Tags Posts tagged with "inspiring"


Going on a SUP adventure with a few buddies to some far off destination might not be for everyone. But if you’ve ever had that feeling of wanting to get out there and paddle somewhere new this video from Ryan Salm and friends is for you. Paddling Norway’s beautiful Lofoten Archipelago is a SUP adventure heaven… just pack a drysuit!

If you want to get into doing SUP adventures check out Will’s video blogs of SUPing across Scotland.

All is not well in paradise… / Voyage of Te Mana #4

The islands in the South Pacific are known as a slice of paradise, with their golden sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. And as Jess & Nick sail, SUP and surf their way through Polynesia their blogs and photos has us green with envy. But unfortunately as Jess explains ‘all is not well in paradise.’…

So far our photos have shown nothing more than tranquil anchorages, glorious beaches lined with palm trees, and of course the never ending clear turquoise water with its beautiful fishes and coral. And for the most part this is reflective of what surrounds us as we sail our way through the Pacific. But we think it’s important to also mention some of the not so idyllic aspects we are seeing on our voyage.

Having sailed past our fair share of ever present water bottles (we even managed to snag a stray thong/flipflop in our outboard prop?!), we’ve also found many other assorted plastics whilst beachcombing deserted windward shorelines, where the pretty shells have been by far outnumbered by the presence of discarded plastics. From microplastics (small pieces of plastics that have been broken down by the wind/waves/sun into brightly coloured flecks that look tasty to fish and birds) to macroplastics (anything from toothbrushes, shavers, plastic toys, soles of Nike runners, plastic netting and ropes, and of course plastic bags and bottles/lids of all shapes and sizes), we have seen it all (without looking hard). And it’s a little disturbing to say the least.

Of course this is not news to any of us. We all know that the production and our consumption of plastic is unsustainable, and that its life cycle will outlive all of us by thousands of years. And thanks to the internet we’ve all seen images of seabirds and fish that have died from ingesting too many microplastics, and have most probably heard of the floating island of rubbish that has formed in the north west region of the pacific… entirely out of ocean plastics and other debris. It’s as if our society is binging on plastic, and unsuccessfully trying to find the right diet to get things back under control. And it’s not easy, as any dieter will attest. It requires behavioral change and that is hard, even harder when there are no immediate personal repercussions for having to do it.

I’m a great example. On land I would always try to remember my reusable shopping bags at the supermarket, but sometimes I’d forget, and no biggie… because in lucky country Australia they give you plenty of free plastic bags anyway (thankfully it sounds like this is about to change!). And coffee cups… I’ve got a keepsake cup somewhere, but it would not always be with me when I wanted to order a takeaway. And as our rubbish and recycling in Australia all gets whisked away nicely by the garbos each week anyway, its hard to actually gauge what level of rubbish and plastic waste we’re really creating. Out of sight, out of mind. But on a boat things are a little different. There are no garbos, there is no wheelie bin down the driveway, there is just our little boat which is both our floating home and our rubbish tip. Which means we have to think a little more about what we are consuming and how we deal with it.

Food is obviously our biggest consumption onboard, and with all organic matter fed to the fishes, we are left to store and then correctly dispose of our waste plastics, glass, cans and paper/cardboard. So far we’ve seen varying degrees of recycling programs on some of the more developed islands, to the burning of piles of plastic amongst the palm trees in more remote areas. But before we left Australia we had also started thinking about what (nonedible) consumables we would need whilst onboard. Already overflowing with surfboards and SUPs (lets not even get started on the toxic foams and synthetic resins used to make these toys) it really wasn’t much. But a supply of tropical surf wax, some polarized sunnies to make sure we can see the reefs whilst navigating, swimwear, and sun protection to stop us returning as sultanas were really all we thought we were in need of.

With Nick’s background in sustainable materials science we started searching to see if there were products out there that best fit our needs whilst also having an environmental conscience. It was refreshing to find there were companies and entrepreneurs starting to do things differently who more than fit the bill. And needless to say in this process I’ve learnt a lot about a whole bunch of things I can’t believe I’d never really considered before! So here is a run down of what we found after much research into our consumable options, and hence I’d like to introduce our Friends of Te Mana:

Surf Wax

Before looking into this I hate to say I’d never really thought much past the smell of my surf wax…However it turns out the majority of surf waxes available on the market that are made with petrochemical by-products and ingredients that are non-biodegradable, non-sustainable, non-renewable, synthetic, and toxic to the marine environment. Already aware and alarmed by this, Graham and his small family owned and operated business from Lennox Head – Tree Hugger All Natural Surf Wax – produce high quality surf wax that is 100% biodegradable and petrochemical free. And, their wax still smells pretty darn good!


