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SUP lifestyle

Bruce Smith

Sport was elite ironman athlete Bruce Smith’s life. But when a debilitating injury robbed him of being able to run, he found himself at rock bottom. Stand up paddleboarding became the 44-year-old’s salvation, paving the way not only for a great sporting comeback, but, he says, saving his life as well. 

Training and competing in ironman contests and 100-mile plus ultra marathons had steered Bruce from a toxic cocktail of excessive drinking and smoking as he battled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Crippled with low self-esteem and anxiety following a vicious attack which had almost cost him his life, Bruce admits he was in a dark place before he began running.

“It was a horrible time,” said Bruce. “I was in the pub every night drinking 15 pints and smoking 60 cigarettes a day. It was a journey of self-destruction. I knew I had to change my lifestyle and for years, running and training was what I did. Basically anything long and painful, that was my escapism and coping mechanism for me to deal with life.”

This crutch was taken away when Bruce sustained a serious cartilage injury to his ankle. 

“I thought I was going to have surgery then have four weeks off for recovery. I woke up from the general anaesthetic to be told I could never run again. The shock just hit me and I found myself spiraling back into my old lifestyle. I was in a pretty bad place. It was massively hard to deal with.” 

But a chance meeting with biomechanics coach and stand up paddle enthusiast Anna Little threw him a lifeline. 

“She basically said, as you can’t run any more, why don’t you start stand up paddling?” said Bruce. 

“Anna took me out on the water and I really enjoyed it. She suggested that while my ankle was getting better SUP would be superb for me to do. I found it amazing and pretty much fell in love with the sport there and then.”

Bruce Ironsmith

Bruce, from County Durham, started paddling with Anna on the River Tyne, helping her train for the races she had entered on her N1SCO board. It wasn’t long before he started to experience the adrenaline buzz of having a purpose to train for again. 

“It gave me motivation and drive. The more we trained the fitter I started to become – and also the happier and more focused I became. 

“I was going out on a Red 10.6 touring board, but it was when I started going out on one of the N1SCO Naish boards that it really took off and I became focused on race training.

“Training on the SUP brought me back. It gave me a purpose again. When I’m on my board all I have to focus on is my performance and training.” 

Bruce, who now runs his own business Ironsmith Sports Therapy, has become an integral part of the newly formed Northern SUP Race Team, helping with training programmes, taster sessions as well as motivating and encouraging members. 

“I want to be able to give what I have found to other people and to give them a shared goal and to benefit from the experience” says Bruce.

April saw Bruce complete his first GB SUP National Series event, Battle of The Thames, passing through the Blue Chip arch in the strongly contested N1SCO Race (10km) male category to take a creditable 8th place. 

Said Bruce: “The whole buzz of this weekend made me feel alive again. I just want to get fitter, faster and have fun at the same time.  Being part of the Northern SUP Race Team is great. Whereas running and triathlon were very solitary sports, I’m really enjoying training within a team and having that support structure. 

Bruce Ironsmith

“It (being a part of the team) has massively benefitted me. It’s the tips you learn, like preparing you for a race, your paddle stroke and technique. Training together with other people and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone forces you to keep going.”

He added: “Crossing through the arch of BOTT was a relief, but it made me think, this is what I love – I love racing, that’s why I train. Races aren’t about the actual race itself. It’s about the training journey and knowing you have done your best.

“I feel stronger, faster and more focused. SUP has made me fall in love with exercise, health and fitness again. It has rebuilt my life and is pushing me on to do more.”

“I want to keep racing and see how far I can go and be the best I can be. I want to do a 100-mile paddle board race as well as compete in the N1SCO races and represent the club and be part of their team.”

Bruce is vocal in his support of Naish’s N1SCO race series. He said: “It’s a fair platform as it puts everyone at the same level playing field. It’s a great, all-round board to race on for everyone, from families and novices through to top end racers.”

Northern SUP Race Team founder Anna Little said: “Bruce’s story is the very reason why I wanted to set up the club. 

