I love trying new things, experimenting keeps fitness fun and gives your muscles a surprise every now and then. As a fitness blogger I was invited to try SUP (Stand Up Paddle) Pilates with Ruth Tongue at WakeUp Docklands in London during their class launch day. Pilates on water on a shaky board? Count me in!
Once I arrived in London Liverpool Street, I took the Central Line to Bank and then the DLR to West Silvertown. Royal Victoria is also a good station on the DLR or if you’re not so afraid as I am you can get the Emirates Cable Car from North Greenwich. WakeUp Docklands is located on the Royal Victoria Beach and once you get there you forget you’re in London (the Thames is a good reminder though).
Introductions and preparations
It was a fitness bloggers crowd, so obviously some networking took place and I met a few girls I only interacted with online so far. Always nice to meet in person! We also met Ruth, our Pilates teacher for the day and Jason, Paddleboarding instructor at WakeUp Docklands. And then the penny dropped. Paddleboarding? The invite mentioned a 45min introduction to paddleboarding, but I only realized what that meant when they gave me a life vest. I was gonna actually learn paddleboarding. For real. On the Thames.
We split in 2 groups of 4, 1 group with Ruth for Pilates and 1 group with Jason for Paddleboarding. Guess what group I was in… Yup. I was terrified. I even considered saying that I want to just stay and watch.
Jason started with a 5 min presentation of the board and the paddle – how to hold it, how to move forwards, how to turn. Then he advanced to the next part – kneeling on the board. And last but not least, the scariest part – standing up on the board.
And then it was our turn. I got up on my board, kneeling, and then started moving forward using the paddle. It was not as bad as I expected! Jason kept us in a safe area of the dock to practice, away from waves (there were water sports happening there!) and wind. He encouraged us to stand up and some did, some didn’t. The best I did was standing up in a low squat, but I didn’t dare standing up completely. I just didn’t feel ready. It was a pleasant experience, even relaxing at times and I would definitely do it again. That hour just flew by! One note though: next time I’m going to stand up because kneeling for an hour killed my feet!
When both groups were done with the first session we had a quick break with snacks and juice from CPress. Thank you, everything was delicious!
And finally Pilates. Started with some cat-cow stretches from the all fours position, which I think it’s the most stable on the board. And then things got increasingly difficult. Bird dogs, the hundreds, exercises laying on the side, reverse crunches, side planks, some back work – a really good pilates workout but on a moving platform. At the end of the class my obliques were on fire. Yes, it is hard. But it’s also good fun and a good workout!
I had to stand up for some exercises, but it seemed much easier than during the paddleboarding class. In this case I knew exactly what happens if I fall in – I’m gonna get wet and then get over it. The boards are tied to the dock so they’re not going anywhere, just moving around a bit due to the waves. And the water is just 1m deep and pretty warm. But I didn’t fall in, the weather was gorgeous anyway, I was completely dry by the time I reached the DLR station.
I always make myself go to events and classes even if they are far or I’m not in the mood for anything. Why go? Because I always enjoy myself. Because I meet people. Because some opportunities arise just because I’m there.
It was a great afternoon – thanks Ruth, WakeUp Docklands and CPressJuice! And if you’re in London and want to try SUP Pilates, contact Ruth and go have fun! And if you have a taste for water sports, have a look at what WakeUp Docklands has to offer.
- Tuesdays 6pm-7pm
- Wednesdays 6.30-7.30pm
Also, have a look at Jason’s @urbanrecovery, an ethical watersports coaching, training and holiday experience company. They specialise in Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boarding, surfing, kiteboarding and snowkiting lessons, tours and adventure holidays.
Did you try Paddleboarding or SUP Pilates? How was it?