And I definitely hadn’t thought about the production chain behind my sunglasses… Entrepreneurs Ryan and Rob had however and started Norton Point via a kickstarter campaign in 2015. Based on the island of Martha’s Vineyard in the US, they have developed the first line of sustainable and socially conscious eyewear made from recovered high density polyethylene (HDPE) ocean plastics from the canals and coastlines of Haiti. For every pair of glasses they sell they are committed to cleaning up one pound of plastic from the ocean. They also give back 5% net profit to global clean up, education, and remediation practices. We think that’s pretty impressive, and they’ve definitely succeeded in making us ‘sea plastic differently’.


Having owned my fair share of bikinis over the years, my only real concern with them up until now had been finding a pair that stayed on whilst surfing… I’d never really considered that most swimwear is made from petroleum derived nylon or synthetically produced polyester, or that more environmentally friendly alternatives might be available. Designed by the lovely Fiorella and made using locally based manufacturing in Sydney, Seapia’s beautiful swimwear not only stays on amazingly well with surfing and jumping off boats (not even a little bit of indecency), but by using Econyl fabric (made from recycled fishing nets) and waterbased inks they are (aside from a pair of coconuts) as ocean friendly a bikini as you can get (and far more comfortable).

Sun Protection

Although a little off the topic of plastics, but still relevant to the ocean and our ever increasing awareness of what we’re doing wrong to it… Sunscreen. Good old sunscreen is harmful for many of the little critters in coral reefs?… How did I not know this already?!… Oh wait… I forgot we don’t care about reefs in Australia. The majority of sunscreens on the market contain oxybenzone (among other things), which has been shown to be harmful to coral reefs. But Sydney based Chris and Kieren from Little Urchin thankfully know better and have developed a reef safe and eco friendly natural sunscreen that is good for us fair skinned humans, as well as being good for the ocean. They use zinc oxide as the active ingredient, which has been shown to be safe for the marine environment, as well as a whole load of other natural ingredients that I can actually pronounce. Also using zinc oxide (combined with other natural organic ingredients coconut oil, beeswax, olive oil, cocao powder and butter – that make it smell delicious!) Sun and Earth Natural Zinc is a small business from Byron Bay’s Hinterland that are helping to keep our snozzes and lips extra protected without using any nasties that can harm the reefs we are surfing over.

So there you have it. It doesn’t take much to start thinking a little differently about how and what you consume, and thankfully there are a growing number of companies out there already one step ahead.

Consume wisely… the ocean will thank you.

Words : Jess Cunningham ( Voyage of Te Mana)

So… next time you go to the shops, think about the impact what you’re buying will be having on the environment. And if it’s not good… think again! We are all responsible for the plastics and toxins polluting our oceans. And we can all do something about it by thinking more carefully about what we use and buy. Lets support the great companies around the globe doing their bit to help clean up our oceans. 

Incase you missed Jess and Nicks previous articles you can read them here

Paddling on lakes can give you some of the most beautiful paddling around the world. Paddling through out the seasons gives you the changes of plant and wildlife, so every day can be different. And when the conditions are right, paddling on lakes can give you some of the flattest water to offer paddle perfection. So don’t always head to the coast for your next paddle adventure. Go on a search for lakes instead.

This video is filmed on and around Caragh Lake, a large scenic lake in County Kerry, Ireland and produced by Tadhg Hayes Video Production.


Around the world there are many beautiful and magical locations to paddle and explore.  But unfortunately there are also many places that are becoming un-paddleable. Charlie Head is a man always on the look out for the next adventure on his SUP. After paddling around England & Wales and taking on the mighty Amazon with help from Red Bull TV, Charlie is soon off on another quest. This time, not only to raise awareness of our changing world, but also to capture something special before it’s gone. One area that is about to change forever is the Blue Nile River, due to the near completion of a huge dam upstream. Charlie and team plan to not only paddle this river for the last time, but also capture the magic and beauty of the river by filming a documentary along the way. But these epic films don’t just happen… they need support and funding.  Back ‘The last Descent’ here.