“I had a passion for letting people experience the joy that racing on the water gives to me – it’s like oxygen to my soul. You’re outdoors in the fresh air, you’re improving your fitness and, quite simply, it makes you happy. 

“Finding like-minded people who love racing on a board is why I did it. I wanted to put people together who have the same mind set to race with and who can push each other while getting stronger and better. 

“I could not have won the UK SUP series last year without Bruce pushing me. It’s having the support of people who say ‘let’s get out’, no matter what the weather.  Training with other people inspires you to do better. I want other people to experience that – it’s winning in the game of life.” 

Back on his home north east turf after BOTT, Bruce said: “A few years ago I hadn’t even heard of SUP. Seeing people standing around on boards in the sea on holiday made me laugh – it looked pointless. There was no physical challenge. 

“How mistaken could I have been? 

“Little was I to know SUP would save my life.”

“It has pulled me and given me a whole new life changing challenge. It makes me focus everything else that I am doing to make me a better paddler. Pushing myself to see what I can do makes me feel alive. It’s a whole new experience I wouldn’t have found, if it weren’t for SUP.”

Words by Claire Thorburn (member of the Northern SUP Race Team)

Thankyou Bruce for sharing your remarkable story. A tough and truly inspirational journey. The SUPboarder team wishes you all the best in future events and a happy and healthy time on the water. 

Has SUP changed your life? If so how? We’d love to hear your SUP story. Get in contact via email – lucy@supboardermag.com

Ultimate Wales Expedition

Thrive don’t just survive. With the busy life styles many of us lead today we often find ourselves spending more time indoors than outside. After a day spent in the car, the office and infront of the computer/TV we’re often left feeling low and lacking energy despite having done nothing particularly physical. 

Passionate stand up paddleboarder Sarah Leighton explains how fresh air and outdoor adventures can change your life, your physical health, mental health, and your overall wellbeing. And how SUP can make you feel truly alive…

Ultimate Wales Expedition

Adventuring in the great outdoors isn’t just for kids, for explorers, or for athletes. It’s for everyone who wants to find their potential and be the best version of themselves.
I’ve met hundreds of people on outdoor adventures, from all walks of life, with a range of abilities, and all with different reasons for being there. But one common theme that connects them all is that being outdoors simply makes people feel better!

I’m currently on the countdown to what for me, is a big adventure. This summer I’m going to SUP, cycle, and hike across Wales. In addition to raising money for charities in Wales, I aim to spread the message that going outside is good for you, and that you can do it in so many ways because no two adventures are ever the same.

Our environment shapes us, and we can shape our environment…

If we are constantly exposed to stress, then we become chronically stressed. If we stop moving in a certain way, then we become less good at it. And if we are constantly surrounded by fast electronic media, then our brains start needing constant entertainment, making concentration and paying attention more difficult.

Neuroscience tells us that our human brains are highly changeable, being structurally modified by everything we experience, every time we experience it. This is how we learn new skills through practice, develop habits by repeating behaviour, and lose the ability to do something if we stop doing it. It’s also how we can change the way we feel, think, and function, by creating a lifestyle that shapes us the way we want to be shaped.

So, take on the physical and mental challenge…

Taking part in outdoor activities, whatever our ability, often requires us to overcome challenges, explore our physical potential, and understand the World around us. Great for helping us to improve physical components of ourselves like fitness, strength, balance and agility, in changing and unpredictable environments. But also, to become more confident and resilient individuals as we overcome barriers and achieve new things.

Don’t just sit there…

Our western culture is becoming increasingly sedentary – we have so many machines to do things for us that there is less and less requirement to move. Structured exercise is great, but if we’re sedentary the rest of the time then we don’t reap the health benefits that we expect. Moving in natural environments is a great way to place different loads and forces on our bodies, and encourages different ways of moving which we no longer experience in our sedentary lives.

Pay attention…

Being in the wilderness can improve our ability to take in sensory information, by teaching us to pay better attention to what’s around us. It enhances the activity of the right side of the brain, which helps us to perceive things holistically. Like looking through a wide lens, the right side of the brain considers many pieces of information together, forming creative ideas and helping us make intuitive decisions.

