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  • JUL 20, 2018
  • WRITTEN BY: Willow Drewett

It can be daunting to try out a brand new activity, especially a skilful one. But as the saying goes, ‘You’ll never know until you try’!

At first, I was extremely nervous about stand-up paddleboarding (more commonly known as SUPing). The majority of my family and friends know me as one of the clumsiest individuals alive, so the prospect of balancing on a piece of polystyrene while drifting across the water didn’t exactly strike me as easy, but I was more than up for the challenge.

On the mild afternoon of July 11th, we set off to Hove Lagoon where the experience was to be held. Lagoon Watersports is a Brighton based outdoor water sports centre offering activities including jetskiing, sailing, and windsurfing. They have two locations in Brighton: Brighton Marina and Hove Lagoon.

The Lagoon was easy to get to, located alongside Brighton seafront when entering the Hove area. The lake was larger than I anticipated, with a children’s pool, and a clear glistening lagoon occupied by people taking lessons and enjoying the activities. I instantly spotted a stand-up paddle boarder and felt my excitement grow.

We made our way into the reception area situated inside the Lagoon Watersports main building (which you can see photographed above). The staff were incredibly welcoming, and were quick to get us signed up before sending us off to the changing rooms. Katie was our lovely instructor for the day, and assigned us all with wetsuits. By the way, be ready for a battle with your wetsuit – although thick and warm, it does not make for a simple slide in job! Myself, Gemma and Hannah, who was on work experience with us, glamorously – or as glamorously as we could - strolled down towards the lagoon edge. Here, we were given instructions by Katie on how paddle boards operate, and how to position ourselves onto the board.

Once we all understood what we were doing, we chose our paddle boards. There is a choice between a harder, more stable board, or a soft, inflatable board. To get into the water, we all laid out (tummy first) on top of our boards, and used our arms to glide gracefully into the centre of the lagoon.

Now, for the tricky part! Katie helpfully assisted us on how to stand up steadily on the board, and lo and behold, no one (including me) fell off!

Gemma took to paddling like a duck to water, while Hannah and I took a little longer to get to grips with the new balancing sensation. While I was becoming more confident, Hannah toppled straight into the water, and so did Gemma! However, my pompous satisfaction was short-lived thanks to a game of ‘Katie Says’ (a take on ‘Simon Says’) when I plunged headfirst into the water.

After Katie gave us a few more tips and techniques, we finished with a game of Gladiators. The aim was to wobble the other person off their extra-large paddle board. Gemma and I tried our best, but Hannah came out on top as our well-deserved winner!

After my day at Lagoon Watersports, I can confirm that Stand up Paddleboarding is brilliant fun, and people of all skill levels can give it a go and enjoy the experience. A huge thank you to the team at Hove Lagoon for having us!


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