I love nothing more than having a little adventure to look forward to at the weekend. I find real joy in heading to work on a Monday morning knowing there is something happening at the weekend I can get excited about. It doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be tough, but that feeling of anticipation for something fun and interesting at the end of the working week is enough to get me through. And going paddleboarding on the River Wye was one such activity the other weekend.
I’ve become friends with the guys over at Inspire2Adventure over the last year to 18 months; they were heavily involved in the DeanWye Bloggers weekend I had the pleasure of attending last year – which is directly responsible for me falling in love with the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley, as well as the Hidden Valley Yurts week a few months back where they put on the Gorge Walking activity for us.
They’re a great little company based in Monmouth, running a wide range of activities for the likes of me to look forward to during the working week. This year they have added SUP – stand up paddleboarding – to their list. They invited a handful of bloggers down to give the 2-3 hour session a go. At the moment the sessions are good for 12 people at a time, and so are great for families, groups, stag and hen weekends, and the like. I was just excited to get out on the river and learn more about this now super popular water sport.
Getting Set Up
Arrival at the field site by the River Wye on the outskirts of Monmouth was straight forward, and once the whole group had gathered, we quickly got going. We had some brief but important and well given instruction from Paul on how to kneel and stand on the board, how to paddle, and how to steer. We then had to help pump up the paddleboards (Paul had done most of the hard work, we just had to top them up) before being kitted out in our buoyancy aids, boards and paddles and heading out onto the water.
The field we were using is owned by the canoe club who have built stepped access down onto the river, handy when the level is so low thanks to this summer’s drought in the area. There are no facilities at all at the field – no loos or showers – so come prepared.
Five of us started on single boards, with the other six people in the group starting out on Mega Monty, a humongous team SUP. The idea was we’d spend an hour this way around before swapping for the second half.
Messing About on the River
Once on the river we were encouraged to get used to how the boards balanced and moved on the water by staying on our needs for a few minutes. We paddled up and down the river, keeping to the centre to allow the rowers to stick to the left or right. After a short while Paul encouraged us each to our feet, which we all managed. I love being out on the water and paddleboarding is definitely a lovely way to do it – I find it both a great work out and super relaxing.
Paul included a couple of games to keep us on our toes. For those of us on the single paddleboards we made a long snake by lining the boards one on top of the other. Naturally we were on our knees to create the snake, we then stood up one by one from the back to the front until we were all paddling our snake down the Wye. It was super wobbly and very hard to steer, but a great team building game to try on the water.
Once our hour or so was up, those of us on the single boards switched to Mega Monty for the second half to see what that was like. We swapped over mid-river, which made things very interesting. As soon as I sat on the big board I realised it was super stable, much more so than the skinny little single boards. We soon got the hang of steering the biggie and had a lovely relaxing time paddling up and down the river chatting all things blogs and Gloucestershire and the like. It was fun to watch the other group try the snake game, too.
And because it was the start of Afternoon Tea Week at the end of our session we sat on Mega Monty with tea and cake – brilliant!
Watch me float
It’s video time! Hope you enjoy this little insight into my paddleboarding experience with Inspire2Adventure.
There are a huge number of activity companies about offering all kinds of active experiences on land and in the water. Having come across Inspire2Adventure a number of times now I am very confident in recommending them to my family and friends for this kind of thing, and would happily part with my money if I was to want to book an activity in the future. The paddleboarding morning was a lot of fun, was pitched at exactly the right level for the group, and definitely helped me fall in love with the sport even more.
Thanks to Inspire2Adventure for inviting me down for a spot of paddleboarding on the River Wye. This is the adventure we had. You know I’ll be back!