Charlie paddling the Amazon

About Charlie Head 
For us at SUPboarder Charlie Head is a true adventurer. Every chance he has, he is on the water exploring around the next corner, or planning for that next unique adventure. His go for it attitude is contagious and his softly spoken voice is certainly made for tv! We’ve followed Charlie’s adventures on many occasions and have got to know him well. He’s normally a do first and talk later kind of guy. But the time restraints of this trip has him doing the exact opposite. When possible Charlie likes to fund his own trips and expeditions. But this trip involves more than just him, as Charlie explains…

Below is summary of the trip from ‘The Last Descent’ website.
This is a documentary about a team of explorers making the last ever decent of the Blue Nile River. We have a very imminent timeline due to the construction of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. This profound reality means it’s the last chance for us and for anyone, to descend this iconic river, we want to honor this river and tell her story, before it’s gone forever.

Due to this unchangeable time scale we have to be realistic on the funding we can rise to get this project done.

The money we are trying to raise here is the bear minimum cost to just survive the 35 days in Ethiopia. Please see funding breakdown below.

Not long ago, our team made the first and the last descent from the primary source of the Amazon, the river Maranon We heard it was being damned, and we teamed up with our wing man Rocky on a campaign to protect the river, and spread the word. Now we intend to paddle board through the grand canyon of the Nile with a similar dream and vision of adventure to let the world know what is to be lost in the coming years and to motivate people to do something to help protect the remaining canyon. We invite you to help us make the grand canyon of the blue Nile of Africa more well known and we hope you will enjoy experiencing it through the film and posts that will follow the first ever stand up paddle boarding trip through the blue Nile.

Sadly, for this trip on the Nile, we may not have the same opportunity, but we sure as hell want to show the world what were saying goodbye to, and showcase it’s history and beauty. The Nile is one of the most well known and enigmatic rivers in the world, The Blue Nile emerges from Lake Tana in Ethiopia, the Blue Nile is the main stem source if the Nile. Downstream in the underpopulated origin of the Nile the native wildlife is abundant and in particular dangerous Nile crocodiles lurk in the waters.

Unfortunately soon it will not be possible to paddle through the entire grand canyon of Africa anymore because one of the largest damns in Africa the ‘Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’ should have already been completed and started flooding by July 2017 but the building has been delayed so that adventurous spirits can paddle the river ion its free flowing state, so this is literally the last chance to capture the essence of this river before it’s lost forever. When it has been completed it will flood 230 km of the river, including the lower part of the grand canyon section.

We have assembled a very special team to make this possible and have come together for our passion of education and love for our planet. The funds that we raise will conclude the investment we need to make this production happen in time!

Fortunately we have already sourced the bulk of the investment ourselves, but unfortunately not enough in time before the imminent dam construction. So this is why we need your help as we can get to raise these last funds to make this production possible.

A massive part of your contribution and your support for this trip is going to help towards supporting the education surrounding this project , by raising awareness and support for the importance of the protection of these endangered environments. Your investment is so important to us because you are helping us to capture some of the last memories of the most extraordinary rivers of the world.

Find out more about the trip and back it here :

SUPing the South Pacific

Jess and Nick continue to sail, surf and SUP themselves silly in the South Pacific, whilst onboard their floating home Te Mana. SUPing in gin clear waters, surrounded by golden sandy beaches and colourful coral reefs, their daily SUPing adventures are what most of us dream about once in a lifetime! Here’s what Jess and Nick have to say about the latest stage of their trip…

Over the past six months, not only have we managed to learn to sail on the go, but also in the process we’ve sailed ourselves over 2000 nautical miles from French Polynesia, to Niue, to Tonga, and onto Fiji. And after the rough seas encountered on passage, the longest of which has so far been 9 days, there’s never a more welcome a sight than sailing into the smooth flat waters of a turquoise lagoon, just waiting to be explored by SUP.

And lucky us, as we had hoped for when we decided to undertake this voyage,

“we have basically been able to SUP ourselves silly in all of these amazing locations.”

With the South Pacific being such an incredible watery playground just waiting to be explored, armed with our quiver of surf and SUP boards on our trusty yacht Te Mana, we are more than prepared for fun and adventures in whatever lagoon we choose to sail ourselves into.

