Sup Bristol, if you haven't heard, is a nicely named paddle boarding group holding sessions down Bristol harbourside.
Once signed up for the taster session via the supbristol website my first issue was what to wear on the day. I don't really have any clothes for water sports (hate using that phrase!) , so opted for some khaki shorts and a sports t-shirt, trainers weren't necessary as you can go bare foot which gave better grip anyway.
The taster session is around 1.5 hours and a whopping 25 pounds, which felt a bit steep but I'd rather spend my money on a lifelong experience like that than say sit in a darkened bar and drink 4-5 pints, it's also around half that price if you then return to do more sessions ( which I have already booked )
After an introductory talk from Toni our instructor which included a small safety briefing ( paddle boarding is really quite safe since you are attached to a massive flotation device ) , we were out on the water.
You start by kneeling, it does feel wierd to begin with and rather shaky but kneeling soon feels robust, standing was a little harder but everyone in the group did it fine , only one person fell in, sadly for them but funny for us they did it twice
'Nice bum' the unforunate group members friend taunted at her sodden mate , her trousers clinging mercillesly to her derrier.
Anyway , let me rewind a little. So after kneeling for a bit we got to stand up in the safety of a little watery cul-de-sac. My girlfriend said it felt a bit claustraphobic in there , which I got since the sides of the waterway were lined with peoples boats which we were told not to grab if you got to close as apparently it can get dangerous.
Standing on the board I was a bit wobbly and spent most of my time while upright looking down at my feet to make sure I didn't slip into the cold juice below. Not being terribly experienced with waterways I wasn't expecting passing rowers to make such as difference to the surface tension of the water.
After one set of rowers had blitzed past my girlfriend nearby turned to me , aware the water was about to get a bit choppy and warned me of such as I came crashing down into the kneeling position as I immediately , no doubt psychologically , got affected by the change in balance as the board started to lift off the surface in small little bumps.
When we did leave that little canal like waterway to head on to the SS great britain it did feel like entering a big expanse, there was a little anxiety as we crossed that water , numerous times I thought of rainforest tribesman on TV paddling in the same manner on waters housing anacondas and kamon, put things in perspective a fair bit!
It was really impressive though to paddle past the cool little pirate boat and dis-used boat by the magnificent SS great Britain but now your standing in their territory , it was a cool experience. To finish the iconic littler setting balloons had begun their ascent on the first day of the balloon fiesta, when I got the chance to look up it was great :)
There was something calming and a little exhilirating about paddle boarding, I certainly enjoyed it more than my rowing taster on the same patch years ago, it feels like the lighter way to enjoy the waters.
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