2017 is here, which means Ladies Night is back! It's just 11 weeks until the first evening - 30th March. We can't wait to see some familiar and new faces heading out on the water with us. This winter it's not just the Accelerated Instructor Trainees who've been completing Paddle Boarding Instructor training - the office crew (Myself, Rose & Rosie) have been working towards the qualification too. We've been squeezing in as many sessions around work as we can, donning wetsuits at 7am, braving the cold and practicing our skills. We hit up Sandbanks on Saturday (7th January) for our most epic paddle yet and this morning (Wednesday 11th January) took advantage of the calm before the storm on Swanage beach. Rosie talks us through Saturday's adventures... "We worked on shifting our weight on the board, leading swiftly onto practising ‘Step-back-turns’. This involves taking a big step back to lift the nose of the board and using sweep strokes to pivot the board on the spot. Suffice to say there was a lot of falling in!
We then journeyed from Sandbanks beach, past the chain ferry, into the Sandbanks harbour, checking out the million-pound houses along the way! It was a great session and conditions were perfect. We were the only ones out - we don't know why more people don’t paddle in the Winter!"
Rose explains our progress today...
"What a beautiful way to start the day. Leaving the house 7.00am slightly struggling to put on my semi-soggy wetsuit and with the sun not yet over the horizon.
We all had a quick lesson on wind and wave direction, which revealed we were paddling in North Westerly winds, meaning if we stood on the board without paddling we would drift towards Peveril Ledges (not where we want to go!).
The aim of the session was learning how to surf a wave, launching and landing from the beach and practicing our step-back turns. As the sun started rising with a wonderful pink sky, we headed towards North Beach, catching waves at each groyne along the way. We learnt why each groyne section produced slightly different wave formations and how the wind affects each section. There was lots more falling in today and boards to the shins but we all managed to catch at least one wave!
Our step back turns also improved, getting less wet than Saturday. After a brief game of Pirates (tying to commandeer someone else's board!) we paddled back to shore and got ready for our day in the office."
Sophie Tanner was our coach today. She says;
"This morning was an early start but even without my usual caffeine boost I was pumped to get on the water and help Rosie, Rose and Phoebe work on their paddle boarding skills.
A bit of ground swell meant it was a great morning to work on trimming, launching and landing, catching waves and step-back turns. The fairly warm sea temperature (10 degrees) meant a few 'get-wet' games weren't too chilly!
You could tell all three trainees had been out practising; confidence and board balance was much improved. The amazing sunrise as a background was an added bonus too."
Coming up next is water safety and rescue training - an interesting session we're sure. They'll be lots more getting wet and braving the cold but it's all worth it, the smiles on our faces after a lesson are reason enough.
We'll keep you posted on our journey to becoming instructors. We're really enjoying learning a new skill and discovering muscles we never knew we had!
As always, we want to hear about your adventures, if you've been braving the water this Winter let us know. Share your pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.