Blackwater Paddle

The Blackwater Adventure - Jon and B venture out onto Helena’s waters What a fantastic day to be on the water! It would be rude not to wouldn’t it! Helena said “we’re going out on the Black Water” We said “what time?” High tide was set to be 2pm so were hurried to get our kit together, rallied the girls “mum do we have to?” “yes!, you don’t get days like this that often and we’ll be getting an ice-cream on route!” “yeay” said Lottie “come on Katie!” We got stuck in road works, picked up the boards from Alton Water and an hour later we were there at Blackwater Sailing Club. The girls had grabbed a quick cap nap on route and after a sandwich and a change into wetsuits, we were ready for the off. The sun shone warmth on our black rubber suits and there was no wind! Absolutely none! We were due to meet Helena and Linda around the island, they’d gone clockwise so we set off, anticlock to meet them. Katie settled on the front of my red race elite and Lottie was charged with her own red 9’6” and followed on with Jon. We soon spotted that classic paddler silhouette on the distance and sure enough as we got closer, confirmed it was the girls. The tide was still filling the estuary so we headed off down towards Malden for the ice-cream stop. We weaved around racing yachts and they navigated passed us with spinnakers fully hoisted with jolly colours. Watched by interested dog walkers and other day boat trippers we paddled along catching up with our paddling stories and those too of other paddlers not with us for the trip. The touring boat sped past a number of times, (apparently always speeding to get more trippers in a day) it didn’t phase us, the swell proved fun to ride and it’s always good to get some wash over your deck. It’s also quite good for training if you drag some weeds on your fin, there was none of that today, though Katie did offer an alternative by dragging here crocs in the water on each side of the board! Thanks Katie! We had sent out a text to Annie as she’s also local, sure enough she soon appeared coming towards us from Malden. “Hi, I was going to stop for and ice-cream” “ that’s where we’re heading” “ok, sounds good” (funny how ladies and ice-cream have such a harmonious relationship!) Jon and Lottie got a little left behind at this point. In true Jon styli, he was practicing his pivot turns, interval speed training, step back turns around all the buoys and of course taking photos, “look at all those flight trails in the sky!” (check the snaps)Malden was heaving with people walking the prom, and watching us of course, in the hope that they might see one of us fall in! We’re all too cool for that so we may have disappointed a few onlookers. Ice-creams went down rather well with us girls! Katie had here “Mr Whoppy” with a flake so she was happy with that! “We haven’t go long!” Helena announced. I was not quite sure exactly what she was suggesting at first. My naivety was apparent at this point. For I was just at the early stages of enjoyment with my Feast lolly and was in no hurry to get going again at that stage. “I’ll take the children and one of your boards back to the Club in our van if you like, as you’ll need to get a hurry on” said Annie. It was done and within a few mins the board and the children were ready for pick up. It was at that point that I realised the reason for the urgency! Within just a short period of time our launch spot was looking very different with our boards sitting high and dry on MUD! Not just any mud! I stood holding Jon’s Lolly and watched Helena and Linda wade in with gusto into it! Into the thick of it, up their boots, up their ankles, over their boots! They were wading for a good 5yrds before eventually slopping onto their boards! It was a sight and I had to smile! Not for long for I knew I was about to have to do the same in front of lots of Sunday afternoon onlookers! So I looked around and chose my spot to launch. Apparently they do the infamous MUD RUN here! I soon understood why. One step, two step…… oh …. Yep I was stuck.. still with flip-flops attached to my feet, they were stuck too! I had to resort to pulling them out with my hands eventually. This mud was thick, black and very, very sticky! So this is why they name the river Blackwater! After a rather clumsy and squelchy launch followed by a sitting start that enabled me to rub off some excess mud before standing, I eventually took to my feet for the homeward journey. With the tide taking us back, it was not a struggle, but a pleasant leisurely journey. I love paddle boarding, I love venturing into unknown territories out on the waters of the east and days like today are part of what it’s all about. This sport offers so much. Last weekend we were hosting the first Paddle boarding race in Suffolk and Suffolk Sup’s ‘Suptember’ race day resulted in 30 paddlers on the start line. There was a buzz and people came from far and wide. Today we shared just a few hours with friends having a leisurely fun time on the river. Thank you paddle boarders for sharing the fun! Long may it last! B’ Suffolk Sup