From the vibrantly lush mountains that tower above the simply stunning lagoons of the Society Islands, to the remote palm tree encircled coral atolls of the Tuamotus, to the coral cliffs and caves surrounding Niue, and the seemingly infinite amount of small uninhabited islands each with their own white sandy beach in Tonga… we’ve SUPed them all.

“And then there’s the clarity of the water… so so so so clear. Crystal clear. Gin clear. Just so so clear.”

The view from our SUPs, whether it be of the brightly coloured reef fishies, the beautiful corals of so many shapes and sizes, the sharks and more sharks in the Tuamotus, the wiggly black and white striped sea snakes of Niue, the vibrant blue starfish that seemed to be haphazardly sprawled over every rock or coral in Tonga, or the families of whales playing happily off in the distance… it has all been just amazing.

Yet despite all of this, it seems our SUPs are sometimes more adventurous than us, as we’ve found them a few times now floating off the back of our boat into the distance (no one to blame but our own poor knot tying!) Thankfully, they usually don’t get far… but Nick’s did get us a little worried when it managed an overnighter recently in Tonga. But lucky for us, despite our fruitless searching, King Neptune spat it back after 24 hours and beached it just 100m from where it had initially untied itself from the back of the yacht! Happy days.

Being only just past the half way mark on our voyage back to Australia, with Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia still on our hit list… there’s no doubt plenty more of the above, and more, in store for us and our adventurous SUPs!

To follow more of our journey, check out our salty journal at

SUPing the South Pacific

We look forward to following Jess and Nick’s sailing and SUP adventures as they continue through the South Pacific. Anyone else a little bit envious!?

Incase you missed Jess and Nicks previous blogs you can find them here:

We’ve bought a yacht in Tahiti! / Voyage of Te Mana #1

Life afloat / Voyage of Te Mana #2

Voyage of Te Mana - Jess & Nick

Jess and Nick and their floating home Te Mana are back with part 2 of their adventures exploring the beautiful waters of Polynesia and the South Pacific. Having bought their boat in Tahiti they’ve been island hoping over the last few months, with SUPs onboard, recently arriving in Tonga…

Voyage of Te Mana - Jess & Nick

We’ve been floating in French Polynesia full time now for a few months. And although l’d have classified us as water babies when we were living on land (forever trying to be in or on the sea, SUPing and surfing around the waterways of Sydney and the beautiful South Coast), it’s just not the same as living constantly surrounded by ocean and its never ending motion… and of course, its never ending challenges.

And there have definitely been challenges aplenty for us with our newfound life afloat… as you would expect – having not really sailed much before we dove right into the deep end and bought ourselves a yacht in Tahiti!

“Don’t they say there’s no time like the present, and if you’re going to do it… do it properly? So we did. And we are learning… by doing… quickly!”

With it clearly not being our long engrained love of sailing that lead us here, it was more so the realisation that there’s no better way to access Polynesia’s many gems than by boat. And although space is always at a premium on a yacht, on board Te Mana (our 40 foot Beneteau Oceanis) we’ve managed to squeeze in as much of our land life’s garage contents as we could. Our arsenal of toys includes 5 surf boards, snorkelling/freediving set ups, spear guns, fishing rods, cameras and underwater housings of all shapes and sizes, and of course our SUPs. Although Nick has left his surf SUP on land (at this stage!), we’ve bought along our two favourite Red Paddle Co SUPs, as the option for below deck storage on passages (rather than strapping them on deck as with traditional SUPs) was just too good to pass up.

Aside from literally allowing us to walk on water, SUPing forms a massive part of our daily cruising life. When we’re at anchor, not only are they our method of choice for up close and personal exploration of some of the world’s most stunning tropical islands, atolls, and coral reefs, but they also provide us with fitness, transport to/from land, surfing (you’ve got to pick your wave here to ride an inflatable on!!!), skurfing, and of course just plain and simple fun and enjoyment.

Someone asked the other day if we were missing our life on land… lets just say there was no time lost in answering!

“So until that answer changes, it looks like we’ll keep floating on, SUPing, surfing and sailing our way across the Pacific.”

Jess and Nick will be sharing their sailing & SUP adventures on SUPboarder with regular blogs. But in the meantime check out their website Voyage of Te Mana. 

You can read Voyage of Te Mana #1 on SUPboarder here. 

Finding inspirational SUP race videos to get you amped, and make you want to grab your race board and train for the next big race aren’t always easy to find. But we’re happy to see another stunningly shot short SUP film from British Columbia film production Lee Visual do just that.

