This is the question I asked myself last year.
Having fallen in love with paddleboarding five years ago I was fortunate enough to turn my passion for paddleboarding into a job and became a SUP coach for Epic Life. I love coaching and seeing people experience the same fun and passion from paddleboarding as I have. My background is fitness and after giving up distance running due to a knee operation, I was looking for a new challenge with that excitement and adrenaline that I missed. So back to the question could I SUP race? All the doubts crossed my mind – is my paddling good enough? What if I come last? What if I fall in – how embarrassing would that be? Where do I start? How do I train for racing? Do many women race? Am I too old? Would it be friendly? So even though I coach most days, this was a whole new side to paddleboarding for me. Lucky for me my boss Cliff Meaden encouraged me and told me to go for it and with his help and training with Supscotty of Hayward Sports I thought why not and signed up for the Medway Raid Race last September at Allington. I’m not going to lie my training was sporadic with work being busy and come race day I wasn’t sure what to expect feeling that I hadn’t trained enough.
On the day the atmosphere was amazing and lots of my questions were answered. Yes, there were lots of females racing, which was great to see, and it was the first-time race for many people and yes they were as nervous as me! So, I did my first 10K race. Did I have a time in mind- yes. Did I make it no, but I was so happy to have finished that it didn’t matter. The feeling of crossing the finish line was fantastic. That adrenaline when you’ve pushed yourself and can’t stop smiling. The encouragement from all the other racers waiting at the finish line made me realise that it really is a friendly and welcoming community.
So, moving on six months later, those same questions appeared again but I wanted to set more goals and see what I could achieve and of course have some fun and enjoyment on the way. With one of our customers, Michelle, also looking for similar challenges, pushing our doubts aside we decided to go for it and enter Head of the Dart (as well as The Norfolk Skeddale, Norfolk Ultra and GBSUP Cardiff 10K). To my amazement and excitement, I was asked by GBSUP to be their ambassador for April. I feel flattered and would love to encourage more people to give a SUP race a go. It’s great for your fitness, your core strength and especially beneficial for mental health but most importantly it is fun! So, my paddling technique is still not perfect, I still don’t know what to expect from these challenges and no doubt it will be a roller coaster of emotions, but I am learning it’s good to step out of your comfort zone and enjoy the challenges ahead.
Follow my journey over the next couple of months and see how I get on with the training and events. It would be great to have more people join us from Epic Life next year or if you would like to join us this year we can aim for a challenge in September. We will be doing training sessions throughout the summer. So, if you fancy a challenge, to paddle with others, or have some fun join us for our socials and Paddlefit training sessions. Everyone is welcome.
I look forward to sharing my training with you 😊