time to get back on, try and put your body horizontal and kick and then slide on. Don’t get back on like the way you exit a swimming pool. You just wont be able to get back on.
About Inspire 2 Adventure
Inspire 2 Adventure operates a range of outdoor adventure and team building activities suitable for individuals, families and groups. You can have a go at Paddle Boarding which they have introduced this year. Or of course you could try kayaking, gorge scrambling, rock climbing or biking. They provide a whole host of activities to pick from.
Inspire 2 Adventure is based in Monmouth right on the River Wye. The Paddle Boarding is new to their programme of events in 2018 and is suitable from ages 8 +
You can find out more information about all the activities on the Inspire to Adventure website: www.inspire2adventure.com
Disclosure – We were invited to learn how to paddle board by Inspire 2 Adventure in exchange for an honest review. As always all opinions are our own.