Sup.

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SUP. Even the name oozes cool. Sure, it’s an acronym for Stand Up Paddle boarding, rather than an abbreviated ‘wassup’, which in turn is an abbreviated ‘what’s up’, but it’s definitely the coolest new water sport craze. And without sounding even more like a grandma trying to use ‘hip’ new words I shall go on…

 It’s the beautiful island of Jersey, perched in the English Channel, with the smells of freshly baked baguettes and croissants practically wafting over from nearby Normandy, France. I say ‘beautiful’ because in the summer the beaches mirror those of pristine Mediterranean sands, clear blue waters and striking cliff paths. When it’s sunny that is… but let’s just assume it is for the sake of this picturesque setting. What better way to admire this scenery than gliding past on the water without the need for a motor, just the noise of the water lapping against your board. This is what paddle boarding is all about.

And it’s easier than previously thought. The day before’s early rise surf saw a paddle boarder fall straight onto his rear end with a thud, and I was a little apprehensive that my attempt would have the same fate. A few days earlier, I had been admiring a handsome paddle boarder effortlessly catching a wave, beautiful blonde locks and a ray of sunshine behind him giving him an angelic aura, gliding along, one with the water… of course I wasn’t paying attention to anything else and was knocked clean off my surfboard with a very unflattering yelp by the very same wave. For shame.

Now it was time to give paddle boarding a go. St Brelade’s bay in Jersey on a summer’s evening smells like pizza and BBQs, and the calm water which occasionally has an influx of surf-able swell means it’s perfect for this pursuit. We paddled along on our knees and once comfortable, cautiously got to our feet, gripping the paddle for dear life. No casualties yet… success. As a group of beginners, we paddled towards a nearby bay as if we’d been doing it for years. Well that was the easy part. Doing a 360 degree standing turn proved wobbly but doable. Swapping boards with another person ended up with a splash on both our parts, but second time round was more successful after a comical leg on each board and both drifted away from each other. One man calmly did a headstand whilst we looked on without attempt… if I can’t do it on land, I doubt this will be a success, but good for him!

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And away I go… paddling along a clear highway!

Singing ‘Just Around the River Bend’ from Pocahontas, the rest of the paddle was delightful, like being on a tall kayak. It was so serene, paddling, then sitting, then lying down and watching the blue sky, admiring the view. On the way in, there was no swell enough to surf, but that is definitely next on the agenda, as well as SUP yoga, which I assume is pretty much what it says on the tin – doing yoga on the large board. I can see why paddle boarding is becoming so popular; when there are no waves you can go for a jaunt, when there are waves you can see them before the surfers and sneakily catch them. I feel so privileged to be living around the playground that is nature and the sea, to have the opportunity to try these things, and feel so free.

Word.

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We went SUP-ing with Absolute Adventures, St. Brelade’s Bay, Jersey.  http://www.absolutejersey.co.uk

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