Don’t stress about it…

Being in nature has been shown to increase mindfulness – the ability to pay attention to the present moment. Repeating and practicing this ability leads to physical brain changes which help us better control stress, increase feelings of wellbeing, and improve our attention span and memory. Being in wilderness environments can decrease feelings of time pressure and a racing mind, which are often symptoms associated with anxiety.

SUP adventures…

For me, being outside makes me feel alive! It’s become the place where I find confidence and self-belief. It’s also where I connect to other people in a way that is unique and different to that in day to day life.

SUP is a fantastic way to get outside and be a part of nature. Practically anyone can learn to SUP in a relatively short amount of time, with little or no water experience. For me, it allows me to see Wales from a different angle. It challenges my balance, body control, and has enhanced my understanding of the ocean.

I don’t have a huge background in water sports, I started surfing two years ago, and picked up paddle boarding last year. I’d encourage anyone to just give it a go!

My ULTIMATE Wales expedition…

In June of this year I will set off from Cardiff on a SUP board, paddling approximately 80km along the Bristol channel to Swansea. From there I will swap my SUP kit for cycling gear, heading toward the Snowdonia National Park. I will hike to the summit of all 15 peaks above 3,000ft, before returning to the bike and cycling to my finish point at South Stack Lighthouse on Anglesey.

Although I’m technically doing this alone, I will have support. For the SUP section of my challenge, I am being supported by O’Shea Surf and Puravida Board Riders, who are kindly providing the paddle boarding kit, and offering help with planning and training.

The charities I’ve chosen to support all have a connection to Wales, health, adventure, or the environment. Much of my fundraising focusses on encouraging more people to get outdoors. After Easter I’ll be hosting paddle boarding sessions in Cardiff, supported by South Wales SUP club.

If you want to find out more, you can find detail on my website, and follow my latest adventures and fundraising on Instagram and Facebook.

Words – Sarah Leighton

After Easter Sarah will be running some introductory SUP sessions in Cardiff, Wales in conjunction with local SUP clubs to help raise money for her chosen charities – MIND (mental health), SARDA (The Search & Rescue Dogs Association in Wales) and Keep Wales Tidy. So if you fancy having a go at SUP this summer get in touch with Sarah via her website or facebook page. 

Good luck with your challenge Sarah!

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. 

 

Some SUP films are meant to entertain and amp to the core, and some films are meant to inspire you. This is certainly what the short film ‘Wild Coast’ from Lee Visual does. SUP surfing is a beautiful dynamic sport, and putting it together with searching out new spots that are off the beaten track and making the most out of all weather conditions is what the SUP lifestyle is really all about for many. Emre Bosu and Glen Pearson have a passion and love for their home area of British Columbia and riding waves. Together with Director Kelsey Thompson they searched, rode and filmed this epic SUP adventure in BC.  
British Columbia 'Wild Coast' / SUP lifestyle short film
We shot for six days in Tofino, BC in January. Being on Vancouver Island the area is known to be extremely wet with mild temperatures but we got the opposite, no rain and much colder than normal… well below freezing most mornings which made for some chilly shoots. Emre and Glen are among the few paddle surfers in Tofino and work at an SUP outfitter in the area called T’ashii Paddle School which is owned by Emre and his girl friend Tsimka. Our goal with the project was to showcase SUP surfing in the area and the beautiful natural environment that surrounds the many beach breaks. Words : Director Kelsey Thompson
British Columbia 'Wild Coast' / SUP lifestyle short film
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 www.facebook.com/Lee-Visual and Instagram www.instagram.com/lee_visual
The guys would also like to thank Blackfish paddles for supporting the project. A company that solely makes SUP paddles in British Columbia.

SUP can be simple. It can provide space and freedom like no other sport. Alone or with friends, SUP allows you to clear your head, think your thoughts and live your life.  SUPing doesn’t have to be all about racing, waves, high adrenaline and winning. It can be whatever you want it to be.  Solo sessions, sunrises, SUP adventures, smiles and so many great memories. It just takes a board, a paddle and the opportunity to get out there and see for yourself.  
Kirstie Edwards recently not only discovered SUP but also discovered a new life. A life she had previously never imagined possible. Kirstie tells her inspirational story about how SUP saved her life…


The other morning, I had a once in a lifetime experience. I dragged my aching body out of bed at 4:25am, grabed the pain killers, packed up and hit the road.

