Landlocked but inspired…
Greetings again from beautiful, land-locked San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, in Mexico!
So here I remain still and to be honest, I’m loving it!
Even though the nearest beach is well over 1,000 kilometers away on either side, my time here, away from the water, has provided the motivation and inspiration I needed to become even more involved in any and all action water sports activities that come my way.
If you have been reading some of my posts lately, you probably have noticed a pattern developing. My articles have recently centered around self-development skills and big wave riding and how, when put together, can create deep impactful transformation.
But it is by no means the only way.
SUP paddle boarding…for real!
I’m an advocate of big wave riding because I simply freakin’ love it! And I hope you have come to learn and love a bit about it too.
However, SUP boarding is also catching on as one of the most transformational water sports activities in the world. And though there are many ways you can practice this fun sport, following are the three most popular SUP paddle board activities for you to try:
- SUP Surfing
- SUP Yoga
- SUP Trekking
SUP surfing is pretty self-explanatory and the link here should give you plenty of history and interesting facts about its origins and variations.
SUP Yoga, well, suffice to say that Yoga on its own is an incredibly challenging and meditational experience, which also can result in amazing physical benefits: flexibility, balance and lean, strong muscles when practiced regularly. Now, practice all that on a moving surfboard and you get the idea why so many yoga enthusiasts are making this their go-to class over other Yoga styles.
I have no ocean where I live.
I also have no patience or interest in doing Eagle or Downward-Facing Dog on land, much less on a wobbly surfboard.
Would I try it sometime down the line? Maybe. For now, though, if I were to give SUP boarding a try, it would be for exploring lakes and river ways…
If you have never heard of Sian (pronounced “Shan”), it’s ok. I had never heard of her or her incredible journey until about a week ago. I was looking for inspiration for my next article. So far, most of my articles have been about surfing. But lately, I had ignored ocean conservancy, a medular topic of Surfsentinel.
It’s a bit embarrassing, really, since my tagline announces my site as “Surfsentinel is an advocate for ocean conservancy”. It sort of looks cool there, but the truth is I’ve only published a couple of articles about ocean conservancy: this very one and another article about plastic waste. Pretty lame production, right? I know.
As I began to do my research for my last post on single-use disposable plastics, I came uppon Sian’s SUP board adventure. It caught my imagination so definitively, I shared her epic journey on Twitter the very moment I finished reading about it.
Right, so here it is.
Sian Skyes is from Anglesey, Wales. She is professional SUP boarding instructor. She owns a business (pyschedpaddleboarding.com) teaching others how to get about on the boards and offering water safaris around the island. She is also a conservationist campaigner.
Committing to Mother Earth…
Sian decided to circumnavigate Wales through its long and winding river systems and canals, alone, using only her outdoors expertise and SUP board as a means of transport. The route she took was along the Welsh border. She eventually ended up on the Severn Estuary, where she followed the coast, finally reaching her home, back in Anglesey.
This expedition was a 1000 km journey around wales, and it took two months. That alone could stand as an incredible adventure.
But here is the really amazing part:
Along the way, Sian collected single-use disposable plastic to dispose of when she arrived in towns along the riverside, sharing her story with the inhabitants, promoting plastic waste reduction and environmental awareness.
Now THAT is having absolute clarity and commitment to one’s mission.
Her historical navigation was completely weather dependent. And all along, her mission remained unshaken: pick up as much plastic as possible and bring marine litter reduction and environmental awareness to anyone who would listen.
When asked during a BBC interview as to what she finds so magical about Stand Up Paddleboarding, this is what she expressed enthusiastically:
“You have a bird’s-eye view. You see jellyfish float past you, fish leaping out of the water, porpoise darting about, birds flying overhead and inquisitive seals can come up to you”
“It’s a wonderful way to reconnect with nature, and to go on a journey and explore areas you would never see on foot.”
But it’s not all about the natural beauty. She goes on to add:
“I see a lot of marine litter washed up on our beaches. It is a massive problem – and we need to make a change”.
“I’m going to highlight that on my trip, from showing from inland out to the sea – plastic pollution.”
To further raise awareness about single-use plastic disposal, Sian also used non-disposable plastic herself. Her food and nutrition needs were another challenge she had to face since she is vegan. Her menu consisted mainly of quinoa and dehydrated vegetables.
As if that was not enough, Sian will also had to deal with the following tricky spots along the way:
- Tidal races along the Welsh coastline.
- Busy shipping channels, harbors.
- The second fastest flow in the world.
- Wild camping.
- Being totally self-reliant.
…sugar and spice and everything nice.
It blows my mind every time whenever women’s strength and resilience are put into question by clodding misogynists.
Sian Sykes is one of many women who is setting the record straight.
Her commitment, courage, and passion for our planet’s health, both in and out of the water, is undeniable and universal.
Sian’s views on marine and environmental conservancy are inspirational and, hopefully, far-reaching. Her actions truly speak louder than words.
Has anyone inspired you lately to take environmental action of any kind? How about recycling, composting, single-use plastic disposal?
Can you think in ways you can impact your awareness towards marine life and ocean conservancy, perhaps not to the extent that Sian Sykes has demonstrated to the world, but maybe, on a smaller, more personal level?
What would that be?
Please share your thoughts in the comment box below. I would love to read your ideas and share them with other Sentinels around the world. We can always learn and share new ways to protect our fragile planet.
Thanks for reading and talk soon!