This time they film Blackfish Paddles athlete and stand up paddleboard racer Jason Bennett discussing the drive and mental state required for distance racing.

We shot for three days in Deep Cove and Squamish, British Columbia. Jason is one of Canada’s top SUP racers specializing in distance racing. The goal of the shoot/film was to convey what it’s like to participate in one of these races, specifically focusing on energy management, endurance, and pushing through to the finish line. We had a mixed bag of weather for the shoot which made life difficult but allowed us to capture racing in varied conditions which can be the norm in the Pacific North West. The race scenes are from the Indian Arm Challenge, a 34km race held in Deep Cove, BC by Deep Cove Paddling Centre. Kelsey Thompson from Lee Visual 

Check out Lee Visual’s last SUP production ‘British Columbia ‘Wild Coast’ / SUP lifestyle short film‘ on SUPboarder for an inspirational SUP surf film that will make you want to go off the beaten track in the search for waves.

We look forward to seeing more stunning SUP films from the guys and Lee Visual soon.  Until then find out more about Lee Visual and their stunning films on Facebook here and Instagram
The guys would also like to thank Blackfish paddles for supporting the project. A company that solely makes SUP paddles in British Columbia.


Start Living Today PD - Heidi Reynolds

Positive. Motivated, Happy. These aren’t necessarily the 3 words that you would associate with a 40 year old with Parkinsons. But for Heidi Reynolds from Cornwall, UK staying positive, keeping motivated, and being happy is exactly what she’s been doing since her diagnosis in 2014. Heidi talks openly about her challenging journey with Mr P! and how moving to the Cornish Coast and discovering SUP has helped to put that smile back on her face….

Start Living Today PD - Heidi ReynoldsIn 2008 I changed my life… got fit and lost weight. But my increasing shoulder pain was unhelpful. On 28th July 2014, 3 shoulder operations, countless other procedures, problems balancing, unremitting shoulder pain, short-term memory issues, a tremor & more I was looking at a serious faced Neurologist who said” You have Parkinson’s.”

“Degenerative and No Cure. That’s all I heard.
A fun afternoon! I was 37.”

Parkinson’s affects 127k people in the UK of which around 1 in 20 are under 40 at diagnosis. It’s a loss of a chemical called dopamine (stick with me!) which is the stuff responsible for smooth muscle movement, and sending messages about your body. (I have a post sorting office with a staff shortage!) Everything takes longer from moving, to swallowing, to thinking. I drink thickened liquids. Why? They take longer to reach the back of my throat, so my airway (now a space cadet!) has time to work out “INCOMING” & finally covers my airway, more helpful than choking. I catherterise 4 x per day as my bladder fails to tell my brain when its full – I’ll leave you to fill in the gaps! So more than just shaking then! Oh and not everyone shakes. Ha! You didn’t know that did you! I lost my job, medically retired. Another blow. That’s the depressing bit done, its uphill from here!

I couldn’t let this dopamine sucking Mr P take over!!

I founded Start Living Today PD. A support group for people living with Parkinson’s. SLTPD’s motto is ‘Positive Motivated Happy.’ I have Parkinson’s. I can wake up, grab life by the throat or…? There is no or! I’m not alone. We now have 3k followers across social media worldwide.

The message runs so much wider than Parkinson’s. So many face adversity every day. They’re all inspiring. No we haven’t scaled Mount Everest or run the Sahara but we get up every day and face life head on. I got myself fit and with that my attitude changed. Believe in yourself, aspire and you can achieve anything. Challenges, big or small, it’s their personal significance that’s key. “I can’t do that” changes to “How can I do it differently?” We recently held a crowdfunder for our new website due to launch really soon and people couldn’t have been more generous.

Medical retirement and the move to Cornwall was the silver lining to my diagnosis.

Moving to the Lizard in Cornwall this year I was determined to achieve my ambition of SUP’ing. “You have Parkinson’s?” said the doubters. Thanks, really helpful! Why should this stop me? The 1st time I tried SUP a friends quite unstable (sorry Edd) board was my company, in Sennen on a choppy day. I spent more time in the water but I was hooked and so thankful to him.

Soon after my Quroc Crossover QI was delivered. It’s awesome. The sturdiest bag, board, well everything! Mr P & I will have trouble breaking this I thought! But so light and stable. I’ve had it 3 months and fallen off once which says it all!


