PERFORMING pelvic stretches while balancing on a paddle-board in the middle of a river was certainly a new experience for me.
Getting soaking wet, however, was not.
It’s the watersport making a huge splash in Spain – and all over the world – right now. And, if you’re half decent at stand-up paddle-boarding (SUP), it is actually very easy to avoid making a splash yourself.
I first stepped on to a paddle board with Club Mistral in Sotogrande, who are running summer sessions in various coastal locations from Tarifa to Marbella.
The club’s new SUP branch does not have a fixed home yet, meaning that anyone interested need only check their website or Facebook page to see when they’re next in the area.
“With our new mobile school, we want to bring paddle-boarding to the Costa del Sol and the calmer beaches, better suited to it than Tarifa,” explains Chris Ziaja, from Germany, the project manager.
Despite my legs initially shaking like jelly in the wind, with a bit of trust in your paddle, the sport is simple to master and great fun.
People of all ages could find themselves at home on a paddle-board, gliding across the water and giving their body a powerful work-out with a twist.
Club Mistral offers a vast range of activities, from beginner SUP lessons to fitness training and yoga, as well as excursions, company events and special kids’ days.
I sampled them all and found I preferred the intense work-out, which involved more jumping around and less worrying about falling in.
The instructors – three German and one Dutch – made the afternoon really enjoyable and joined in with the race at the end.
Those with energy remaining after the fitness sessions divided into two teams and each attempted to get its ball from down the river and under the bridge, using only paddles. Wild swings of the paddle, frantic racing and a fair bit of knocking each other in ensued.
Club Mistral currently operates two watersport centres in Tarifa, offering windsurfing, kitesurfing and SUP.
The team includes personal fitness trainers and nutrition experts, who are developing special fitness, physiotherapy and injury recovery programmes.
For those brave enough, in August and October there is the opportunity to stand-up paddle from Gibraltar to Ceuta, the Spanish enclave in Africa, crossing continents and oceans.
The easiest way to stay on top of what is happening and where, is to ‘like’ the Club Mistral Paddleboarding Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/Club-Mistral-Paddleboarding/128151827217046
Or visit the website: www.clubmistralsup.com/en