“Stand-Up Paddle boarding is the UK’s fastest growing water sport and its popularity is rapidly increasing. With inflatable boards now available for increased ease of transport the opportunities to partake are also bigger than ever. It is accessible to everyone, of all ages, sizes and skills and you can do it anywhere there is water.” Inspire 2 Adventure.
You may recall that I previously mastered stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) in Corsica and even did a spot of yoga on a SUP board with success. I have since then tried to teach my children on an inflatable board we hired in Cornwall but it was a complete disaster as the waves were far too much. Therefore I was really interested in hearing more about stand-up paddle boarding on the River Wye with Inspire 2 Adventure.
About Inspire 2 Adventure
Inspire 2 Adventure, an outdoor adventure business based in Monmouth along the River Wye in South Wales; who are celebrating 13 years of bringing adrenaline-fuelled activities to the areas of The Forest of Dean and Wye Valley in Gloucestershire; Monmouthshire and Abergavenny in South Wales.
Inspire2Adventure is a member of the IOL (Institute for Outdoor Learning), which supports, develops and promotes excellent practice in learning through outdoor experiences (such as kayaking, open canoeing, rock climbing, abseiling, gorge scrambling, high level ropes course, and off-road cycling). Instructors are all highly experienced and qualified practising outdoor professionals, holding a range of outdoor qualifications along with first aid qualifications. They are chosen for their ability to work with a range of client groups and most have a training and development background.
Stand-Up PaddleBoarding with Inspire 2 Adventure
Not only is stand-up paddle boarding is a great way to see the River Wye but it is an easy to learn and fun way to get active. It’s suitable for all abilities as long as they are over 8 years old. Although a reasonable level of fitness is recommended and the ability to be able to swim. Inspire 2 Adventure provide all the equipment – including the instructors!
Ideal for individuals or groups, with stand-up paddle boarding sessions catering for up to 12 people at a time utilising the big stand up paddle board called Monty. This board can hold up to 8 people at a time and can be a really fun way to get on the water as a group – or to help literally find your feet as it is so much easier (and less daunting) to stand up on.
My Experience with stand up paddle boarding with Inspire 2 Adventure
Parking was in a field near the river which was clearly marked out with flags to show us that we had gone to the right place. We were warmly greeted and had chance to talk to the others who we would be sharing our experience with. We started with a full safety briefing, instructions on paddles and boards and got kitted up with safety jackets. We pumped up the stand-up paddle boards and carried them down to the River (also with our paddles). My 10-year-old and I opted to go on the single boards first. I actually thought this would be easier as I was worried that on the bigger stand-up paddle board we might knock someone off, that it would be better to get our confidence first. It turns out I was actually really wrong and the bigger stand-up paddle board would have been easier but it was most definitely the right choice for me to go on Monty second.
Once we got the stand-up paddle board on to the water we got on and at first started by just by sitting before going up onto our knees. Whilst in this position we learned to steer and turn around on the spot: Going up and down the River Wye being careful to avoid swans and keep out of the way of rowers. I actually found it quite hard work up on my knees and my legs began to ache. I am not sure if this is to do with an existing running injury or just how unfit I am becoming.
When it was time to stand I was the very last one up. Even my 10-year-old had just got right up without falling off – making it look very easy. The instructor did reassure me saying that they had no fear at that age! I knew that the water wasn’t deep, I had a life jacket on and I can swim (plus I had spare clothes) but fear just griped me. I think the fact that there were loads of people with cameras pointing at me did not help. I got up on my feet and immediately I was as stiff as anything and could not move. I had actually got so hot that I used some water from the river to wipe on my face to cool me down. Another blogger (Weekend Candy) advised that I should go back down on to my knees and move along the stand-up paddle board to a better position before standing up again. Eventually, when it felt the eyes were off me, I managed to stand again.
The instructor came to see if I was okay and told me to be confident with it, that it would make things easier. Apparently stand-up paddle boarding is like riding a bike in that the more you move the steadier it becomes – and the paddle being in the water helps keep your balance. But my legs were just shaking like crazy! I knew I had to stop them, to try to relax or I would fall in. This meant I tensed them right up and they have been aching for days because of it. Really I needed to engage my core more, I know this – but I just don’t know what happened. Needless to say I did not fall in; even when we placed the stand-up paddle boards on top of one another and then stood up! My son however did fall in after wobbling his board around from side to side and jumping up and down on it – seeing how far he could travel! It was most definitely on purpose but the instructor still checked he was okay immediately.
We moved from the single stand-up paddle boards to Monty whilst on the water with ease. It was so much fun and as I said earlier much easier. The person on at the back steered this giant stand-up paddle board and the rest paddled one way on one side and the other way on the other side to turn around.
Conclusions of Stand-Up Paddle Boarding with Inspire 2 Adventure
We had a great time stand-up paddle boarding with Inspire 2 Adventure and were really happy with all the instructions and standard of care we received. I would definitely recommend it and am contemplating having a party package with them. It has definitely made me think about considering what other activities Inspire 2 Adventure offer.
As well as the already mentioned Weekend Candy other bloggers present were:
Wyastone Business Park
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- TripAdvisor: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g552009-d2336270-Reviews-Inspire2Adventure-Monmouth_Monmouthshire_South_Wales_Wales.html
- Website: http://www.inspire2adventure.com/
My son and I had a stand-up paddle boarding experience with Inspire 2 Adventure for purposes of promotion. All opinions are honest and my own.