You’ll need a bit of time just familiarising yourself with not falling in
A decade ago, paddleboarding was something people did on holiday, or if they were American. Pretty soon, it started to spring up anywhere there was a canal, unless it was a filthy canal, and before long it was available at music festivals. This sealed its place, for me, as a bit of a hipster’s affectation, a way to exercise while still looking countercultural; as if you would never be seen dead exercising (see also in this category: surfing; lindy hop).
Paddleboarding is a mix between surfing and kayaking: you stand on the board (about 10-11ft long) and then propel yourself along with the paddle. I have a go in Paddington Basin, which I’m a bit scared of, because the daughter of a policeman told me her father had once found a hand in there. But I’m more scared of balancing on a paddleboard, one of those skills (like parenting or making choux pastry) that you don’t know you’ll be able to master until it’s too late to back out. Yes, you really do have to get off the jetty and stand on the board. You have to brace your abs enough that you keep your balance, but not tense up so completely that you disturb your entire relationship with gravity. In the interests of not tensing up, I imagine it would be a bit easier if you were slightly drunk to start with, but I wasn’t and, again, it was too late.
Read more: theguardian.com