Shilpa in her own words:
“I'm a British Indian gal who is about to hit 60 and feel that I am really only just starting to explore the wonderful joy of outdoor adventures.
I am happiest when I'm on the water on my paddle board, or cycling along a canal, or walking in the beautiful English countryside, or body boarding in Cornwall.
I leaned to swim in my late 40’s and this just opened up a whole new world of paddle sports.
My biggest personal adventure was this summer (2022) when I paddle boarded on a SUP board from London to Nottinghamshire, some 165 miles (and 144 locks) along the vertical length of the amazing Grand Union Canal.
This was such a joyful journey and revealed so much about myself that I had not been aware of - particularly how much I love to meet new people and how caring and kind strangers are.
Since then I have been exploring SUP journeys where I carry my camping kit on my SUP board and I absolutely love doing this.
I am extremely grateful to British Canoeing who accepted me as a #ShePaddles Ambassador and this really helped me to go out of my comfort zone and explore new adventures.”
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Who is Shilpa
More about her friends and family
What Shilpa was like as a little girl
Growing up in Africa until 8 years old
Moving to the UK and the culture shock
Finding a different type of entertainment
Not having dreams or aspirations as a young girl
Leaving school to study economics and accounting at University
Retraining as a town planner
Getting back into the outdoors and sports
Meeting up with friends to go for walks in the local area
Setting up a local walking group which has been going for over 20 years
Building up her walking gear and kit
Learning to swim in her late 40s
Not having the opportunities when she was younger
Learning how to cycle
Going to adult only swimming classes to get coaching
Doing wild swimming for the first time
Getting into kayaking and water sports
Her first experience on a paddle board
Why she prefers paddle boarding
Her adventure in Summer 2022
Becoming a British Canoeing #ShePaddles Ambassador
Wanting to encourage more women to try water sports
Deciding to do a long distance trip on the Grand Union Canal
Knowing it was the right time to do the challenge
Being honest with herself of what she could and couldn’t do
Doing it at her pace
The planning and preparation for the journey
Researching the route and figuring out distances and accommodation
The Pirate Castle - boating and outdoor activities charity on the Regent's Canal in the heart of Camden Town, London
Struggling with her back and recovering from injury
Being helped and supported along the way
The kindness of strangers and when strangers become friends
Joining a gym and working out with a personal trainer
Focusing on getting strong
Dealing with injury
Reflecting back on the journey
Feeling more confident
Plans for 2023
Learning new skills and becoming qualified as a coach
Becoming a She Paddles Club
How to connect with Shilpa
Final words of advice - “you'll never know if you love it or not until you try it”
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