Bournemouth and I
PUBLISHED: 15:58 28 September 2011 | UPDATED: 20:04 20 February 2013
Susanne Masters stands on the sea and enjoys the view as well as discovering a pleasurable way to travel
The surf reef off Boscombe was broken this year by a boat propeller and is currently being repaired. While surfers have been out catching waves regardless of whether Bournemouths artificial surf reef is working or not, for me it was a prompt to think about other things you can do in the water with boards. Kite surfing looks wild and exciting, the perfect sport for thrill seekers. However having once managed to break my arm falling of a stationary swing I am avoiding kite surfing. The combining of wind and waves with a board, kite and strings seems like tempting fate for me.
A more peaceful and less perilous way of enjoying the water is stand up paddle boarding, also known as SUP. It is exactly as its name describes you stand on a board while using a paddle. And if you can keep your balance, you can do it without getting wet. Its a pleasant leisurely way to travel and you can cover a lot of ground on a SUP. I have some friends who quite often go from the Poole side of Bournemouth to Hengistbury Head and back on their paddle boards after work.
Inspired by this I asked a friend to take me to the SUP class that got her started. Getting into a wetsuit took longer than it took to get going with the board. The group had a little paddle in waist deep water where we practiced turning and the art of going from standing to kneeling, very handy if wake from a boat challenges your balance, and then we headed off for two hours of paddling.
Once we got to deeper water and were feeling in control of our boards our instructors demonstrated speedy pivot turns to give us a challenge which got most people falling in. Two hours maintaining your balance while paddling turned out to be enough exercise for me to wake up with stiff legs the next day, as well as happy memories of crystal clear water. Its fascinating how different ones town looks when viewed while standing on the sea.
The people who took me paddle boarding are based in Poole but there are certainly plenty of places in Bournemouth that offer SUP lessons alongside surfing and kite-surfing lessons. But of course if the wind has got the waves up and you fancy an adrenaline rush then you might want to take the opportunity to have a go at kite-surfing. But I think Ill be keeping my feet planted firmly on my paddle board!
Susanne did a course with Easy Riders who are based in H2O Sports on Sandbanks Road, Poole, just 5 minutes from Poole Harbour. More details call 01202 744055 or visit www.easyriderskiteboarding.com. For more information about stand up paddle boarding visit standuppaddlesurf.co.uk, the UKs online SUP community, where you can find out about a course near you and the basics of the sport.