I'm so thrilled to introduce Sarah Blues to you. I discovered her on Instagram after I had shared details about being part of Sport England's This Girl Can campaign and Sarah commented on my post. I was struck immediately by her commitment to support other women who wanted to enjoy paddleboarding safely and comfortably and her #PaddleKitHerWay campaign. Sarah completely embodies one of the themes of the podcast that 'we rise by lifting others.'
Sarah lives in Weymouth, Dorset by the beach. She grew up there and her family life revolved around the sea and the community. Her father was second coxswain on the RNLI Lifeboat and Sarah gig rowed and swam in the sea.
She moved away from Weymouth for university and lived in Hertfordshire for 10 years. Her job is in marketing and communications. She returned to Weymouth just before the 1st lockdown in the UK and took up SUP in summer.
She immediately fell in love with SUP and everything it gave her in terms of confidence and a place to unwind. She first thought it would be a summer sport but loved it so much that she wanted to continue in the winter months.
However, as it got colder, she found it increasingly difficult to find kit that would keep her warm and safe. Most brands only go up to a UK size 16 in women's ranges and as a UK 18 and around 6ft tall, she felt very excluded from the leading brands. They simply didn't have the range she was looking for.
Sarah realised that if she was finding it difficult to get the right kit, then other women would be facing the same problem, but no one was talking about it. She set up her Instagram account @plussizepaddler to share her own story and encourage other women to share theirs. She realised that kit sizing and design was a barrier facing many women who wanted to continue to paddle in the winter months but felt they couldn't.
Rather than give up, Sarah set herself a mission to campaign for kit that fits and works for women over size 16. She shares inspiring stories and is spreading her message in the media. She was recently featured on British Canoeing's channels.
In this wonderful conversation, Sarah also shares how she has learned to enjoy exercise for herself and as a way to look after her body, noticing how she has improved her skills and her achievements. Her confidence has grown and she feels braver.
Sarah also talks about the impact joining a supportive club - the Dorset Race Club - has had on her life since returning to Weymouth, bringing her friendship and focus. This has inspired her to set herself a huge LEJOG SUP challenge in 2021 since recording our episode together.
You can find out more on her Instagram page @plussizepaddler and her website www.plussizepaddler.com.
Thank you for listening! I do hope you enjoyed the podcast. If you have any questions or would like to suggest a guest please get in touch! My email is [email protected] and our Instagram page is @thejoyofsuppodcast_. Follow #thejoyofsuppodcast on Twitter and Instagram too. On Facebook we are TheJoyofSUPPodcast. The website is www.jomoseley.com
Wishing you sunshine and joy, please always put safety first and thank you for joining us. See you again soon, Jo x @thejoyofsuppodcast_