Our two editors try out a new sport for the summer...
We live by the river in Hammersmith and over the last few summers, among the rowers and capsizing dinghies, I have occasionally sighted a straight-backed man foating past on a long board, looking serene. Then my daughter went to a paddle boarding party in Brentford and came back soaking wet and hugely smiley, ‘the best party, ever!’ And then I went to Greece and tried it. Admittedly I was in about 12 inches of fat calm crystal water but it was surprisingly easy. So I persuaded Annie to give it a go. Active 360 are stand up paddle boarding (or SUP to those in the know) experts. They run classes on the canal in Regent’s Park and on the river at Kew and Putney. We joined a beginners’ taster class in Putney. The riverside at
Putney on a sunny Saturday evening is as lovely a place as you can find in London. The Active 360 lot are knowledgeable and friendly but the whole outft has a wonderfully relaxed, surfy vibe. We put our valuables in their VW campervan, donned our life jackets and after a quick briefng ‘stay in the middle of the board’, ‘push DOWN
with your paddle’, ‘start off going against the tide’, we were off. You start kneeling and once you are confdent, slowly stand up. The boards are long and sturdy and we felt more wellbalanced than we had been expecting. The Thames may be cleaner than it used to be but you still wouldn’t want to fall in. We both survived the wakes of several passing boats without incident. Going upstream defnitely takes a bit of work, upper body and core, but a high energy burn out this is not. It is however, wonderful just to be on the river, on your own craft, enjoying the sunshine.
A ninety minute introduction to paddle boarding costs £45 active360.co.uk 020 3393 5360
Photos: Ben Curwen