Start Living Today PD - Heidi ReynoldsOn the water my mind clears, I’m free. No room for Mr P on my board!

It’s just me the sound of the water, rocks, fish, bird’s, flora and fauna. I can’t explain the calm that surrounds me. Yes it’s sometimes hard work too, but I thrive on the challenge. Paddle harder and harder, ride the waves, shriek with laughter. It’s me Vs the sea Vs my future. I love it.

I now live on the Lizard in Cornwall running Start Living Today PD, doing all I can to raise awareness and determined to show how attainable most activities are. That adaption is key, so if standing isn’t an option, kneel! Don’t worry what others think, this is your life, get out there and live it. SUP is so much fun. I’m self-taught and have yet to have a SUP lesson. But that hasn’t stopped me getting out there and having fun.

I’m so grateful to Quroc. As jellyfish float past me, starfish laze on the sea bed and a seal pops up, how could you be anything but happy?!

Whether Parkinson’s is your demon or anything else, if you’ve always wanted to try something, what are you waiting for?! Positive Motivated Happy!

Words: Heidi Reynolds (Founder of Start Living Today PD)

Heidi is off to Australia in December with her husband to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary and renew their wedding vows. We’re sure it won’t take her long to find a SUP and get afloat! With lots of pink and sparkle too no doubt!

For more information about ‘Start LivingToday PD’ check out:

Facebook (closed group):
Website (launching very soon):
Twitter: @start_pd

For more information about Quroc SUPs check out the Quroc website 

And remember… if you’ve always wanted to try something, then do it! Don’t wait for tomorrow. 

Voyage of Te Mana - Jess & Nick

Have you ever dreamed of leaving it all behind in search of the simple life? Jess and Nick from Australia had, but instead of just keeping it a dream, they made it a reality! Leaving their home town of Thirroul in New South Wales earlier this year, exploring the beautiful waters of Polynesia and the South Pacific by boat, has become their new way of life. And with their SUPs and surfboards close at hand it’s going to be an epic adventure too.

But first of all they had to buy a boat! SUPboarder follows Nick and Jess’s travels with a series of blogs over the coming months, following them back to Australia and possibly beyond!…

“We’ve bought a yacht. In Tahiti! I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of saying that.”

Both Nick and I have done our fair share of travel and living abroad over the years and so are no strangers to tapping out of conventional society for periods of time. But there has been something special about uttering that phrase as the explanation for upping and leaving our perfectly good lives on land while our friends and colleagues our age cling onto the property ladder, pop out babies, and strive to further their careers.

Reactions to our news consisted consistently of raised eyebrows, jaws agape, stunned silence, and then of course a retort to the gist of ‘Can you even sail?!…’ .Once the initial shock was digested, most were excited for us and encouraging, however a few aggressive reactions spilled forth (interestingly all from local racing sailors who had never cruised the Pacific) bluntly implying our idiocy. We could only conclude that maybe, just maybe we were striking a nerve by living out their never fulfilled dream.

Our grand plan consisted of surfing, SUPing and sailing our way through Polynesia, and eventually back to Australia.

Voyage of Te Mana - Jess & Nick

And it is a grand plan, even by our usually ambitious standards. Not only have we never really sailed much before, we definitely haven’t captained a 40 foot yacht, let alone crossed an ocean. In fact this idea had only really been in motion for the past six months when I suggested it to Nick. He has since run with it like only he can and here we are… living aboard our new floating home anchored in the beautiful turquoise waters of Tahiti, overlooking the sun setting behind the jagged peaks of Moorea.

Although the idea was mine, our quick turn around in life circumstances has to be attributed to a combination of Nick’s never ending enthusiasm and optimism, some good solid advice from a boat broker friend in Sydney who set us on the right path of what type of boats to look at from day one, as well as a large planning wall in our home that we turned into a blackboard to visually workshop all we needed to do in order to achieve our goal.

The blackboard definitely got a good work out, with there being many stages of our oversized ‘to do’ list. We not only managed to tick everything off, but also provided our friends’ children a way to happily draw on our walls.

And now that our walls are curved and our living space is the size of our previous bedroom, all that’s left to do is the fun part – the sailing, surfing, and SUP exploration around Polynesia’s beautiful islands and coral reefs. Stay tuned for our updates as we cruise the Pacific in search of paradise, or follow our adventures at

Jayne Lake - What's so amusing?!

