Today we met up with the man who suggested I take up SUP, Carl Sawyer. Carl had suggested that the 4 of us – Carl and his wife Maria, Rhona and I – should take a paddle down the River Exe, starting at Countess Wear and ending at Exmouth, following the outgoing tide. As we only had 2 SUPs – my Coreban on loan from Ocean Source and Carl’s Fanatic board – this meant that we also took Carl’s 2 man sit on kayak. As I’m in training for a big SUP trip next month, Carl suggested I SUP all the way, and he and the girls could take turns on his board.
With Carl’s guidance, I narrowly missed several moored boats, including one that spoke to me. (The owner was on board, and I hadn’t realised.) I nearly fell off the board when I heard the voice!
The Sonic is a great board and pretty fast. Every now and then I would be told to hang on, as I was off in my own little world and pootling along nicely, way ahead of the others.
The closer we got to Exmouth, the faster the tide was moving. I ended up trying to navigate by sound, listening to the rushing water passing obstacles such as marker buoys, and trying to steer wide. On a couple of occasions I wasn’t fast enough and hit the buoys, being launched forward, but managing to fall down on the front of the board and not into the water.
We had such a great trip, that Carl and I decided to SUP along the seafront, whilst the girls headed inshore to get changed and get the car. Again, this paddle was very easy and we were near the car park quicker than the girls. Carl then tried to teach me how to surf a standing wave, but unfortunately my skills aren’t up to that yet, and I came a cropper, falling off the SUP into some rocks just below the water. With several bruises and some deep cuts to my feet and legs we decided this was probably enough for the day.
Being blind and doing what I do, accidents are expected. So it is fair to say we had a fab day! Thanks Carl!