Over the last year I have watched from the shore as people of all ages head out to sea and elegantly paddle around Seaton Bay. Stand Up Paddle Boarding, or SUP to those with the lingo, is the latest craze to literally sweep our shores. Enterprising locals have started to offer this new sport and one notable new place is Seaton in East Devon, where tall colourful flags have been brightening up the beach.
Last autumn my youngest daughter, only 9 at the time was given the chance to go paddle boarding and kayaking with Cubs.
The children were kitted out with wetsuits and I bravely stayed firmly on the pebbles, armed only with my camera, the towel and dry clothes at the ready. It was October after all and really not very calm or warm.
They ploughed out across the breaking surf. There was lots of laughter and happy screams. After an hour of swapping between the SUPs and kayaks, they returned to shore back through the crashing surf, soaking wet, cold and absolutely buzzing.
So when asked what she would like to do for her birthday this May, paddle boarding it was. So we headed back to Seaton and Seaton Bay Watersports.
Am I becoming a big girls blouse in my old age?
Now I have been lucky enough to do a lot of adventurous things in my life (parachuting, white water rafting, climbing, abseiling and various water sports). However for some reason I was quite nervous about giving this a go – maybe it’s my age catching up with me, or just the thought of getting cold and wet really doesn’t appeal.
Well spurred on by owners Lisa and Tony, before I knew it I was trussed up in a wet suit and having some on shore instruction.
If you’ve ever kayaked or canoed the paddle actions seem pretty similar. The board is surprising big and I was please to learn that standing up is the more advance position and that kneeling was fine to start off with.
The sun was shining, the breeze a bit lively but off we went. Lisa came with us and ensured we didn’t drift out to sea too far and helped me and children paddle in the right direction! The boards are really quite stable so after mastering the kneeling position it was time to stand up – brace yourselves, knees slightly bent, feet parallel. All good so far. Now we were looking quite professional! The view back to Seaton was great and seeing the beach from this direction was quite a novelty.
“Now it’s time to try and practice the alternative turn I showed you on shore” suggested Lisa.
So with new found confidence I leant my weight back on one leg and started to paddle as instructed. Let’s just say it didn’t go to plan and I was pretty damn quick getting back on the board once the shock of the cold water had hit me! And yes I was the only one to fall in, not once but twice!
The whole experience lasted about an hour and a half. It really was good fun and manageable for all ages I would guess from about 9 upwards on you individual SUPs. Including instruction it cost us £15 each and if you have been before you can hire the boards or kayaks on their own for £10 per hour.
As you may have guessed from not spotting many photos of me I prefer to be behind the camera, so just to prove I did do it we had a photo taken out at sea!
So if you are feeling like doing something a little more adventurous this summer then go on, give stand up paddle boarding a a go! Here’s the link to Seaton Bay Watersports website, I can really recommend them.
If you want to make a day of your trip to Seaton, then why not take look at my other posts Out and About in Seaton for some general ideas or try a walk around the Seaton Wetlands. Finally if you want a great place for lunch or coffee at the end of the Esplanade then head for The Hideaway Café.