© Baie de Somme, Big stand up paddle | CRTC Hauts-de-France - Nicolas Bryant

Big stand‑up paddle fun with your friends

Does the sound of surfing “big stand-up paddle” style with friends at Fort-Mahon interest you? Hang on, what is “big stand-up paddle”? Well, it’s stand-up paddle (SUP) but better: imagine a really long, stable board that has space for 10 people. A good workout is guaranteed as you breathe in the healthy air and spontaneous laughter pulls everyone together. And what’s more, Fort-Mahon has something else up its sleeve: it’s at the end of the world!

Northern France _ Bay of Somme _ paddle © CRTC Hauts-de-France - Nicolas BryantNorthern France _ Bay of Somme _ paddle © CRTC Hauts-de-France - Nicolas Bryant
©Northern France, Bay of Somme, paddle|CRTC Hauts-de-France - Nicolas Bryant

Mega-SUP (giant paddleboard!)  ̶  perfect for bonding with buddies

The beach stretches endlessly, as does the horizon. Look out to sea – the nearest land is Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, the French archipelago south of Newfoundland more than 4000km away. Your supportive instructor will meet you and immediately put everyone at ease. There’s no need to have been born with a board under your feet or to have a supernatural sense of balance to stay up! It’s a good-natured atmosphere and nobody is judged on their ability. Your first bursts of laughter will probably come with the donning of wetsuits – you’re already getting fit! Some final advice from the instructor and you’ll launch the inflatable board into the water.

The first team objective is climbing aboard, with a member of the team helping you on. Quickly it’s time for the second objective: passing the “shore break” – waves that break onto the beach – as you paddle out from a kneeling position. The stability of this machine as it glides is quite something. By now it’ll be getting warm under your suit and the effort is paying off – you can already feel your muscles working as you inhale the refreshing sea spray.

Challenge yourself

But there’s more to come – surfers describe an almost ecstatic state when catching a wave, the ride bringing a sense of floating that’s as much mental as physical. It’s a moment suspended in time, a rush of endorphins creating a natural form of stress relief. As you head away from the beach, working well as a team, you see the first wave to surf “frontside”. It’s time to ride this rollercoaster. On the wave, the paddleboard descends, full of acceleration, fast and straight, and everyone is taken by surprise. With your hair in your eyes, it’s down to you to manage speed and direction. Your sense of elation is complete, seasoned with a taste of salt in the mouth. Back on the beach, you are both chilled and euphoric, your body relaxed by the exercise.

Local's tip

Celine Delahaye, expert sur la côte picardeCeline Delahaye, expert sur la côte picarde
Birdwatching at the Hâble d'Ault nature reserve

 

Whatever the time of year, Hâble d’Ault nature reserve stops you in your tracks with its everchanging light and colour, compelling you to contemplate the wonder of the surroundings and respect the sense of wild and unspoilt nature. Nestling in the lowlands between Ault and Cayeux-sur-Mer, and protected by an embankment of shingle, this birdwatcher’s paradise is punctuated by observation posts to shelter you from the gaze of the native northern France seabirds and ensure that you don’t disturb them. Don’t forget that this is also home to native Henson horses, who love to be stroked! As a way to step out of the stresses and strains of everyday life, you really can’t beat it.

Céline Delahaye knows the best ways to explore Ault and its magnificent cliffs
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Useful Info

Address

555 Avenue de la Plage

F-80120 FORT-MAHON

Contact

Tel: +33(0)3 22 23 36 00

www.fort-mahon-plage-tourisme.com

Address

Boulevard Pouget

F-62520 LE TOUQUET-PARIS-PLAGE

Contact

Tel: +33 (0)6 02 39 01 25

 

Address

rue des flobarts

F-62179 WISSANT

Contact

Tel: +33(0)6 68 98 58 05

www.ecolekitesurfwissant.fr

Address

Quai Géry Legrand

F-59000 LILLE

Contact

Tel: +33(0)6 08 25 74 91