Burnley's stunning Thompson Park lake perfect setting to try the latest craze of paddleboarding sessions run by Burnley Leisure
The reality of my experience wasn’t quite as glamorous but I would still urge anyone to have a go.
I had heard about SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) sessions, which are run in partnership with Sup Burnley and Burnley Leisure, at the beautiful Thompson Park, on social media and via a few friends.
It’s one of those things that I thought ‘I would like to try that’ but never had the confidence to book on. Then my friend, Jo Ashton, kind of did it for me and before I knew it, it was my one and three-quarter hour paddleboarding lesson on a relatively warm Tuesday evening.
You don’t need any equipment – I had leggings on, trainers and a waterproof jacket and that was me ready to go!
The experienced paddlesport instructor Claire Newton takes the lessons and immediately made everyone feel at home. There were five of us, all novices, and we had brief instructions but Claire’s main aim was to get us out on the water.
Life jackets on, there were some board and paddle explanations and instructions and before we knew it we were clambering onto our boards on Thompson Park.
I won’t say it was smooth running initially. We had to kneel on our boards, wobble a lot and then use our oars to get used to being on the water.
But, with time came an element of confidence, and we made our way up the lake on our knees on our boards all quite pleased with ourselves.
Claire got us to shuffle around on our boards - which are sturdier than you think - then move from kneeling to sitting, turning around and I have to admit, by that stage, you do get wet but it’s minimal. Then came the time to stand up.
From kneeling, one leg up, then the other, focus on a point in the distance and stand. Put your paddle on your board to steady yourself and then start paddling. Sounds easy.
Splash – Jo went first and then I quickly followed. It’s cold and a bit murky in Thompson Park but you can stand up in all areas.
Once you have been in the water, then it kind of doesn’t matter. I think I went in around four times. I did stand for a short while but wasn’t as good as the other four ladies who grew in confidence and made their way from one end of the lake to another (there were a few more splashes)
But it wasn't a competition. I had a go, it was a good experience and it was something ticked off. Being stubborn, I will go back and try and get better. I will practise on Thompson Park and then (hopefully) be ready to wow the world with my paddleboarding skills in a hotter climate.
* Types of organised sessions that are available are lessons for adults, children, families, community groups and there is Intro to SupYoga and Social Paddle.
To book on email [email protected] for more information or check out the Sup Burnley Facebook page.