Things to do

Paddle Boarding with SUP in a Bag

Founded in 2015, SUP in a Bag takes you on an unforgettable adventure. Suitable for all ages whether you're a beginner or seasoned water-dweller, all experiences are perfectly tailored for the ultimate day on the water.

Shrouded in mist, Porthallow took on an ethereal quality. A gentle haze wrapped itself around the bay, hiding what lay beyond like the corners of a photograph. Favoured with glassy waters, calm enveloped the morning and as we looked out to sea our excitement grew – this was a perfect day to go paddle boarding.

Accompanied by Amanda Leonard of SUP in a Bag, we were about to take our first plunge into the world of paddle boarding, although this wasn’t intended to be as literal as it transpired. Consisting of a seasoned surfer and two people who had never set foot on a paddleboard before, we pretty much covered all bases. Talking as one of the two novices, I can see why the idea of trying to balance on an oversized ironing-board surrounded by water may not seem overly appealing, but I happily declare: it was so much fun.

Paddle Boarding | Porthallow | SUP in a BagPaddle Boarding | Porthallow | SUP in a Bag

To introduce ourselves gently to the water, we were guided by Amanda into the shallow water and, once on our boards, started paddling around in a kneeling position. As we began feeling a bit more confident, we were then encouraged to try standing up and paddling. At this point, Amanda’s ability to make you feel totally at ease and the buoyancy of the boards can instil in you what is commonly referred to as “overconfidence”, or “cockiness”.

Once this has taken its grip, you start to play around with the board, manoeuvring your feet with nifty footwork to challenge your abilities. Seeing the world as you’ve never seen it before, you triumphantly dig your paddle into the water and, pleased, become more daring with your choreography. You whip your body around to look behind you, hoping that someone else is sharing your victory, and then suddenly the board wobbles. You frown as you fight to restore balance, but the board is having none of it. You struggle vainly for a few seconds until, in one fell swoop, the board leaps away from you and you are hurled gracelessly into the water. Momentarily immersed, you burst back to the surface and grinning from ear to ear, jump straight back on the board to do it all again.

Demonstrating how to fall off a paddle board | Porthallow

Playing around was as much fun as exploring, but that said, we couldn’t wait to see the Cornish coastline from a whole new perspective. Once we’d got comfortable, Amanda led us from Porthallow around Nare Head, in a direction towards Falmouth. We dipped in and out of little coves and explored rocks and small caves, and were all totally absorbed by the beautiful scenery. Even though the day wasn’t particularly sunny, the mist made for incredibly atmospheric conditions and highlighted that you don’t need blue skies to get outside.

Exploring | Paddle BoardingClassic Cottages staff enjoying the views

It’s surprising how much there is to see; from the clear water to the unique rock forms and geography of the coastline. There is also an abundance of wildlife, so if you can tear your gaze away from the mesmeric underwater world below, cast an eye towards the shores and cliffs teaming with life. I would definitely recommend a minimum of two hours out on the water, as the time absolutely flies by.

Horizon bound | Paddle Boarding | SUP in a Bag

Although they remained elusive for us, apparently seals and dolphins sometimes join in on the fun which would have made the experience even more magical. Regardless, as we sat on a small shingle beach to enjoy a half-time snack, we couldn’t have wished for more. Paddle boarding is a great way to get people together and reconnect with the beauty of Cornwall. There was no pressure to do anything we weren’t comfortable with, and Amanda made sure we were all looked after and having fun – although there wasn’t much worry to about.

If you’re looking to try out a new way of getting onto the big blue, paddle boarding is a brilliant option; anybody can do it and you don’t have to be put off by lack of experience. Whether you’re on holiday or live nearby, give it a go and immerse yourself in nature. 

Homeward to Porthallow

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