As a water lover myself, I can totally appreciate the urge, the need almost for people to find their own passion sport in the water in whatever capacity that may be. Diving has always been my most treasured hobby but with it came an introduction into a variety of other water sports. Paddle boarding, kayaking, hydro speeding, rafting, surfing, to name a few. I recently met up with a center that offer a huge range of in and on water activities to newbies looking for an adventure. The super thing about this is that with an introduction into one sport, often come more introductions into others. Finding your fins as some divers call it is about starting to feel comfortable in the water and enjoying spending time in it. Sometimes people need a push to help them give things a go to get started.
One of the ways I had heard about Lee Valley White Water Centre was via Dive Force Marine in Enfield. Meeting up with them on one of their regular pool nights got me chatting to some of the club members who rated the Lee Valley facility as exceptional and local to them. They explained that their passion and motivation to contribute positively to the local community through water sports was something the community was proud of and valued. A diverse, inclusive and accessible leisure provider for all to enjoy. I have written various articles about this because I have always believed that everyone should have access to the water in a safe way. With help and support it is completely doable and a must for individuals to experience the thrill of being in the water and having fun.
As a lady that lives by the coast I also took completely for granted the free access I have to water. Midland areas don’t necessarily have the same access and so centers like Lee Valley are vital facilities. On a previous visit I met several young people who had never actually been to the seaside or seen a real ocean but were motivated too after finding a love of a sport that Lee Valley offered. This was an incredible connection and I thought back to the people who had been ocean motivators in my life. We talked about other local facilities like ‘The Wave’ in Bristol. A place to learn to surf.
With an incentive to create, healthier and happier communities these guys work hard at boosting wellbeing through water activities. This is a concept that I could really relate to after finding scuba diving calm, relaxing and therapeutic as well as an activity that contributed to a healthier lifestyle.
Lee Valley has been described as a green lung of London, Essex and Hertfordshire. The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority is responsible for the 26-mile-long, 10’000 acre park with its huge variety of green spaces and ecologically vital wildlife havens. The Water sports center is nestled neatly in the middle providing a stunning area to play in.
The learning and engagement opportunities that the center offers are delivered by people with a real drive to enthuse others. The instructors I met were skilled, really interesting and fun to talk too and had a drive to share their sport. They made us feel safe on the day and really tailored the activities to our ability. They explained not only what we were going to do on the day but why we were doing it. What the dangers were in the water and how to manage risks. There was of course an element of anxiety when you take on a new experience but we felt secure and looked after by obvious professionals.
The cross over between water sports communities is not as big as you might think. As a diver I have the same worries and concerns about cleaner oceans and water ways for examples as surfers do. Not too long ago we attended a Surfers Against Sewage Protest to demonstrate our solidarity and shared passion for change. Poor quality ocean health, plastics and declines in marine life are worries we all have and quite rightly should have. The instructors I met on the day shared the same concerns. We discussed ways to connect with the water and how to access safe water environments.
The biggest benefit of Lee Valley for me was seeing it as a place that was mood boosting, wellness regulating and a workout and fitness promoter. Things we could all use more of. I can’t rate the center enough and was incredibly welcomed on the visit. We will 100% go back!