My love for paddleboarding goes beyond the simple elements of fun and health. Sure, those aspects are important, but there’s so much more to be experienced with your SUP. A brilliant way to become at one with nature and discover brand-new places, paddleboarding offers endless opportunity for adventure. As peacefully or as wildly as you’d like!
I and so many others find ourselves powerfully drawn to the oceans, lakes and rivers of our planet. But why? There’s definitely a deeper meaning behind the SUP love so many of us experience, making us happier and healthier along the way.
Connecting with Nature
According to E. O. Wilson’s book of the same name, Biophilia is the urge to interact and connect with other forms of life. Based on the innate desire for humans to experience and be around nature, paddleboarding is a powerful method of doing so.
When I’m on my board, I can’t help but feel instantly closer to nature. Whether surfing the waves or taking a few tranquil moments to sit still, the way my board rises and falls with the water is a feeling like no other. As my SUP shakes and wobbles in response, I find myself in harmony with nature whilst simultaneously trying to fight it. That’s the true power of water!
The Ocean’s Mystery
For centuries, people have been fascinated by the sea. Looking out over the flat, blue waters that fade into the sky is immensely calming. Yet hugely exciting. After all, it’s what ultimately drove explorers to ‘find the edge’ and discover what lies within the depths.
As a species, we’ve evolved surrounded by water. Using it for our food and often transport, it’s ingrained in our very nature to feel comfortable on the water’s edge. In fact, it’s estimated 80% of people live within 60 miles of the coast! It’s not just being physically in or on the ocean that’s good for us. Simply breathing in the sea air and experiencing coastline freedom is seriously good for the soul.
And feeling at one with nature isn’t just reserved for water either. I love nothing more than being surrounded by mountains and lush forest, being in and amongst nature at its very core. But my true love definitely lies with my SUP, making water undoubtedly my favourite place to be.
As humans, we’re made-up of 70% water. As well as being in the air we breathe, water forms our tears of happiness and sorrow – and has literally shaped the world we live in. There’s a reason why we call it the blue planet!
Covering 70% of the Earth’s surface, water is where all life originally began. It’s where our ancestors originally swam and emerged from, and where we ultimately evolved. Without water, life simply wouldn’t be sustained. In fact, the sole reason I’m even able to write this (the brain!), is made-up of 80% water.
No wonder us humans can’t help but be drawn to it.
An Experience Like No Other
Paddleboarding allows us to get into the water, onto the water, and be surrounded by water. No matter your preference or skill level, a SUP gives you the power to experience water to the full.
Whether paddling with it or against it, or surfing alongside waves and diving straight under, you feel a greater sense of being part of this wonderful planet. After all, blue is the colour of relaxation and security. And when on the ocean, you’ll see virtually every possible shade of blue for a truly calming experience.
The mere sound of crashing waves has been routinely associated with peace and tranquility. In fact, these sounds have even been found to decrease levels of cortisol, commonly known as the ‘stress hormone’.
A research project carried out in 2013 investigated the effect of coastal living on mental health. Results strongly suggested those living less than a kilometre away from the coast were 22% less likely to suffer a mental health disorder, than those living 50km away.
This association has been frequently seen throughout history too. In Victorian times, a trip to the seaside was often prescribed as a medical recommendation! And the Romans frequently bathed in water in an attempt to improve their health.
For me, a paddle on my SUP is all I need to escape the stresses and problems of everyday life. Allowing me to relax and get some healthy exercise at the same time, it’s an opportunity I take whenever I can.
In these unprecedented times, lockdowns and isolation are taking over. My desire to escape to the water with my board is stronger than ever, but staying home has never been more important. We must resist the water’s temptation, and remind ourselves the oceans, rivers and lakes we love so much will still be there when this is all over.
Until then, stay home, protect the NHS, save lives.
A big Bluefin thanks to Matt!
You can see and hear more from Matt on his travel-themed Instagram here.
Fancy writing a blog on your SUP experiences? Email me here!