Joy, community and SUP adventures at Soar Boating Club
What a joy to speak at Soar Boating Club, near Loughborough recently.
I was the guest of Shilpa Rasaiah, a member of the club and a British Canoeing She Paddles Ambassador for 2022. We had met at Kendal Mountain Film Festival where Shilpa was speaking on behalf of the She Paddles team and was interviewed by Cal Major and Chris Brain.
Later that day, after she watched Brave Enough - a Journey Home to Joy, the film by award winning film maker Frit Tam of Passion Fruit Pictures about my coast to coast paddleboarding adventure in 2019, Shilpa and I chatted about the joy of SUP and friendship.
Photo credit Ghee Rasaiah
I was really delighted when she then invited me to visit Soar Boating Club to share the 162 mile challenge, litter picking and fundraising for The Wave Project, a surf therapy charity that harnesses the power of the ocean to improve the mental health of children and young people and the 2MinuteBeachClean Foundation, a charity that encourages us all to take just 2 minutes each day to pick up litter and look after our parks, beaches, streets and oceans. I am a proud Ambassador for the Foundation.
Shilpa and the team from her Boat Club created the most wonderful atmosphere for the sell out evening, starting with Shilpa's delicious curry for the organising group.
My talk is called 'From Crying in Supermarkets to Becoming the First Woman to Paddleboard Coast to Coast' and I share 3 short films, including the trailer to Brave Enough and Found At Sea, a one minute film I created in 2019 on my iPhone.
Photo credit Frit Tam
I love answering questions at the end - from where did I stay to what did I eat, did I fall off and how did I manage the litter I picked up?
One question I am often asked is 'What Next?' and on Wednesday, a lovely member of the Leicester Windsurfing and SUP Club asked exactly that!
Shilpa and I were excited to be able to share a snippet of our SUP The Grand Union Canal adventure for the first time in public! Our 160 mile challenge to paddleboard from London to Soar Boating Club where we were all sharing the evening! More details to follow!
It was such a joy to be in a room with so many lovely people and a few key things struck me about the evening:
The friendships - from the boat club to the Leicester Windsurfing and SUP Club in their team sweatshirts.
The enthusiasm for SUP - whether that was taking a tester session, improving or going on longer adventures.
The encouragement shared between us - everyone felt supported and encouraged as they shared their plans - big or small and in between!
The commitment to the canals and river - there were lots of litterpickers!
Thank you to Shilpa, Shane Morgan and the team for a great evening. I so enjoyed it and look forward to a summer's day in June when we paddleboard back to the Soar Boating Club at the end of our journey from London! Perhaps we will see you there!
More details to follow on #SUPTheGrandUnion - Postcards from a Paddleboard Update No 1
Thank you to Bluefin SUP for my beautiful board Grace, gifted in 2019 for my C2C adventure.