We all get into SUP via different routes. There’s no right or wrong path to follow. Here’s one rider’s journey. Who’s chosen to remain anomalous to avoid mickey taking from his mates. Haha! We get it…
‘Stand up paddle boarding has been around for a few years now but it never really featured on my radar until recently. I saw my first SUP in France on a river and thought it looked lame. There was zero interest and I turned my nose up and walked away from it. Fast forward to now and things are slightly different. But more on that in a mo.
Back on my home turf and regular sojourns to the beach for regular windsurfing fixes were continuing as normal. Then the unthinkable happened. I stacked a move and came up from submersed realising something wasn’t right. My left ankle felt a bit flappy to say the least. As I floated that flapping increased. As did the pain.
Getting back on my windsurf kit was impossible. Fortunately, I wasn’t that far off the beach and was able to body drag back into shore. I crawled through shallows and raised the alarm. A few mates bundled my gear up whilst another packed me into his van and sped off to the hospital. It was confirmed I’d snapped my ankle in half having landed the jump flat. There was chat I’d never sail again from a few ill-advised fools. My head spun.
One plus was the cold sea water had slowed the swelling. And in no time at all, I was off to theatre for some metal work to be affixed. Coming around from the meds my first thought was windsurfing and that I might never be able to. Panicking I lurched, sweated and jittered. My wife tried to calm me down. But it was only when the consultant appeared and assured me I would be back on the water in around six months did I chill out. (Turns out he was a kitesurfer and wasn’t concerned about my not being able to windsurf). Phew!
The months that followed were infuriating and dull. Wind and sun most days as spring gave way to summer. And pretty soon I was on the rehab trail. It was during this period that a paddle boarding mate told me I should get onboard with SUP. Literally. Initially I poh poohed it. But it quickly dawned that SUP might help with rehab and get me windsurfing fit quicker.
A few months later I was paddling round my local harbour on my knees looking like every other newbie. BUT. I was loving being afloat again and couldn’t care less. The sun was shining, winds were light and it was a unique feeling to have a paddle in my hands. My ankle was still tender. And this was halting getting to my feet. Still, I wasn’t fussed. (My wife thought it was highly amusing considering my previous dismissal of paddling).
Two weeks later and I was given the all clear from my docs. I’d had some screws removed to allow bone calcification to occur unhindered. And I was (just about) skipping out of the hospital back to the beach. Where upon arrival I went – you guessed it – paddling! By now I was comfortably on my feet and riding small waves. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I was loving it.
These days paddle boarding makes up a massive part of watery life. I’m certainly back windsurfing (with zero ankle issues). In between bouts of breeze I SUP lots. It’s a great way to stay in shape. Sometimes I add a sail to my SUP board if the wind’s light and enjoy a spot of windSUP. Basically stand up paddle boarding has enhanced everything no end. And I definitely attribute it to a quicker rehabilitation process.
The moral of the story: never say never…’