I never knew you could go paddleboarding on the Thames. So when I was invited to go along to try it out on a sunny September day with a bunch of friendly folk, I couldn’t help but jump and accept the invitation. It was even more lovely to be able to bring my boyfriend’s sister, Dyanne, too, who was in town for a family wedding. (Thanks to the Tenderstem team for that!)
Now, I’ll be honest. I didn’t really put too much thought into how hard it would be to actually balance on a board on a flowing river. Until I got there and then the thought of falling into said river, especially after a health & safety talk on catching a variety of lurgies, suddenly didn’t appeal. So I was pretty determined to stay upright.
After a deliciously simple snack of Tenderstem crudites and dips, we jumped on board. Ok, let me be a bit more specific here – I carefully got on my knees and sidled off the pier on to the board, where I stayed for a while. On my knees on the board, that is. When I did try to stand up, I got the major shakes and managed to stay up until I realised that I didn’t know how to steer or prevent a crash so after hurtling into a fellow blogger (sorry!) I realised that it may be better for me to drop to my knees in a bid to stay dry. That worked brilliantly. The only issue then was that I had to get back up again. This happened a couple of times when I encountered waves caused by boats (yes, you still have to share the river with them!) or the wind, but I am pleased to report that I made it to the end without getting wet. Winner.
I guess that meant I deserved a prize, which came in the form of a riverside feast hosted by Tenderstem, where we had freshly cooked egg fried rice whilst we all chatted about the day in the sunshine.
Thanks so much to Tenderstem for organising the day and thank you to the instructors at Active 360 who made me feel like I actually could get up off my knees and ride out the waves. I totally recommend the experience – and the food. More on that to come. (Make sure you are subscribed to the blog so that you don’t miss that one!)