Paddleboarding for lunch - The benefits of getting active at work
At dryrobe, we believe good work-life balance is essential, and we’re always keen to get outdoors after work. Whether it’s heading down the beach to get in the water or hitting the trails in the nearby countryside, getting active outside is how most of us unwind after a busy day. When we heard about an office down in Cornwall where the staff get to go out and paddleboard on their lunch breaks we had to find out more!
Tom Telford is the managing director of 3WhiteHats, a digital marketing agency based in Falmouth. Taking advantage of having an office that backs out onto the water, Tom and his colleagues regularly take advantage of this amazing location to head out there and go stand up paddleboarding during office hours.
We spoke to Tom about the benefits of getting outdoors has on his work, how he got into stand up paddleboarding and his advice for anyone looking to get started in the sport.
You work in a pretty unique location, did this inspire you to get into stand up paddleboarding or have you always been into watersports?
I’m lucky to have been introduced to watersports at a very young age; my parents are both sailors and I was taken on boats as a baby, Mum and Dad sharing the roles whilst one of them held on to me.
That luck hasn’t stopped with our business and the offices we’ve been able to take on has inspired the whole team to get more active in the water. Paddleboarding was an obvious sport for us all to take part in, it’s a great way for people of all abilities to get out and enjoy the water.
What made you decide to start paddleboarding on your lunch break?
Our business thrives on a work-life balance - we have incredible clients globally, managed from our Falmouth Offices, so we expect a lot from our team day to day. However, this doesn’t mean presenteeism and crazy hours. We want people to take lunch breaks, to take some time out from their day to get space from their work. Our team work super-hard, and I think the secret to this is giving yourself the space during the day to Paddleboard, or run, or just read a book for an hour to take time to refresh before settling back into client work.
Where do you usually paddle to?
Being in the inner harbour, we’re pretty spoilt for choice, although my personal favourite is heading over to the beaches at Flushing with a packed lunch! There’s some nice sandy beaches there and they’re usually quiet.
How often do you get out on the water?
The boards at work are used constantly in the summer. I tend to use them a couple of times a week in earnest, but also they make a great tender to get out onto our little day boat, Piscies, which is on a mooring near the office. Then I tow them out and about to explore coves and beaches around Falmouth.
What kind of effect does getting out on your board during the day have on your work?
Getting out before, during or after work is a pretty special privilege for me. My favourite time is actually before work, it’s so much more peaceful in the harbour and often with wind hasn’t filled in, so it’s flat calm. I have been known to paddle a short way, pick up a buoy and just have a little quiet time before the chaos of the day starts.
I think giving yourself space for your thoughts to expand into is so healthy around work - it’s quite the cliché, but that’s inevitably the time you have that eureka moment or the breathing space to be really present when you’re back at work.
Have you inspired anyone else in the office to get out there with you?
Our paddleboards were a thank you to team 3WhiteHats for all their hard work after a particularly busy time a couple of years back. There are obviously the usual paddlers each week, but it’s been very satisfying to see people who perhaps aren’t as experienced on the water get out, boost their confidence, keeping fit and enjoy our surroundings too. It's great for everyone's wellbeing.
Is this something that you only do in the summer or are you able to paddleboard all year round?
We definitely do paddle all year round, but you need a calm day with our boards - they are like barges and when it’s windy they are a handful - which in Cornwall is most days in the winter!! So really the most use is Spring to Autumn.
What advice would you offer for anyone getting into stand up paddleboarding for the first time?
I’d say try it at a local centre - it’s not hard to master, but a little hours lesson to kick off would be the way to get the best out of your time on the water. There are little hints and tips that an experienced Paddleboard instructor can teach you to get things moving.
Don’t be afraid of falling in either, if you pick a big board (say 11ft long) you’ll be surprised how stable they are. I gave my mother in law a lesson recently, it was pretty windy, and she didn’t fall in once - smiles all round!
I’d say if you wanted to get into the sport and buy kit, don’t rush out and buy the most expensive kit. We got ours from a well-known budget sports retailer and they’ve lasted incredibly well and were half the price of the mainstream 'brands’ and just as good. They get a lot of use at our place too.
Unless you are competing or going out in waves, seriously consider inflatable boards. Fixed boards are huge and a pain to transport and store. The inflatable boards are so much more versatile and just as good for cruising around on.
Do you have any tips for anyone looking to get active outdoors during their working hours?
It’s hard to answer this without a smug cliche about just getting out there, so I’ll turn this on its head. A great friend has a saying that always gets me out on those days when motivation is low: you never regret getting out on the water. It’s annoying when you’re resisting, but he’s right - you always come back with a smile on your face and a sense of accomplishment, even on those days where you’d rather crawl back under the duvet!
Photos by Tom Young