Words: Scott McGlashan, Founder
Pics: cenemagazine.co.uk and Scott McGlashan
Daddyboards was born from a love of the water. It originally started as a blog to document my travels and adventures. My family – me (Scott), partner, Louise and children Holly and Joe – have regularly been making trips in our campervan for paddle board and surfing adventures, from the south west tip of Cornwall to the beautiful and rugged landscapes of Scotland. I have been involved in the Kent SUP scene for many years, and whilst I’m often found paddling in and around Kent, I’m most at home in the surf.
I started my working life as a carpenter before moving into social work eight years ago. Having worked in residential care settings with vulnerable young people and now in holistic family support, I saw there was an opportunity to bring the world of family support/social work and water sports together. It was then that my blog, Daddyboards, grew to its current focus on handmade balance trainers (made by yours truly) and paddle board tuition across Kent.
The balance trainers started off as a way for me to satisfy the desire of surf in flat spells or land locked days. They help to develop skills, stamina and target specific muscle groups for snowboarding, skating and paddle boarding, all in the comfort of your home. In addition to this, the boards are versatile enough to be incorporated into home and gym workouts. The benefit of balance training is well documented and is often recommended for the rehabilitation of injury to joints, muscles and tendons. Balancing on our trainer targets not only the key muscles in any given exercise, but also the supporting muscles and tendons surrounding it. This can help stabilise joints and build core stability, strengthening and conditioning holistically.
We are able to offer balance trainers that can be fully customised – we can tailor colours, graphics, size and shape for you. We are also constantly innovating new products into our range, including our unique surf inspired balance trainers.
Alongside building balance trainers, I deliver paddle boarding tuition across Kent. The lessons are unique and engaging, and through my experience in social work I incorporate ways to support young people, families and adults through various teaching techniques and formats.
In my current role, I often come across young people who cannot manage to engage in mainstream education. This can be due to facing adversity in their childhood or having a medical diagnosis such as ADHD or physical impairments. I have seen first-hand the gap and need for tailored, engaging education that differs from the norm. Using some of the strategies I’ve learnt over the years, I aim to create an inclusive learning experience in our paddleboard lessons where all types of learning styles are considered. We use different techniques, but above all else, the lessons are adapted to the learners in a fun and engaging way.
I have written and created various support packages in my time as a social work manager, from co-parenting courses to social anxiety groups. One of my passions is supporting people experiencing difficulties and ways to help them cope. This can include building awareness of causes of behaviour and positive strategies to manage them.
It is apparent that whilst therapy for these families is effective, services are vastly under resourced and the waiting lists only seem to get longer. This can often be compounded through self-medication, and drug and alcohol misuse. The long-term impact can be severe, and children who have experienced adversity are recognised to have effects on their health and behaviour for their entire life. These individuals are in fact more likely to experience heart disease, COPD and type 2 diabetes, obesity, low resilience and worklessness.
I would argue that every single person has experienced stressful situations in their childhood. How these experiences were dealt with can shape your personality and how you relate to others and the world around them. Unhealthy coping mechanisms can often result in social exclusion, poor resilience and mental health issues. The increase in awareness of mental health in society and in the news is a huge positive step, however this needs to be matched with an increase in services and support.
I have long felt the therapeutic effects of sports and exercise and it is well documented to improve emotional wellbeing. This fact remains at the heart of Daddyboards and our aim to support people to build resilience and improve their wellbeing through our activities. When surfing, the feeling of the rhythmic pulsing of the swell and being truly connected with nature is incomparable and meditative. You really have to be in the moment, and that gives a break from worries and toxic thoughts, and allows the stress to float away.
It is a goal of ours to bring accessible therapeutic support to local communities. Ultimately, we would like to offer inclusive lessons for people with physical impairments and learning needs, therapeutic lessons for rehabilitating adults, and family therapy sessions to improve family dynamics. Although we offer mobile tuition we have been fortunate enough to work with a supportive venue (Leybourne Lake Watersports Centre, Kent) who are keen to support our activities. We couldn’t be more grateful to have this backing for our goals. They also have a great setup in a stunning location – well worth checking out!
The Wave Project
We can’t wait to get started and look forward to reaching out to organisations that are doing fantastic work with young people already and that we admire, such as The Wave Project. The next step is to create our inclusive lesson package which we aim to launch in the summer of 2020 with local community groups. Following this we aim to work with a rehabilitation service for adults with drug or alcohol issues to create a therapeutic intervention to aid recovery in the later part of 2020. Watch this space!
For now, we continue to offer high quality paddle boarding lessons, and courses including SUP surfing and open water paddle boarding. Whilst our company is still in its infancy, it’s been an exciting time. Notably, it was great to have been featured recently in a documentary with some other members of the SUP community made by Cene Magazine. The response so far has been so positive and it reminds me that this support is of true need. We look forward to seeing you out on the water.