I became interested in SUP after being inspired by some of the great Hawaiian watermen such as Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama. I remember watching a longboard surf contest from Mexico and when I caught a glimpse of Laird riding a SUP and it just totally caught my imagination. It was something I was desperate to try, so once back on home soil I managed to get hold of a twelve-foot surfboard and I made my own paddle from a broken kayak paddle. From the very first time I got out on the water, I haven’t looked back.
I’ve always surfed and I’ve gained experience on all sorts of boards so SUP seemed like a natural path to follow. I love challenging myself and learning new skills, and SUP certainly provided me with the opportunity to do that! The best thing about it is that it’s totally accessible, whether you are an experienced surfer, or someone who has never been on any sort of board before. As Laird said when I met him, “isn’t it great being a beginner again?”
I enjoy SUP as it has so many different aspects to it, from flat water paddling, down winding, racing, exploration and of course surfing. The fitness, mind and body benefits are all there to be had and enjoyed by all and I’ve taught people of all ages and all levels of experience, all with great results. I would always encourage anyone new to SUP to take part in a course run by a qualified instructor who can teach the basics and all of the safety requirements that are so important to know, or you could jump straight in and join a club so that you can paddle safely with others and find out what this amazing sport can do for your sense of wellbeing. There are plenty of us in West Sussex who are more than happy to show you how it’s done!
I won the British SUP championship in 2009 for both race and surfing and in 2010 I paddled the English Channel with three other guys in five hours and 38 mins, raising over £10,000 for the charity Surfers Against Sewage. I am a freelance coach training at locations all along the West Sussex coastline and I have been coaching the sport for ten years now. I also provide one-on one-lessons for anyone wishing to get a more intensive introduction. If you fancy giving it a try, please just let me know. I’m always keen to show others why I am such a fan myself!