Some of us are lucky enough to have grown up by the water, living and breathing the ocean every day and enjoying the great opportunities associated with it. But for others, love for the ocean and discovering the fun it brings takes time… and confidence!

SUP enthusiast Jayne Lake is one of those people who had to learn to love the ocean. With a fish and water phobia it certainly wasn’t love at first sight! In her mid 40’s and with a passion for her camper van, cooking and outdoor life, Jayne decided after a major life event that it was time to face her fears and try something new. With a bit of encouragement, in 2015 Jayne tried SUP… and she’s been SUPing ever since. Enjoying being part of the friendly SUP community and taking part in various events Jayne tells her amusing story of how her water phobia turned into her new love for SUP…

Jayne Lake - What's so amusing?!

I know I am a bit strange but what is so surprising and funny about paddleboarding when you have a fish and water phobia?!

In June 2015 I was recovering from quite a large operation and I seemed to be having a mid life fear of not facing my fears and giving things a go. I took the motorhome to Hayling Island and just tried everything. I had a day to spare before I came home so I asked someone I trusted how I should spend it, the answer came back – contact Fran Blake and go paddleboarding. Now this was really pushing the boundaries, but having spent a day sailing and getting back on a bike after many years I thought why not! Pretty mad really considering the thought of floating over the unknown with the potential of bathing with fish was just so abhorrent.

Little did I know but Fran’s matter of fact no nonsense approach was exactly what I needed. The morning was perfect, early, still and hazy and the harbour just looked amazing, even inviting.

I managed to wobble to my feet and set off on what was to be quite a life changing trip in more ways than one.

There was lots of chatter and fun so much so I forgot what I was doing and just kept paddling albeit very inefficiently, and now knowing how quick Fran normally goes it must have been rather frustrating for her. I could see her chuckling and wondered why, it was only later she told me of all the fish jumping behind me!

So that started my trips down the M3/M27 to the south coast for my “standing above the water” fix (having managed to this point not to fall off), and yes my friends realised for sure that I had lost the plot! Soon after I bought an ISUP 11 foot Fanatic tourer, and the day after that I told Fran I wanted to paddle from Hayling Island Sailing Club to Langstone, thinking how hard can it be?!!! I don’t think I had factored in a wind that was stronger than expected and a side on swell, so I had my first dunking. All in it took three hours, all the jelly babies Fran had in her pack and a lot of sitting on my butt, but I did it. This was a make or break – it could have been the quickest resale of a SUP board in history – but it made me even more determined to give it my best shot, I’m no quitter. To many, such a small challenge is laughable, to me it was crossing the channel…

And now? Well, I live one and a half miles from the harbour, I get out as much as the wind and tide allows, I took part in a N1SCO race, and I am working on my technique and other board based skills. I took my ISUP out to Spain and also bought a beautiful Fanatic Diamond Pure to keep the inflatable company!

The water? I totally respect it but I no longer fear it.

I started to have personal training sessions with Phil McCoy – he soon got the measure of me and realised I hated having a roof over my head and then we also realised we shared the love of SUP so my exercise went outdoors. It’s amazing the exercises you can do with a board and a paddle! His confidence being so infectious I have now ventured to the Hayling seafront and there’s a lot of Gopro action of me laughing, swearing and falling off on the surf and while trying to do step back turns. I am currently in search of a race board to complete my collection and even considering an instructors course, all things I would have never believed two years ago.

The fish? Mmmmm I’m not sure I will ever get over them.

My strategy is to fall in with as much noise and splash as possible in the hope they will just stay out of my way. I really must learn to shut my mouth as I enter though!! Only in the past couple of weeks have I entered the water by choice, once attached to a board and in a moment of madness I actually went in without my board to cool down – that’s progress!


SUP is an activity open to all, you can do it at whatever level you wish. Many get into it through being proficient in the windier sports and others just see it as a sport that you can explore and socialise at the same time. It seems to me one thing that everyone seems to agree on is its therapeutic qualities – to be able to glide over the water with such simple equipment under your own power while enjoying often amazing scenery has got to restore the soul. It’s a great full body exercise and if you are fit enough, racing is a very accessible sport.

There are then nutters like me who need to prove something to themselves and end up taking part in an addictive and rewarding pastime.