It was still dark as I approached the beach, bleary eyed and clutching my paddle, searching through the grey, gloomy, Cornish mizzle for the rest of my wesup tribe. Gradually sleepy silhouettes appeared before me, in various states of dress, all with one common goal- get on the water as soon as possible and reach our target.

At 10pm the night before, a call to arms rang out around our club; five ladies had spent the previous 48 days rowing across the Atlantic; New York to Falmouth. That’s 3000 nautical miles, sleeping shifts and constantly rowing, to make them the fastest all female team to EVER complete such a challenge. The honour of paddling them in the last couple of miles to Falmouth was an opportunity not to be missed for any of us. 

We hit the water fast and furious as we spotted our mark out at sea, red lights flashing- someone pointed out a huge starfish loitering in the shallows, my first wild starfish, but there was no time to stop and snap on this adventure. We paddled hard and strong to Pendennis point, hoping to intercept the high tech but tiny row boat as it entered the Fal esturary. As a team of ten we paddled to an average speed: gender is irrelevant, ability is irrelevant. No man gets left behind.

Kirstie Edwards - SUP saved my life
As we rounded the corner into the wind, we took a moment to regroup and remove layers, as the day started to break and warm our skin. We saw the flotilla of three boats to our right heading straight for a perfect intercept point at  Falmouth docks and picked up the pace, in the blissful rythym of paddling now, as our bodies awoke.

We moved as one across the water, a fleet of souls, excited to meet out mark. As we rounded the longest pier of the docks, we took  up position in a line, still; floating in the morning  sun, watching and waiting as our arm hairs began to stand on end. The women then saw us and started to whoop and cheer, as we howled messages of joy and support at them for the last few minutes of their journey. Shivers ran down our spines; the womens’ euphoria at seeing us, the first human beings in such a long journey, contagious. 

I looked across at our merry fleet of men and women and saw tears gleaming in the eyes of so many. We shared a once in a lifetime moment, one that we will all treasure until the day we are no longer able to live on the sea as we do now. I found myself in a dreamlike state; it was almost surreal, watching them as flares went off and the small crowd cheered at 6:45am. I never dreamt I could be here. That I could experience this.

Kirstie Edwards - SUP saved my life
At the age of 14 I was told I wouldn’t be able to walk by 21. At 32 I was told I would only have a few years to live, if my life didn’t change, meaning giving up the medication that enabled me to do the job I loved. I am now 38; I left behind the world of academia and focused on making my body as strong as I could. I chose life. I chose my children. I chose to fight. I battled with my mental and physical health, struggling to find that one thing that made me feel free and normal, after grieving for the life I once had.

Then paddle boarding arrived in my life and like a Phoenix from the ashes I arose, liberated to have finally found a sport my body could handle, one that gave me so much more that the best shot at life. 

It gave me quality of life.

Even on my worst, most immobile days, I could sit and float on a buoy meditating or doing yoga; the sense of space and freedom those moments give me is invaluable. My mental health and the capacity to fight for my life and health has escalated beyond anything I could have imagined. I want to live despite the pain and prognosis, not just for my children, but for me.

Through this sport I have been humbled by the people I have met and their own personal journeys. I’ve found myself on adventures I never dreamt possible, gliding through the darkness, chasing the sunrise and sunsets; travelling along the coast and up rivers, pondering the meaning of life with my kindred spirits ; racing with my friends, blood pounding in my ears as I begin to feel truly alive. 

I met my tribe. This nurturing, supportive tribe of brothers and sisters that challenged me to fulfil my potential. They didn’t see a disabled mother of four. They just saw me. Paddleboarding saved me.

