Paddle Boarding Fat Lady, Beginner adventure...

Following our lesson, we are actually getting on the water and doing it, who would believe it, the least sporty people.


We bought the Bestway Hydro Force Oceana, saw it rated on top 10 inflatable SUP for beginners, £369.99 available for delivery, which was a major issue, some not being available till September. (it is at the time of writing only available for £621 which is testament to the demand). It is 10 ft long and 33 inches wide, which helps with stability apparently. If you can pay more, Red & Bluefin ISUP are highly rated by every site I found, ranging from £499 & £699 for beginners boards.

Forget the manual pump

The manual pump was a nightmare, and every review with anything negative to say was about the pump. The attachment kept flying off, my husband did 150 pumps, Tobs 50 & I did 30 and we were still at 7 psi and needed to be at 15! No way did I want it to be that difficult to get started, exhausted before we got our feet wet. Frantically we ordered this pump powered by the 12v socket in the car, my husbands mate Dave has it for the same SUP. It still needs holding in place when you start or the air leaks but it’s definitely quicker.

Getting on the water

Day 1

On our wedding anniversary we went to Cuckmere with Tobs. We hired two boards (12.50 pp book in advance) and took ours. The river was waste deep and fairly flat, a great way to start. A beautiful morning and the meandering river and countryside was really special. We managed to stand paddling for an hour, I fell in twice and struggled to get back on, but still loved it.

Worth noting, we went early 9am, by 11:30am on a weekday, the parking was full and all the hire boards were all out.

Day 2

We took turns on the river near us. It was raining and windy I felt very wobbly so came in to give Tobs a go, who was brilliant, manoeuvring like a professional. Catherine brought her new board and did really well and didn’t fall in once, in fact she had to be persuaded to come in.

Day 3

Up at 6:30am to catch the high tide on the river. Tobs & I paddled in early sunshine, the water glistening, the sheep walking along the bank. It was just brilliant, pure joy, felt amazing! Wish I had a picture from the board but not mastered the paddle plus phone yet.

Only thing I would say is it makes my feet hurt, tensing to keep balanced, does anyone know how to stop that? I tried shifting slightly which is highly precarious, does it get better?

While bringing the boards back in, really pleased with ourselves, we dropped our board & punctured it on a sharp rock........ Tobs said, everyone stay calm..... seriously, I was devastated.... The board come with a puncture kit, most do, it happens. My husband patched it we are good to go again.

Wetsuit & buoyancy aids

I've never worn a wetsuit and couldn't believe the huge difference not being breathless with shock at the coldness of the water, even if it's a really warm day I'd recommend it. The buoyancy aid gave us confidence in the deeper water, absolutely not negotiable.

We found buoyancy aids at the stock everywhere is a nightmare. We went up a size (despite being well within the size guide). Eg: my son's small didn’t fit, he needed a med/large and he is 15 and very slim.

Swim Shoes

I wore old, loose swim shoes when I had my lesson and the new ones available everywhere online are so much tighter & secure, gave me more grip on the board.

Changing Poncho

Amazon has a wide range. I found it impossible to get my wetsuit off without exposing myself, not too bad in our own garden but not fine on the beach... ours is like this

All the gear...

I am well known for liking all the gear..... so why change now? Obviously sliders bear no relevance to your paddle boarding skills but these Animal sliders are lovely, feel wonderful & look cool from Ocean sports Hove, also available online via and Amazon £14.99

Developing my surfer chic lol

I fancied a sweatsuit dress to put on after. Obviously I have lots of other things I could wear, but as I wanted to capture the beachy surfy look, I found this lovely Bench dress at It comes in lots of soft colours. I went a size up to ensure a loose fit (based on the reviews) I bought 18/20 which was absolutely the right thing, Ideally I could have even gone a size bigger.

Next challenge the sea, not expecting to stand up, start on our knees, but that’s ok, got to give it a go and a chance to try out our dry bag...

Hope the additional info is useful if you are starting out in SUP like us, have fun and stay safe x

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