All these are fantastic qualities to have in a paddle board, however, when this is only the third time stepping onto a board then it throws up an issue - they're not very stable for the novice. The thinner, lighter and more agile the board, the harder it is to stand up and find that neutral grounding to provide a decent balance. That first half-an-hour was precarious for most of the team with a couple almost ending up having a face-to-face meeting with the canal (me included). I'm not sure if you're familiar with city canals but they're not exactly a swimming pool, it wouldn't be a nice experience falling in. Surprisingly none of the team did end up meeting the canal face-to-face, a feat we're all very much proud of.
...there is a life away from the screen and, as a nation,
As we passed Little Venice the whole team had found their 'water-feet', or as Mr Pilate's would say: "the neutral spine", and were beginning to work 'as one' with the board. The sure-fire way of noticing this is that the general conversation between the teammates moves on from the stability of the board compared to previous experiences to general chit-chat and team bonding. It was a pleasant evening with a breeze that was light to moderate depending on the direction of travel. At one point we were greeted with a head-on gust, not too strong that it endangered our balance but enough that it caused the surface water to ripple in a consistent motion towards us. It was astonishing how much more effort was needed to keep the paddle board moving in a forwards direction and in a straight-line. It was a realisation that a head-on wind could drastically slow-down our progress on this trip. On the flip side however, if we experienced a tail-wind this could make life a lot easier and propel us at faster speeds counting down the miles as we go: it's swings and roundabouts.
This was a fantastic training session and team bonding exercise. We were still one person down from the team but hope to rectify this in a couple of weeks when he returns from Myanmar! But, as sessions go this has definitely gone a long way to help us realise that we can actually do this and that it could be a whole lot of fun along the way. Still so much yet to organise but the team are well into it and looking forward to the challenge!
Don't forget we are doing this challenge to raise awareness and funds for the Youth Adventure Trust, a fantastic charity that aims to give children the confidence and ability to take on life and to battle it head on through the use of free adventure. Teaching them that they can reach their full potential to take anything that life throws at them. So, feel free to follow this link: www.paddlecrawl.co.uk and click on the donate button at the top of this page to help them, help children. Thank you.
Image by: Active360