Now, paddle boarding is my go-to for my mental health but it also opened up this community of incredible women, my cheer squad.
Growing up, I was always active and the sea was part of my daily life, growing up by the seaside. After moving away for uni, my relationship with exercise became about the number of calories I burnt, not what I enjoyed. Along with my YoYo dieting, I became a yoyo exerciser.
I went to therapy for my anxiety and to work through my grief around the loss of mum at 9.
During this process, I learnt to accept my body, give up dieting and found movement again.
During the next year, I joined a running club, started netball and returned to swimming.
At the beginning of the lockdown, I moved back to the coast and after spending years watching people SUP and thinking it wasn’t for me, I started paddle boarding – that decision has changed my life.
Now, paddle boarding is my go-to for my mental health but it also opened up this community of incredible women, my cheer squad. I have since continued to fight for representation and inclusive kit – something that despite the diverse community is not available.
I didn’t feel like the outdoors was for me, I didn’t see bodies that looked like mine represented on social media or in adverts.
Kit isn’t available at my size from the majority of providers and that along with finding a board suitable for my weight held me back from trying the sport to begin with.
I move for my mental health and out of habit – for the first time in my life I can enjoy movement for the way it makes me strong and capable – not the number of calories that it burns.
I also love that through social media I now have the opportunity to inspire more women to paddle board.
The pandemic and the short furlough I was lucky to have, meant I had the time and space to fall in love with SUP. I spent all day, every day practicing and I don’t think I would be doing this now, if it hadn’t happened.
Since then I’ve paddled the Great Glen and am in the process of qualifying as a coach – without covid, it wouldn’t have happened.