Hitting The Sea With Her Paddleboard! Penny Waite Talks About Her Big Passion!

Penny goes out with her paddleboard three or five times a week.
On a sunny day, you see them all along Brighton’s shoreline, standing on their boards and paddling their way over the surface of the water. Stand up paddleboading has become one of the most popular watersport activites and passionate paddleboarder Penny Waite knows exactly why. The 38-year-old has been doing SUP for six year now and is absolutely fond of it.

Why did you decide to get into it?

When I first saw paddleboarding in Brighton, I thought ‘what is that?’ Someone floating on the water, standing on a board with a paddle in their hand. I’m a yoga teacher and always looking for new ways to teach. When my friend told me that you can actually do yoga on them, I was sucked in immediately. So I got the board originally for my yoga practice, but what I got was a lot more. Paddleboarding is so versatile. You can paddle on flat water, ride waves, have you and your kids on it, go on long day trips, discover places you couldn’t get to before, you can do exercising classes on it, like SUP fit, you can do yoga on it which is called SUP Yoga… It strengthens and tones the body and also increases your balance and concentration. The options are endless and they are suitable for everyone.
Other than the actual paddling, Penny also teaches and practises SUP yoga.

Other than the actual paddling, Penny also teaches and practises SUP yoga.

How often do you go paddleboarding?

Depending on the weather, I do it three to five times a week.

When did paddleboarding become so popular in Brighton?

Paddleboarding came to Brighton about 10 years ago, but really started taking of about 3 or 4 years ago. It has really exploded in popularity and is now the fastest growing watersport in the world.

Where in Brighton can you actually do it?

If you have your own board, you can do it anywhere along the seafront. Otherwise, there are a few places along the seafront where you can hire boards and get lessons. If you are not so keen on going out to the sea, Hove lagoon also hires boards and teaches lessons.

Is there a particular spot you recommend?

No, anywhere is good really.

Penny likes to go on explorer trips with her paddleboard.

Penny likes to go on explorer trips with her paddleboard.

What do the weather and sea conditions have to be like to do SUP?

This all depends on your experience as a supper. As a beginner or for fitness and yoga, you want little to no wind, flat water and low tide. A more experienced supper could go out in rougher seas and higher winds, 5 knots and under to stay safe. Once you get even more skilled, you can go out in waves. But it is important to always use your common sense to stay safe.

If you don’t know how to do it, how can you learn it?

Brighton Watersports along the seafront hire boards and also deliver lessons as does the lagoon and myself as member of Brighton sup and surf.

How long would you say does it take to learn it?

Paddleboarding is quick and easy to learn. With a little balance and patience, you can pick it up in just a few minutes and feel competent after just one session. Obviously, to master the skills takes longer.

What can people expect from it when they do it for the first time?

A lot of giggles and laughter, some wobbles and a little falling in. Depending on your balance, you might not even fall in at all. But let’s face it, that’s part of the fun.

She regularly goes out paddling with her dad who is aged 71.

She regularly goes out paddling with her dad who is aged 71.

What would you say is most difficult about it?

Unless your looking into doing other things on the SUP, like surfing, yoga, sup fit, racing or tricks, I wouldn’t say it is difficult at all. Obviously, some things are more challenging than others, like moving around on the board, surf stance while paddling, or standing on the back of the board to do a sharper quicker turn.

What skills do people need to do paddleboarding?

Good balancing skills and good core strength are an advantage but remember paddleboarding also allows you to gain these things.

Are there any dangerous situations related to Brighton’s SUP spots that you could possibly get into?

I probably wouldn’t go paddling around and under the West Pier if you are a beginner. You don’t know what’s underneath if you fall in. Just use your common sense, also just be aware of the tide when you enter and exit the water.

What do you like about SUP?

It is so versatile and anyone can do it. I love it for fitness, surfing, yoga, paddling with friends and family, and  for the fact that it gives me an excuse to get in the water. Every time, I come out feeling like a new person ready to face the day. Once you start it, you’ll get addicted.

One things she loves about paddleboarding is that everyone can do it, no matter how old they are. Louis (8 years old) and Tallulah (aged 7) really enjoy it.

One things she loves about paddleboarding is that everyone can do it, no matter how old they are. Louis (8 years old) and Tallulah (aged 7) really enjoy it.

What equipment do you need?

You basically need a board, a paddle, a leach and a life jacket if you are young or if you are not a competent swimmer.

What tips do you have for people that want to buy their own board?

Which board you get depends on your weight, height and experience. The board comes in different sizes. The bigger and wider the board, the easier it is. The more skilled you become, you can come down in size. If you want easy storage, then a blow-up one might suit you. They are also good for fitness and yoga. If you want to surf, I would recommend getting a board that turns nicely and isn’t too big.

So it really depends on what you want it for. Everybody is different and looking for something different. I would say the best thing is to go into a shop, tell them what you want to use the board for and they will find you the one most suitable.

Once you’ve set the paddle at the correct height, check to make sure that the handle doesn’t twist or slides up or down.

What should people wear when they do it? Are there any particular shoes or do you do it barefoot?

Most paddleboarders go barefoot, but with Brighton’s pebbles you might want some surf shoes. Some boards have a place on the front you can put bags, shoes etc.

Good balance is one of the skills required to go padddleboarding but even if you don't have it right from the beginning, you will soon pick it up.

Good balance is one of the skills required to go padddleboarding but even if you don’t have it right from the beginning, you will soon pick it up.

When people are into paddleboarding but don’t want to go paddling alone, where can they go to meet other paddleboarders?

On the Facebook page Brighton sup and surf. This is a community page for anyone going out on the water where you can meet other people who are also going out.

Speaking of surfing, can you also catch a wave with a paddleboard, like a proper surfer would do?

You can definitely use the board to catch waves, but it is slightly different to surfing due to standing and also you catch the wave at a different time. Always use a straight leach rather than a coiled leach when surfing.

Are there any tricks that you can do with the padddleboard?

There are lots of tricks you can do on a paddleboard. Hit Youtube to take a look at some great SUP tricks.

When you do it for the first time, what muscles will probably be aching the day after?

Paddleboarding uses your whole body, but you will mainly feel it in the abs, shoulders, arms and legs.

How far can you actually go by paddleboard?

How ever far you decide, depending on your fitness level. If your fitness level isn’t that high, make sure you don’t go out too far, as you will have to paddle just as far back. Also keep an eye on the wind direction and speed to stay safe.

Penny goes out with her paddleboard three or five times a week.

Penny goes out with her paddleboard three or five times a week.

How close to the shore do you have to stay?

This also depends on your fitness level. In any case, it is important to respect the sea and use your common sense, an experienced fit paddler can go as far as the heart desires.

Who can do paddleboarding? Are there any health conditions that could prevent people from doing it?

This is one of the great things about paddleboarding. Anyone can do it. I have friends with children as young as 3 who do it, my dad goes on it and he is 71. I currently don’t know of any health conditions stopping people from doing it. There really are only benefits to it.

Why would you say people should get into paddleboarding?

It’s fun, sociable and everyone can get involved. Also, it’s great that you can do other sports on it, like surf, yoga or fitness. It has massive health and fitness benefits. For instance, it improves your cardio fitness, balance and core strength, and it’s also very relaxing, so a good stress reliever. It’s also a great way to get fit while having fun doing it and being in the great outdoors.

What is your advice for people who want to do it?

Find a place that hires boards and get involved. If you like it, buy one. You’ll love it!

If you wan to get into paddleboarding, join Brighton sup & surf on Facebook.
Images courtesy of the interviewee.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*