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How I SUP: How Paddleboarding Changed My Life.

Jenny Buckley |

An Interview with Jo Moseley

At 52, Jo decided to take charge of her health and wellbeing. A knee injury limited her exercise choices, so she decided on paddleboarding. We spoke to her about how SUP has impacted her life and her wellness journey.

Why at 52 did you decide to take up paddleboarding?!

September 25th 2016 was the day I had my first paddleboard lesson in the Lake District. I had injured my knee in January and was trying to build up my strength again.

To exercise, I thought I was limited to just walking. Then I heard that SUP was great for your core, balance & something I could do on the water with low impact on my knee. The minute I stood up on a board I was hooked. I felt calm, uplifted, energised & confident. Having been in such pain with my knee for months, I felt like Wonder Woman on the board. I couldn’t stop smiling!

You also talk about SUP having an impact on your mental health…

Yes, it has had a huge impact! One of the hardest aspects of the menopause for me has been increased anxiety. I’ve always been a worrier but this was off the scale – 0 to meltdown in 10 seconds. I was on the cusp of tears for months if not years.

Paddleboarding has helped me find a place where I feel calmer & more confident. Being on any body of water (sea, river, lake or canal) slows down my racing mind and leaves me feeling much less stressed. Another challenge has been sleeping and SUP definitely helps me with that. After being out on the water I sleep much more soundly.

There are more obvious benefits for the menopause – keeping muscle mass & looking after my heart by exercising. Carrying my 12ft board ‘Grace’ – to the beach or around locks on a canal is quite a workout too!

You recently paddled 162 miles along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, how did you train for that?

When I launched my #PaddleboardTheNorth for The Wave Project & 2MinuteBeachClean, I was still having problems with my frozen shoulder. It was “unfreezing” so I thought it would be fine by the end of July. I also had plantar fasciitis (damage to the connective tissue running between the heel and toes) which meant running was really painful. 

To build up my fitness I went to spin classes at the gym & also cycled outside in the sunshine at weekends. I went to kettlebells classes and yoga too. The yoga really helped with my flexibility and it was very handy when I needed to lie on my front to swoosh under the low swing bridges & then jump back up again! 

I teach aquafit in the evenings so that helped my fitness. I also paddle boarded on the sea and reservoir near my home as well as the canals to build up my confidence, endurance & strength.

How else has paddleboarding impacted your life?

I’m a single Mum & I didn’t want my sons to worry that I would come home from work & be lonely now they have left home.

One of the reasons I set myself the coast to coast challenge of paddling 162 miles from Liverpool to Goole last year was so I had a dream to pull me to the future and to the new chapter in my life.

The adventure itself was amazing and showed me that I was stronger, braver and more confident than I thought I was.

New opportunities

The things that have happened as a result have been equally as joyful: I’ve spoken at Kendal Mountain Film Festival with FINDRA outdoor clothing, been invited to talk at Love Her Wild weekend, several Women’s Institute evenings and Menopause, Midlife & Wellbeing events. I’ve been asked to write about the challenge for different adventure communities and been featured in magazines & newspapers as well as even being on the telly! 

The fundraising for The Wave Project & 2MinuteBeachClean litter picking A stations has helped me make new friends too. 

I made a #OneMinuteAdventures film for the Four Seasons Film Festival about the joy of paddleboarding, which features Grace my 12 ft board. The film is called Found at Sea and will be screened for the first time in London in March which will be a “pinch me” moment! 

We are also making a film about #PaddleboardTheNorth which we will release this year. 

So, all in all, it has been a brilliant way to create lots of exciting experiences and give me a new sense of direction and purpose alongside my lovely day job and aqua fit teaching. 

And of course, there is the absolute joy of going out on the canal or sea and paddleboarding and then doing my #2minutebeachclean. I always have that to look forward to! 

SUP Love

SUP really has been a bit of a life-changing hobby for me! I’m so grateful for all the support Bluefin SUP has given me to help make these dreams come true.

Paddleboarding has given me so much – joy, friendship, adventure, purpose and a sense of achievement, it helps me sleep, feel stronger and calmer. Above all, I think it has gifted me gratitude and an appreciation of how very fortunate I am to be 55 and able to do all these wonderful things & be in nature so fully. I never take that for granted.

Follow Jo

If you want to follow Jo in her paddling exploits, you can, here.