The sun has broken through the dense, grey rain clouds, and I welcome its warmth on my back. I admire the spiky sea urchins clinging to the rocks beneath the clear, turquoise water as a solitary bird calls from the pine forest on the cliffs above. This stretch of coast is quiet and wild and I enjoy the splash of the paddle breaking the water, spilling cool water over my toes.
I bend my knees, reach forward to dip the paddle into the water and pull it alongside the board. Bend, reach, pull. I fall into a comfortable rhythm, gliding over the almost mirror calm surface. It doesn’t get better than this, I think.
I’ve had the pleasure of learning to stand up paddle board (SUP) on an increasingly deserted Skopelos island, in northern Greece. Sporades SUP owner, Shane, invited me to share his passion and we spent a few hours each day bouncing over the waves, each of us left to our own thoughts as we paddled along the coast.
This was my first attempt at stand up paddle boarding, but I found getting up pretty simple. And standing up felt manageable too. But when it came to trying out turns and tricks I often landed in the water, surfacing with hearty laughs to accompany the mouthfuls of water. I’ve enjoyed this opportunity to laugh at myself, to be humbled as I learn a new skill and to look incredibly silly every time I toppled off the board.
Shane has recently begun a yoga practice and has taken it to the water. This took my own practice to a new level, inspiring me try positions I know so well in a whole new way – and falling off a lot in the process.
Quiet coastlines, energised bodies, yoga, stand up paddle boarding, beautifully clear water, sunshine… summer keeps rolling on!
Stand up paddle boarding excursions:
1. Elios (Neo Klima) – Dhasia island
2. Aghnondas – Amarandos peninsula
3. Loutraki coastline