Words : Kirstie Edwards

Photos : Sean White at Wesup paddleboard Centre, Falmouth
Has SUP changed your life? If so, how? If you’d like to share your story get in touch

Sometimes people ask you what SUP is about. “What do you do? Just stand up and paddle?” Then you explain all the things that you can do on a Stand Up Paddleboard. Well next time someone asks just show them this video. ‘One year with the French JP Activists’ This group of paddlers with all their video clips over the year gives a really good feel of what SUP is about. Flatwater, Racing, Surfing, White water, Downwinding, Fun with friends and the list goes on. The only thing these guys are missing is a bit of SUP fishing.

If you have a year of SUP footage showing all the different things you do on a SUP remember to share it with SUPboarder. 

Paddlers involved are ;
P Paul-Conrad Delaëre – Guillaume Lenclen – Tom Villedary – Christophe Guérin – David Pierron – Blandine Briere – Clarisse Labussiere – Seb Ronfle – Loris Minvielle- Gilles Reboisons – Guillaume supply – Harald Marzolf.

Footage: Jp Armada – Guillaume Fayol – Blandine Mellouet Fort – stephane Pion
Editing: Guillaume Fayol
Production & Logistic : Doo’Event

There’s nothing like a bit of ‘Iceberg SUP Golf’ on a cold Sunday morning. It beats walking around the golf course anyway!

There’s a first for everything..

SUPing 96km is one thing, but SUPing 96km blind is another challenge altogether!!  This beautifully filmed and edited video is truly inspirational, and just goes to show that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. What’s next for Dean (Deano) Dunbar?

“The goal was to become the first registered blind person to Stand Up Paddle board the full 96km of the Caledonian Canal. The challenge took place over 3 days starting in Fort William on the west coast and finishing in Inverness on the east coast. As well as documenting the trip this film also explores the highs and lows of living with blindness and shows what people can achieve if they are willing to push their limits.”

Film by : Dave Robson

To find out more about Dean and his extreme challenges check out www.extremedreams.co.uk

 

“In August 2013, a team of nine intrepid travellers attempted to stand up paddle board 100km up the Sermilik Fjord on the East Coast of Greenland. Despite warnings how ‘crazy’ it would be from the local Greenlandics, the team persevered and decided to carry on until the ice was too thick to continue.

Camping on the shoreline each evening after a hard day’s paddle, the team each took two hour shifts throughout the night to watch out for polar bears.”
This is their story…

Directed, Filmed and Edited by Justin Hankinson.

SUP_doc02

SUPboarders thoughts

This 55 min real world documentary gives a great insight into the Greenland lifestyle and the effect our changing global climate has on not only the environment but a way of life. It also demonstrates that with good planning and safety cover you can go anywhere on a paddleboard and paddle any adventure…. well almost!

Even with all the gear, unfortunately the late arrival of summer and delayed melting of the ice meant the team were unable to achieve their full goal of reaching Greenlands largest glacier Helheim. The teams disappointment is evident, especially by paddleboard explorer Charlie Head, who is always one to want to go that just little bit further and get all his questions answered!! But they still had a real adventure and experienced some truly unique paddling in challenging conditions. Paddling around moving and cracking icebergs is definitely not for the faint hearted! It just goes to show that even with the best planning in the world, the weather makes its own decisions, and can be unpredictable wherever you are in the world. So you always need to be prepared to change your plans.

Beautifully filmed by Justin Hankinson and narrated by Charlie Head ‘Polar bears and paddleboards’ captures the absolutely stunning Greenland scenery and tranquil way of life. And also the teams individual characters, team dynamics and the challenges faced when part of a team.

We’re sure the team will be eager to return and explore Greenland some more… minus the flies!

An easy to watch and informative documentary, that is definitely worth a watch if you’re thinking about planning a SUP adventure with a difference this year, or interested to find out more about Greenland. Just a shame the team were unable to answer more of their questions regarding climate change and were unable to reach their goal of Helheim Glacier.

SUP_doc07

Download or rent the ‘Polar bears and paddleboards’ documentary here from their Vimeo website page. You can also find some of the fun out takes of the adventure. 

Photos by Justin Hankinson.