I sometimes get disappointed reading forums and chat from individuals who have forgotten what it is like to learn and explore – the know it alls, the want it alls and the have it alls. On the other hand there are so many SUPers out there that are brilliant at nurturing and respecting all that take part in the sport, including my two mentors, and to be honest they will never realise how much they have changed my life through pushing the boundaries!!

I love my Fanatic kit, but I have to say the attitude of the N1SCO has me excited because the racing isn’t elitist. Getting on the podium must be fantastic, but everyone is encouraged and so much can be learnt watching those running around the board and the buoys. The prize is in the taking part, exceeding your own expectations and meeting others with the same passion. I took part in the Emsworth race – my first ever race and more recently the “not so inland championships” that was removed to Swanage and now I have set my benchmark to improve on for next year.

I have an amazing (mature) friend who like me started to SUP only recently. She took part in the N1SCO race in Emsworth, where there was a really strong side wind blowing her off course. There also was an equally amazing lady called Amanda who did not care where she came in the race, she was only concerned that my friend completed it. She stuck with her, board on the leeward side ensuring they did not venture further into the harbour. Now that’s what I call team spirit in an individual sport. Wouldn’t happen in many other sports would it?!

I have been lucky to have the guidance from sport science professionals including a sports physio, an exercise physiologist and an accomplished paddler. Although I am far from being any good on the water I have learnt that there are a few things you can do to improve your efficiency and also to protect your body from injury especially if you want to go beyond the gentle paddle and chat on the way to the pub! I now have a very simple programme to strengthen the bits that are important and Phil McCoy will be sharing some of his expert knowledge on SUPboarder over the coming weeks.

Words : Jayne Lake

Jayne has started up a Facebook group called “Emsworth SUP Fitness’ to help bring local paddlers together – a forum to publicise when you are going on the water to invite others and to share useful information and events. She is also setting up a volunteer group to look after the coastline around parts of Langstone and Chichester Harbour – clearing litter and monitoring. 

Jayne likes a challenge, but also likes a laugh and is not someone who takes herself too seriously. So keep an eye out for Jayne and her ‘nutritional treats!’ at future events!

SUPboarder wishes Jayne all the best with her SUP antics this year. And hopes others will pluck up the courage like Jayne to jump in at the deep end, face your fears and discover a whole new world… the world of SUP. 


Will from SUPboarder is back with the last part of his solo SUP adventure paddling across Scotland on the Caledonian Canal. In Part 4  Will still has highs and lows with the changeable Scottish weather but paddles the last few miles to complete his SUP adventure. He then has to do the solo logistics back across Scotland to get his van which he left at the start. It turns out way easier than he thought it would! 

About the trip & vblog series
Will Rogers packs the van, hits the road and heads North for Scotland to paddle the Caledonian Canal. Armed with a ton of passion and drive for adventure. Will shares his whole experience including the planning and packing stage, the stunning 3 day paddle, and what he has learnt along the way. Hopefully it inspires and informs you how to do the crossing yourself or plan another mini SUP adventure. Enjoy!

Watch part 1 here : A SUP adventure crossing Scotland Part 1
Watch part 2 here : A SUP adventure crossing Scotland Part 2
Watch part 3 here : A SUP adventure crossing Scotland Part 3

You can follow Will paddle on the GeoSUP app link here geoSUP app / Scotalnd/Day 3

Will from SUPboarder is back with part 3 of his solo SUP adventure paddling across Scotland on the Caledonian Canal. In this Part 3 of 4 vblogs Will has highs and lows as he really gets into his Scottish SUP adventure and also remembers what its all about.

About the trip & vblog series
Will Rogers packs the van, hits the road and heads North for Scotland to paddle the Caledonian Canal. Armed with a ton of passion and drive for adventure. Will shares his whole experience including the planning and packing stage, the stunning 3 day paddle, and what he has learnt along the way. Hopefully it inspires and informs you how to do the crossing yourself or plan another mini SUP adventure. Enjoy!

Watch part 1 here : A SUP adventure crossing Scotland Part 1
Watch part 2 here : A SUP adventure crossing Scotland Part 2

*New yearly subscribers only.
  • Exclusive features
  • Extended product reviews including product comparisons
  • Limited Edition SUPboarder PRO T-Shirt (RRP £19.99)*
  • 'Ask the Experts'
Supboarder pro
£2.49 / MONTH or £24.99 / YEAR