Paddleboarding on the Thames

Things to do, Sport events

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When someone says ‘paddleboarding’, you’re probably more likely to think of skimming the waves in Perth, not dodging plastic bottles in Putney. But that’s where I found myself on a (thankfully) sunny Tuesday afternoon.

Leaving my digestive tract at the mercy of the Thames, I teamed up with Paul from paddleboarding school Active360. I quickly learned that this isn’t a ‘dip your toe in’ activity. You have to learn balance, stroke and steering – and that’s all before you even hit the water.

Once on the surprisingly huge and shockingly heavy board, any feelings of panic were blown away quicker than a carrier bag caught in an updraft. I had a few initial wobbles, but the board was sturdy and standing up proved quite easy; the trick is to look straight ahead and move quickly. It’s tempting to lazily scrape the oar along the board as you slice it through the water, but that’s a waste of energy. And, trust me, you need every last bit of that.

As we glided towards Putney Bridge, inner-city buildings glinting in the distance, I found a London I’d never seen before. The city was so much more serene from this point of view. So beautiful that I almost forgot about the deep burn making itself at home in my bum muscles.

Paddleboarding is easier and more enjoyable than I’d imagined. After a three-hour session, that flew by, we headed back. As soon as I put my paddle down the muscle ache hit me like a freight train. But it was worth it: instead of falling in the water, I fell in love with London all over again. I’m already planning my next paddle. Rosie Percy

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