I’ve always wondered what the big craze with Paddle Boarding was about. Surely, a canoe could take you further and in more comfort? None-the-less, I was intrigued and when on holiday at Lake Como, Italy last year, Tom and I decided to give it a try. Bellagio sat across the water from where we were staying, nestled into the cliffs of the main peninsula (responsible for creating the ‘Y’ shape of Lake Como). It was here that we would try it out. As we wound our way deeper and deeper through cobbled streets of Bellagio (up and down a lot) we finally came to a quaint little harbour on the far side of the main town (and opposite side of the peninsula), which is where we would be boarding from.
We waited our turn on the scorching hot stone steps that led down to the water’s edge, surrounded by happy chatter, boards, kayaks, sailing boats and the nattering of birds.
This day was a testament to how well P20 works, as I burn very easily. So to be out on the water in the midday heat could’ve ended very badly but after two hours of constant sun and multiple falls, I did not burn at all. Just make sure you give the lotion time to settle (approx. 10-15 mins) before you get in the water.
When the time came for us to get on our boards I suddenly found I was really nervous. The boards themselves were much more unstable than I’d imagined and I decided to stick to paddling on my knees to start with. I think I had a mental block on standing up, remembering the one and only time I’d tried surfing and been completely incapable of hauling my body into a standing position. Having been before Tom was soon on his feet and it took a couple of threats from him to come and knock me into the lake to make me finally attempt to stand.
I eventually managed it – when we were long clear of the harbour and away from any laughing eyes. Curling my toes under I rather comically thrust my bum in the air, into some odd kind of downward dog, and slowly slowly slowly inched my way up to a standing position. I’m glad there’s no photo evidence of this ungainly stance. I’ve never seen my knees physically knock before. There was a full on jive going on in my legs and I was absolutely powerless to stop it, which did nothing to help my balance. At that particular moment – my moment of success – a boat passed and although giving us a wide berth the wake came straight for me. Toppling straight into the water, I lost my paddle and got a mouthful of water mid-screech. It was inevitable really…
This fall was my breath-through moment.
The lake wasn’t cold and the board was really easy to clamber back onto. There had obviously been some kind of fear about falling in that had made my body behave so oddly. With the worst behind me, I found that my knees knocked no longer and my balance seemed to have decided to come back. From this moment on, I started to really understand what all the fuss was about. Looping back round to the tip of the peninsula we sat on our boards and admired our surroundings. I wish the GoPro had been able to pick up all the beautiful details of the mountains in the distance and the many small towns dotted around the lake.
Would I go again?
Absolutely! It was a brilliant experience hosted by helpful and friendly people. Plus, we’d never have found our way through the beautiful streets of Bellagio if we’d not gone searching for paddle boarding. I’m keen to try it out on home waters this coming summer. I shall let you know how I get on with the colder, choppier waters of the UK!
If you’re thinking of going, we used this company. Go and check their site out for more images of the lake and what you can do there.