I’ve never been good at sports or brave enough to try anything adventurous – however out of lockdown boredom I decided I would like to give paddleboarding a try.
The lockdown days of banana bread baking and Tiger King binges seem to have vanished and a new hobby has taken their place, SUP paddleboarding. Maybe it’s just my Instagram feed but I saw lots of people trying out this activity over lockdown and it seemed like something I would enjoy.
I looked online for paddleboarding lessons and found Excelsior Adventures who do one to one lessons which is perfect for someone like me who feels excited but very nervous about trying something new.
The day of the lesson arrived and I donned my surf leggings (which I found very comfy), a long sleeved gym top and my water shoes. I met Jen from Excelsior Adventures at Loch Lomond and we carried the paddleboards down to the shore. There’s a leash on the paddleboards which you wrap around one of your ankles, this is to keep you attached to the board and means your board won’t float away from you. From the shore, we got onto the boards and I got used to keeping my balance.
Once on the board, Jen taught me how to use the paddles which took me a bit to get my head around it but by the end of the lesson I was getting used to manoeuvring and it was getting easier to know which way to paddle.
Where we paddled, there were lots of little boats and it felt amazing just being on the water. I was surprised at how calm I felt, I was expecting to feel panicky at not being on solid land but the views mesmerised me. Before long, we were out in the loch and far from the shore we had left.
I didn’t stand up straight away on the board, in fact I only stood up briefly and then went back down to sitting on the board. I think one day I will get the hang of standing up but for now, I was enjoying just being on the board and seeing the views that you don’t get from land.
There were a few trees that were hanging over part of the loch. When we paddled closer we realised that someone had actually made swings and tied them around the tree. So of course we paddled over, left our boards sitting on the side of the loch and had a swing! The leaves on the trees went over us like a protective natural dome – it felt like we had found a little hideout. As we swung our legs, the water of Loch Lomond splashed onto our feet – I felt like a kid again.
At that moment, I realised how exciting this water activity could be for me – finding things that are so off the beaten track that they’re on water and hiding away just waiting to be found by me and my paddleboard.
Paddleboarding seems like a great way of exercising that’s also quite gentle. My legs were a bit shaky afterwards as I think I was just getting used to using my muscles in a new way but the more you do something like this, the easier it will get.
I really enjoyed my lesson with Jen from Excelsior Adventures who is lovely and patient – and told me lots of great tips that I wouldn’t have gotten if I hadn’t booked a lesson.
Why I recommend getting a paddleboarding lesson
Getting a paddleboarding lesson is a great way to find out if you actually like it before you spend a lot of money on the equipment.
Here’s a few more reasons to book a lesson:
- find out more about the boards, ask lots of questions and get recommendations
- learn how to properly paddleboard – no need to look up the University of YouTube!
- get used to paddleboarding before you set off on your own
- if you do have your own paddleboard, you can take that to the lesson and learn how to use it
- it’s great for mental health – I got such a kick out of this, it’s something so different to do and I went home feeling like I had accomplished something great