Although the official summer months have passed, the recent warm September weather has meant winter doesn’t seem quite so close. This was lucky for us here at Experience Days, as last weekend we were off to spend a day out on the water with Hove Lagoon Watersports at their Ladies Day, trying our hand at stand-up paddle boarding (or SUP as it is also known), windsurfing and wakeboarding. Here’s how we got on:
Poppy and I arrived at the centre at 10:00am, where we were greeted and signed in by one of the instructors at the lagoon called Lucy. Having imagined battling the waves out on the open water, we were relieved to find that our activities would be taking place in the lagoon itself with its calm, waist-deep water. Being shallower also meant the water was considerably warmer than the sea, but in spite of this and to be on the safe (and warm) side we kitted up with wet suits, life jackets and water shoes. Our group of about 25 ladies was then divided into smaller groups of about 5-10, with the plan that we would rotate round the various activities.
First up for Poppy and I was paddle boarding. It’s safe to say we weren’t experts at this new and hugely popular sport, but with the help of our instructor Jerry we soon found our balance. After a few minutes of paddling whilst kneeling on the boards, our group was ready to progress to standing up. Initially a little apprehensively, we gradually rose to a standing position on the board, and aside from a few wobbles here and there, all of the group were soon comfortably paddling around the lagoon.
The second half of our session was somewhat calmer than the first, as we enjoyed 20 minutes of SUP Yoga. Great for core strength, balance and relaxation, we moved from laying to standing to sitting on our boards whilst learning a few breathing techniques and yoga poses (which trust us are a lot harder than they look).
Essentially SUP pro’s (nearly), we made our way to our second activity; windsurfing. With
mixed abilities within the group we wondered how the session would pan out, but our lovely instructor Harriet made sure we were all comfortable out on the water. Among other skills we learnt the basic ‘sailing position’, the ‘secure position’, how to turn and how to steer the boards. The great part about being in a lagoon is that if you are ever feeling slightly nervous, you can just hop off and immediately be standing in the water (which also makes it a lot easier to get back onto the boards). A combination of soft winds and great tuition meant that by the end of our 45 minute session we had all improved significantly, which left our group with a sense of satisfaction as we eagerly made our way to lunch.
After a delicious burger at the on-site café it was time for wakeboarding, our final activity of the day. A combination of snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing, wakeboarding involves balancing on a board whilst you are pulled along the water by a cable. Our instructor Lucy explained some basic wakeboarding tips, and before we knew it we were in the water clinging to the handle, waiting to begin. Lucy controlled the speed of the cable which allowed us to all emerge from the water slowly whilst we found our balance. Once up, the speed picked up a little as we glided along the water. Within our group no one seemed to have any trouble getting up, and we all enjoyed the excitement wakeboarding brings; to quote one team member ‘the feeling of gliding across the water is just incredible!’.
A SUP relay race and prize giving ceremony signalled the end of our action packed day, and buzzing from the excitement but also ready for a long hot shower we all made our way home. The day really was a great taster of the world of water sports. From the wonderful instructors to the on-site facilities, we couldn’t fault Hove Lagoon Watersports. If you’re looking to try water sports for the first time, or are an expert wanting to expand your skill set, the shelter and calm waters of the lagoon provide a great location. A big thank you to Hove Lagoon Watersports for having us, and in particular to our instructors Lucy, Jerry and Harriet for being so patient while we got to grips with the various sports – we can’t wait to show off our new skills!