A chat with Tamara

I’m Tamara, and I live in Australia (Wollongong, NSW). I’m studying a Masters of Counselling right now, and last September as I thought about self-care in a highly emotionally demanding career I realised how important being out on the water was to me. I used to kayak as a child but I put weight on at puberty my father decided that I should lose weight or not kayak anymore. Shame kept me away. I decided shame couldn’t win anymore and took up paddle boarding! 

I love that SUP allows people to enjoy movement, in whatever way they can. Sometimes you sit down, sometimes you kneel, sometimes you stand, and sometimes you dance… and whichever way you get out on the water, it’s perfectly okay. 

I remember the feeling of freedom I had when kayaking in childhood, and the way it felt to paddle away from my worries and fears and pressures. The feeling is exactly the same on a SUP. It’s me, the familiar rhythm of the paddle in the water, slow and steady breathing, and any wildlife around. It’s where I feel most myself, most at peace, and most at home in my body. 

I try to paddle once or twice a week, schedules allowing. There are a few beautiful waterways we can use when the tide is high and others when it’s low. I supplement SUP with yoga to help me stay flexible and keep working on trusting my body. I do love a good run, though…

Being in Australia, our kit doesn’t need to be comprehensively warm. My biggest kit issue was actually around the board itself. I wanted a board that I would feel at ease on, could have my dog on with, and one that would allow me to paddle with kids if I have them. I went with a Red Ride 10’8 in the end. My other kit is a pair of super comfortable board shorts from Young Squad, and I’d love to say a good rashie, but I haven’t found a good one yet so I often go with a bikini covered by a t-shirt and a good sunscreen.

If you’re thinking about trying SUP, you should! Find someone who will teach you the basics and help you build confidence, find waterways that feel safe to you, and take things at a pace that delights your heart – if its a race pace, do it! If it’s a slow paddle, do that. Make SUP something you do for joy, not to shrink your body. You deserve joy.

To find out more about Tamara – check out her instagram @tamara.robson

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