insideSUSSEX Magazine Issue 14 - April 2016 - Page 46

HEALTH+WELLNESS STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING have fun while you work on your waistline Stand up paddleboarding, or SUP for short, is having a moment. A big moment. One of the fastest growing watersports in the world, everyone who’s anyone is having a go; we can’t actually remember the last time we saw Cameron Diaz off a stand up paddleboard. In 2013, it was hailed the outdoor sporting activity with the most first-time participants of any in the USA that year, and the UK is getting in on the action too with lots of people taking to the water as a great way to keep fit. This month, Polly Humphris made it her mission to master the art of SUP. (Or at least get to standing on the board). So what exactly is stand up paddleboarding? Pretty much exactly what it says it is – pulling yourself through open water using a long, singlebladed paddle while stood on an oversized surfboard. An all over body workout, the combination of balancing and paddling engages every muscle from your core down to your feet, and reaching forward with your blade for every stroke is like contracting your abs into a crunch and holding a squat every time you paddle. Better still, you’re not dependent on waves or weather conditions to get out on the water. Which is how I found myself in Shoreham, on the River Adur, on a wet and windy March day having my first ever SUP lesson with Sasha Chisholm, owner and instructor at Moxie Unleashed. Before the words ‘wet and windy’, or the idea of balancing, stood up on a board in said wet and windy conditions puts you off though, please bear with me. I was prepared to fall in and out of the rippling, cold water at least 136 times, but I didn’t fall in once; and who knew how warm wetsuits can keep a person? So warm in fact that I’m thinking about getting one just to wear casually next winter. “A lot of people’s primary concern is that they won’t be able to balance on the board, but they are wide enough for you to steady yourself pretty quickly,” Sasha told me. “I give beginners a two-hour introductory session, taking 30 minutes to practice safety and technique out of the water. I then ask them to kneel in the middle of the board on flat, confined water until they feel confident enough to balance standing. After that, most people get comfortable with it far quicker than they think they will. It’s such an accessible sport too. I’ve taught people from age 7 up to 75, of all shapes and sizes, and there’s not one who hasn’t picked it up.” 46