Every now and then, we’re going to let our blog be taken over by a company that inspires us and who’s principles align with ours. This article, by Big Blue Adventures based in Cardiff South Wales, is the first in the takeover series! Thanks to Dan and Heleen for the article.
‘Exploring through adventure’, that is one of the key elements of the Big Blue Adventures business. It is also how our mantra Explore.Evolve.Enjoy came about, offering people an outdoor adventure with a range of playgrounds to choose from. From surfing on The Gower Peninsula to coasteering in Pembrokeshire and from canyoning in Brecon Beacons to SUP’ing around The Mumbles. These are our core activities in Wales, and this is the playground where Big Blue Adventures was born. And what a playground it is!
SUP is probably the most accessible activity we offer at Big Blue Adventure, which also explains why it’s one of the fastest growing sports in the world! But what we have learned from SUP’ing in Wales, Spain, Portugal and The Netherlands is that the real magic behind Stand Up Paddleboarding lies in the ease of exploring new countries, cities, beaches; the choices are endless. Because it’s such a rapidly growing water sport, you can now find a SUP instructor or a SUP board hire spot almost everywhere you go, some better than others.
SUP’ing really is an activity that is suitable for everyone – you can learn the basics in a day and start enjoying the paddle straight away. And whilst prone surfing (another of our activities) is also great for beginners, and the basics aren’t too hard, when do you have time to stop and take in the views? You are just looking for that next wave to catch and practice your new skills.
With Stand Up Paddleboarding you have the time to take in your surroundings and even make it a social day out. Sharing a new experience with others is what it’s all about and with SUP you have the chance to do just that.
We think SUP is one of the most fun and unique ways of exploring a country. Of course, wandering around on two feet is a good way to see a city, but isn’t it more exciting to be sightseeing from a SUP board? You get a different view of the world from the water than on foot, and on a SUP you can often access places and spots that boat tours cannot get to.
One of the most unique SUP’s we have done was through the canals of Amsterdam. You get a completely different view of the city if you’re on a board. Exploring the miles and miles famous canals, away from the hordes of tourists and with wide views of both sides of the waterways! Amsterdam is probably one of the easiest cities in Europe to explore by SUP because there are canals leading you from one side of the city to the other and they can literally take you anywhere in between. It’s even possible to paddle passed famous Dutch landmarks like the Rijksmuseum (one of the most visited art museums in world!) and The Heineken Experience, paddling under little bridges and next to historic buildings. Whilst dozens of tourists passed us by on bikes, we were one of the few out on the water. Many might not know this, but Amsterdam also has a lovely lake area (Sloterplas) with a small beach and it is paddle distance from city centre. This city really offers the best of both worlds; tranquillity and the buzz of the busy streets.
If you fancy exploring with a local guide (one of Big Blue Adventures is a dutch local) then have a look at our Surfenture Holland package.
SUP’ing in Barcelona was slightly different to our Dutch experience. Around famous Barceloneta Beach there are a few places where you can hire a SUP board, we hired one at the Boardriders shop. It’s the busiest beach of the city and sometimes you even struggle to find a place to put your towel down, but surprisingly we were one of only a dozen people out on the water! You might see a fellow SUP’er here and there or someone swimming or Jet skiing but other than that it was pretty much the two of us, the seagulls and the swell. Don’t underestimate a SUP session in Barcelona though, the winds can get pretty strong with your body acting like a sail, it’s a real work-out and sometimes that’s exactly what you are looking for. It’s fun and zen but Stand Up Paddle boarding is also a great all body workout, with the core especially benefitting. SUP’ing around Barceloneta is safe and you don’t need to go far from shore, the beach stretches for a good few miles. Could it get any better: A sunny SUP session where we discovered some of the beaches next to Barceloneta with hardly any tourists at all, just locals. And we finished the day off with a cold Estrella and a Paella. Cliché’d? Maybe, but a great way to end the day and a well deserved treat after the day’s paddling.
Others say that SUP’ing around the globe might just be the best way of exploring a new destination in a different way. We know it is. It sure beats an open top sightseeing bus or Segway tour for us.
For further information:
Owners of the company:
Daniel Manley (Welsh) & Heleen Lamm (Dutch)
Check our ‘about us’ page: https://www.bigblueadventures.co.uk/aboutbigblueadventurescardiff