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Respond to every call that excites your spirit

Glidesoul day on the jubilee river

Laura Kennington - 9th December 2016

When was the last time you tried something new?

It’s 5am on a Saturday morning and I’ve dragged myself out of bed to do just this. The lure of a new adventure, no matter how small, is impossible to resist.

By 8:30am I find myself in Richmond and being introduced to the team behind GlideSoul – with stand up paddleboarding, longboarding and wakesurfing on the agenda, we have a busy day ahead of us.  GlideSoul arrange community days like this as an introduction to the company and as a way to introduce women to water sports in a friendly and supportive environment.  GlideSoul are my kind of girls and I’m delighted to have recently become an ambassador for them. There are 10 ladies in today’s group – all assembled bright and early on a Saturday morning at Active360 to try something new. We get a run down of the day, we get decked out in gloriously cheerful neoprene and after a brief introduction to stand up paddleboarding – we’re out on the water.

Yoga on a stand up paddleboard is first up. Having only been on a stand up paddleboard once before, it takes some getting used to – not least of all because there is a strong tidal flow and my board keeps moving around. Eventually, I paddle inland a bit and the kettlebell hanging down from a leash stabilises things, allowing me to concentrate on yoga. I always feel better for being near water and the combination of peaceful morning yoga surrounded by the river is gorgeous.

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It’s a wonderful, often hilarious, experience as we breathe deeply and purposefully through some of the poses – giggling and wobbling through others. Having survived the yoga portion of the morning, we paddle up the river and being a bit more comfortable on the board,  I find my thoughts peacefully drifting on to other things. I’m still a little unsure as to how it happens, but suddenly I’ve fallen in! Thankfully, this moment is not captured by the resident photographer and after my refreshing little dip, I’m back on my board as if nothing happened just in time for the triumphant group shot.

After changing back into dry clothes, we’re on our way to JBSki.  We’re greeted by lunch, which we all gladly inhale and then leisurely get ready for the second part of the day. First up, longboarding.  Katya shows us how it’s meant to be done…

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My skateboarding experience is slightly above my paddleboarding experience, in that I’ve done it more than once, but not for about 10 years. I don’t fall off though so I mark down this section as a remarkable success.

The last activity of the day is Wakesurfing. This was definitely the sport I was most excited about – I’ve always wanted to try it and I keep meaning to also improve my surfing skills but I’m often so busy with the sports I already know and love that starting at the beginning of a new sport rarely gets prioritised.

There’s a land lesson from expert Alena, during which I can’t keep the smile off my face.

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It dawns on me that I can’t remember the last time I tried a sport purely for fun.  I make a mental note to myself to be a beginner more often.

We pile on to the boat and once again get shown how it’s meant to be done. Watching anyone do what they love is really inspiring and it’s incredible to see the girls in action.

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Soon enough, it’s my turn. Under expert guidance from Alena (and to my total disbelief), I’m up!

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The girls shout guidance from the boat, telling me how to tweak my posture and cheering loud encouragement throughout. With every wipeout, my smile grows a bit bigger and I know I’ve found something special.  I clamber back on the boat and after a few more laps, we reluctantly head back because the boat is starting to run low on fuel.

After drying off, we raise our disposable cups of prosecco (with added fresh strawberries!) and raise a toast to a spectacular day and new friends.  A couple of hours later I’m back in London surrounded by people dressed considerably more glamorously than me heading for the typical Saturday night out. It’s a world away from the day I’ve just had, which only makes me appreciate it even more.

As adults, I don’t think we try new things often enough. We get stuck in a rut; we develop stubborn opinions on the types of things we’re good at and avoid the types of things we’re not. Even our hobbies get categorised and measured so we can track progress. It all gets so very serious. We seem to forget that the every activity we now know and love was once discovered for the first time after trying something new.  Learning something new unlocks your creativity and blows away the mental cobwebs – it sets the reset button and it challenges you to see things from a fresh perspective. What will you try next?

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Read more about Laura's adventures on her blog lauraexplorer.com/

Laura spent her early years as the only female sibling on a farm in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. She discovered adventure at  an early age by embracing muddy countryside exploration with the beloved family dog, Hobo, a White Alsation.

Later moving to London to pursue a career in the arts, she trained professionally as an actress and a singer, and worked within the performing arts industry for many years. It was here that she discovered a passion for charity, through her work with the Helen Bamber Foundation and iceandfire, amongst others. Focussing on another passion, fitness, Laura became qualified as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor. With this unique insight into the inner workings of the human body and how it copes under physical stress, she found herself curiously exploring the limits of her own body – she hasn’t looked back since!

These days Laura can mainly be found pursuing adventures, telling stories and training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Fuelled by Disney & Dr Seuss.
Often bike riding, sometimes kayaking and nearly always excited.
Coffee addict.
Big plans ahead for snow, surf & sky.

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All photos by Chris Knight: http://www.knightpics.co.uk



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