Girl Paddler Profile: Zoe Wright (UK)

Welcome to our series of profiles on our Girl Paddlers community!
We have a diverse, global community who all bring something unique to our group.
Let’s get to know them, in their own words…

Zoe Wright Girl Paddler


Meet Girl Paddler – Zoe Wright from the UK! 

GP: Hi Zoe! Please tell us about yourself.

Zoe: Hello, my name is Zoe, I live in the beautiful City of Durham, United Kingdom. I am a 29 year old mum of one with a SUP and a love for finding new places and meeting new people.  

GP: What inspired you to start paddling, and how long have you been paddling?

Zoe: I tried SUP in August 2021 while I was on holiday in the Lake District. I was hooked, bought a board and have been paddling since.

GP: Can you share some of your favorite paddling spots or routes, and why you enjoy them?

Zoe: I am so lucky to have the beautiful River Wear through our Cathedral city, just a couple of minutes from my home (the bankside pub makes this spot a perfect after work paddle!)

We also have the coast around a 30 minute drive away where we can often come across dolphins in the summer months. I have lots of UK travelling planned this year so hopefully can cross some nationwide locations off my list!

GP: How do you typically plan your paddling trips, and what essentials do you always bring with you?

Zoe: Planning, in terms of planning routes etc, I look on forums and speak to fellow paddlers out on the water. Essentials, either a flask or a cold beverage, duck food and depending on if we are stopping for food, my mini stove and sandwich grill!

GP: What benefits have you experienced from paddling, both physically and mentally?

Zoe: The biggest benefit to me in the last 2 years has been mentally. Previously, I had lots that I enjoyed doing outside of my work and ‘mum’ life but I have never been a good one at really actually relaxing. SUP has changed this totally. After a bad day at work or a busy week, even just 20 minutes bobbing on the ocean waves or a float along the local river, my troubles seem to melt away!

GP: How has paddling influenced your relationship with nature, and what do you appreciate most about being out on the water?

Zoe: I love nature and being outside and this has extended that love to the water. I have always been a lover of a swim but there’s something about the relaxation, the sound of the water that just brings it all together.

GP: What advice would you give to someone who is new to paddling and looking to get started?

Zoe: Go for it!! But please be safe! Take a little time to learn about the sport. Take a lesson or two to learn the basics and always wear a buoyancy aid & in colder waters, a wetsuit too!

GP: Can you describe a particularly memorable or meaningful experience you’ve had while paddling?

Zoe: Sunrise and sunset paddles are the most lovely. Watching the sun come up while you’re sitting on the water, be it the gentle morning waves or the glass-like, calm river or lake. The tranquility with a cup of tea can set you up for the day.

GP: How has your approach to paddling changed over time, and what have you learned from your experiences?

Zoe: As a beginner, I was quite naive to a lot of the things that people don’t really think about. River depths and currents, on shore and off shore winds at the coast, wind speeds in general, other water users and the etiquette on the water, buoyancy aid/life jacket etc. I have learned that no one ever knows everything and though the weather looks good, water levels, currents and other factors can change the course of a little paddle!

GP: Can you share any upcoming paddling adventures or goals you have in mind, and what you are most looking forward to about them?

Zoe: I’m yet to do a multi day paddle trip, once I upgrade my board to a bigger one this year, that will definitely be on the cards! I am also looking forward to the summer to getting my little boy back on the board again. We had such fun last year together.

GP: Is there anything else you’d like to share? Maybe let us know what you think is missing in the world of paddling for women?What are some of the challenges you have in your paddling journey?

Zoe: I wouldn’t say I’ve experienced challenges as such. 99% of the fellow paddlers I have met have been so supportive, helpful and willing to share advice, places to paddle and so forth. Paddling can be enjoyed by anyone. The group which I paddle with has people of all ages and fitness levels with different paddling aims. Some are heading for competitive paddling, some just like a paddle and a dip after work. Enjoy it, but please be safe. X

GP: Thank you Zoe. We have loved hearing your story! If you have any questions or comments for Zoe, leave a comment below!

You can also find Zoe on Instagram @ihaveaboardmeeting and in our Facebook Group: Girl Paddlers

If you’re interested in being profiled on Girl Paddlers, please leave a comment below or email us at [email protected]

If you’re interested in being profiled on Girl Paddlers, please leave a comment below or email us at [email protected]


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