Saltwalk SUP Bootcamp – Good Friday 2017

Hello, and welcome to my second blog as a novice Stand Up Paddleboard racer. There’ll be some photos along soon as well 🙂

As well as my second SUP blog, this also marked the second time I’d been out on water on a SUP board.

For those of you who missed my first post (and how could you!), through a variety of circumstances that may not become clear, I’d manage to join the Saltwalk Naish 1 SUP paddleboard team.  My first outing on one of these 12’6″ inflatable racing bananas was the week before in Bala, North Wales for the first UK SUP race of the year.  Well, with the first race out of the way, and feeling well and truly bitten by the SUP bug, I was looking forward to getting some more time on the water, and build up some fitness and confidence.

Mark and Helen from Saltwalk had arranged a bootcamp for the Team on Good Friday on the River Derwent in Darley Abbey, Derby.  They’d also arranged for some additional instruction from Jo and Pete.

Jo is in fact Joanne Hamilton-Vale. She recently claimed the world record (for both men and women) for 24 hour paddling.  That’s just over 111 miles. In 24 hours.  And Pete coaches her.  Basically, what we’re saying is, if you want to know how to paddle, there are the two who can show you!

So Good Friday dawns, and at a much more civilised time than the previous week, we met up at the Darley Barn to have some world class tuition.  This week, the Saltwalk Team was nearly up to capacity as we were joined by a few more fellow noobs, as well as a couple of more experienced paddlers.

With the boards inflated, it was time to hit the water.

Darley Abbey is a great stretch of water, and one I used to canoe quite a lot, and it was nice to see the river from a slightly higher, if more wobbly view point.

With everyone on the water we started with the personal tuition, which is a little nerve wracking.  Having a world champion  following you and critiquing your paddling is a intimidating, but ultimately invaluable 🙂 And don’t mention the videoing!

After a morning’s paddle, we headed to the Abbey for lunch and then back out onto the water for the afternoon session, which was much more intensive than earlier.  Starting techniques were discussed, and basically, it’s a free for all when the starter horn blows! Positions on the line for the sprint races, tactics, rounding the turn were all discussed, and hopefully of some use for the faster paddlers (My plan was to let the carnage happen, and then gently paddle past…).

Drafting practice was next on the cards, with a great 2.5Km paddle down into Derby, followed by sprint starts and drafting on the way back. And this led nicely into rounding-the-bouy-without-falling-in practice, and much dropping-to-the knees-to-stop-getting-wet.  Cross bow paddle strokes are much easier in a canoe, and when it’s a bit warmer, I’m tempted to try a bow jam just to see how badly wrong it can go…

And then it was time to change, stretch, pack up and head back to the Abbey for a post paddle drink.

It was a fantastic day, again with a great bunch of people.  Half the Team are basically novices, but willing to give it a go, which is ace, and having tuition from paddlers such as Jo and Pete was incredible.

Joanne is a Global Ambassador for Standup For The Cure http://suftc.org/, who raise money and support for breast cancer.  Remember that name, as there’ll be some Saltwalk fundraising events coming soon!

See you on the water 🙂

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