On the 25th of June I paddled my 7’9” Loco Surf SUP down Cardiff’s Taff River, but not for any old reason; this paddle had a purpose. I joined a few other ‘paddlers’ including another couple of SUPers, kayakers, and a knee boarder to raise money for the Wave Project. The Wave Project are a charity that help reduce anxiety in young people through teaching them how to surf.
Every year they hold a paddle event in areas right across the UK to raise money. This year’s event was called Paddle Out Loud.
Setting off was really tricky because we launched from a riverbank where a riffle occurred, meaning the water was really shallow and rocky. I had to carry my sup as far as I could not to damage its underbelly or my fins.
After finally getting deep enough, I jumped on. I didn’t feel that the 5k mapped quite pushed my limits, especially as it was mostly all downstream. My SUP isn’t designed for flat water paddling, but there’s no point paddling for charity unless you’re going to challenge yourself! After all, several people had donated money in order to sponsor me!
The river was full of wildlife. I was hoping to see a kingfisher, but they weren’t about on our paddle day sadly! There were a lot of ducks and swans.
Five minutes downstream we paddled past the Millenium Stadium.. What a different perspective that was.
We had to go under several bridges on the way to the Bay and we were instructed that we must use the right hand tunnel as water taxis were running which always use the middle tunnel.
We were followed by a safety boat the whole way which kept an eye on us in case of emergencies. They were also pretty fun and gave us some waves to play on.
Finally reaching the bay, we had a stretch to cross with the wind against us which was tricky. Then we had to paddle upstream the Ely, past the boats sitting in the harbour, towards the White Water Centre where we finished our paddle and were allowed to use their excellent facilities to shower and change.
The sun held out for us and as soon as I got in the car ready to make my way back home, it started to rain.
It was a great day and as soon as I made it home, I crashed on the sofa. Maybe 5k on a surf SUP was enough after all!
I’d like to thank Dani Robertson who coordinated the event and the White Water Centre in Cardiff Bay for transporting us to the start line and allowing us to use their facilities afterwards.