Why is paddle boarding good for the soul?

Paddle boarding at sunset in kent

7th May 2021

Whether it’s a wild and free paddle on a damp moody day, a hardcore workout to challenge my body or a relaxing paddle to reset and restore my mind, I always come off the water buzzing from my paddle. When someone asks me, “why do you paddle board?” and I reply, “because it makes me happy”, I realise that it’s quite hard to put this feeling into words. So, I’ve been doing some thinking, and here are my thoughts on why paddle boarding is good for the soul.

I’m sure you have heard about the benefits of green space, especially in urban centres and how important this is for your wellbeing – an area that has been heavily researched. As more research is being produced about blue space (areas of water), it’s not surprising that being near blue space takes this to a new level. Our green and blue space has become even more precious to us when lockdowns limited our access to enjoy it when we wanted.

Who else loves blue space?

BlueHealth, who are researching the effect of blue space across 18 countries, report there are three pathways in which the presence of water is positively related to health, wellbeing and happiness.

  • Firstly, this relates to the effects of less polluted air and more sunlight on our body (well hello vitamin D!)
  • Secondly, being close to water increases physical activity (and we know the knock-on effects of a healthy body on the mind and the endorphins that are released, especially exercising outside.)
  • Thirdly, water has a psychologically restorative effect. Spending time in and around water has consistently shown to induce positive moods and reduce stress, even more so than green space.

And that is just being near water. As paddle boarders we are lucky enough to be on it, which in my opinion takes this up a notch. How blooming amazing.

But for me, that doesn’t cover everything.

 So, what is it about paddle boarding?

Personally, paddle boarding is good for my soul because of the freedom it gives me. And by freedom, I mean the freedom to exercise in a way to meet my needs and mood – whether that be a fast-paced high cadence paddle or a relaxed and slow chilled paddle.

It is good for my soul because it has helped me be more independent, introduced me to amazing like-minded people to paddle with, build friendships and share positive social interactions, and it has given me time on my own when I need to reflect, gain perspective and restore.

Paddle boarding has introduced me to some amazing places on my doorstep, given me new memorable experiences, different perspectives on urban and rural areas from the water, introduced me to more nature and wildlife than I have ever been surrounded by in the UK (I have seen more seals in the last year than friends I think).

And not to get too geeky on you, but a 2016 study of the effects of stand up paddle boarding showed a positive correlation between the sport and self-rated quality of life (as well as improving fitness and core strength). One in four people experience a mental health condition in their lives (and that was pre-covid), and access to natural environments is being more  recognised formally than ever before. In fact, paddle boarding is now being socially prescribed by doctors and healthcare workers because it can improve your quality of life– how amazing is that!

How can we make your soul happy here at the Paddle Cabin?

Here are at the Paddle Cabin, wellbeing is core to our purpose, to bring joy and the feel-good factor in everything we do. We bring this to life through our monthly SUP yoga and monthly SUP meditation sessions, campfire social paddles and SUP Pups sessions so come and join us!

We can help you take action in all of the five ways to wellbeing at the Paddle Cabin through:

  • Connecting with like-minded people through our community.
  • Learning and building skills through our club nights and sessions.
  • Being active on the water through our events and on the water.
  • Giving, through our charity partnerships and litter picks.
  • Taking notice of what is around you on the water and being present.

Through our partnership with West Kent Mind, you can also get involved to raise funds and access local services to help you if you are struggling with your mental health and need some support.

Since paddle boarding entered by life in 2017, I can wholeheartedly say it has given me an amazing life that makes my soul happy. Now I have stopped to reflect, it might take me a little longer to answer the question next time someone asks me “why do you paddle board?”

So, next time you jump on your board, stop to think about what it is about paddle boarding that makes your soul happy.

Happy paddling!


Find out more about Paddle Cabin and how you join the paddle boarding way of life. 

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