I’m always up for an adventure and trying out something new; which is why a couple of Thursdays ago, on a beautifully sunny evening, I headed down to Hove Lagoon to spend an evening with the guys at Adventure Connections. They’re a Brighton-based events management company that organise stag, hen and corporate events and they’d invited some local press and bloggers down for an evening of fun learning how to paddleboard and try out wakeboarding!
I must admit, I didn’t really look into what either one involved before heading there, otherwise I may well have changed my mind!
Firstly, I had to don a wetsuit (yes, really! Have you ever seen those videos of amateurs trying to fill skins with sausage meat? I honestly felt like that 😀 ) I wasn’t at all prepared as I hadn’t taken a swimming costume, a towel or shower stuff. Weirdly though I had packed a clean pair of pants and socks. Luckily for me, the very lovely Zoe from Juggling with Rollerskates had a spare bikini top and I just wore my pants under the wetsuit. Don’t I look comfortable? 😀
Once I was suitably attired (and then had to “quickly” take everything off again for an emergency wee), I went downstairs to join the others. The guys from Adventure Connections were also joining us and we split into two groups 🙂 I joined the paddleboarding group first and got fitted with a buoyancy aid, ya know, just in case; although I was soon to find out the water was only about three feet deep!
We all pushed our boards into the lagoon and set off for the other side. It was only when I was about quarter of the way across, I realised I had no idea how to stand up! Luckily one of the guys from Hove Lagoon was on hand to give me instructions. I managed to stand up a couple of times but it was a lot more wobbly than I anticipated!! Thankfully someone got a photo of me standing 🙂
We had a couple of games of bulldog (where you have to get from one side to the other and there’s someone in the middle trying to catch everyone), but I stayed firmly sitting down!!
I really liked paddleboarding and would definitely want to try it again, although not in the sea because the lagoon was incredibly calm and it still felt super choppy to me!
We were then asked if any of us wanted to try wakeboarding and I (naïvely) jumped at the chance! I was strapped into the wakeboard by my feet and had to hold onto the handle of the rope that would pull me along!
The idea is that you almost lie on your back in the water with your knees up to your chin and your feet under your bum. When the rope starts to pull you, you unfurl yourself into more of a crouching position and then finally stand upright with your leading foot in front (so you’re sideways on).
I say that like I’m some sort of expert wakeboarder, but I never really got the hang of it. I managed to faceplant the water twice and somehow flip into the water backwards at one point too. This photo was taken just before I completely ungracefully fell into the water.
Halfway across the lagoon, I had to admit defeat and give up. I have a “bit of a fear” of going under the water when I’m not expecting it and I was too panicky to keep trying to master wakeboarding. I’m really glad I gave it a go though 🙂
After drying off, Adventure Connections treated us to a lovely BBQ; complete with burgers and chips!! While sitting down, we got to know a bit more about the company. They’re been running for 17 years now and organise events all across the UK. Through their website, you can organise every aspect of your event; from accomodation to VIP nightclub passes 🙂 And if you wanted to book your own watersport adventure, you can do so here 🙂
At this point, I want to be completely honest with you and say that I felt a little bit let down by the attentiveness of the Hove Lagoon staff. Considering how dangerous these activities could be if anything went wrong, I didn’t really feel like they spent enough time explaining exactly what to do before doing it (for example, we weren’t shown how to stand up on our paddleboards before we got on the water. It was almost assumed that we all knew how!). I was also left to find my own safety equipment and at no point did anyone check to make sure it was done up correctly or the correct fit.
I also feel it necessary to explain that all the staff at Adventure Connections were absolutely lovely though and went above and beyond to make sure we had a great time and I wouldn’t hesitate using them to organise a group activity, I’ll just be picking one that keeps me firmly on dry land. Unsurprisingly, the chocolate-making activity has definitely caught my eye!! Thank you so much guys for inviting me down and letting me try out something new!
Are you a fan of watersports? Would you use a company to book your next adventure to take away the stress of organising it yourself? Let me know in the comments below 🙂 x
*I was invited by Adventure Connections to review their wakeboarding/paddleboarding events but all views, and fear of water, are my own.