I’d seen it more than a decade ago in Barbados. I remember it vividly. I was at one of my favourite hidden beaches in a family holiday, when a young couple, super-fit and active, turned up with a little baby.
The female placed the baby at the front of a paddleboard, back before SUP became a well-known thing, and off she went. Her partner was on his own board. They had no life jackets or safety provisions. But they were obviously extremely able and proficient.
I watched, mesmerised, for ages, as they paddled off into the distant sea, to my total disbelief. The baby remained still and appeared to be so well-trained. I’d never seen or heard anything quite like it then, as an impressionable young girl.
As someone who never dreamed of having children, little did I know I’d one day have my own baby girl.
Here we are, on an island off the coast of Mozambique. She is now 16 months old. And as soon as I found out that the private island hotel we are staying at had paddle boards, these memories flashed up again.
Determined, I set her up with an infant life jacket, showed her what would happen on dry land and off we went. It was incredible.
She remained still and intact waved bye bye to anyone she saw o land on the beach. She loved the experience, pointing at shells, the sun and even a passing dugong! It was as though she innately knew she had to sit still for her safety.
It may not seem like much. But after seeing what I did as a younger girl, I was so impressed, it felt enriching and liberating to take my baby out on my own paddleboard.
She cried when I removed her and set off further into the deep blue on my own. It’s set then, I’m sure she will take to it like a natural, soon!
I’d love to hear how sporty and adventurous you are with your babies / little ones. At what age have you started them with outdoor activities and which activities?