SUP 60 MARATHON
21st November 2021
Some of our What’Sup Paddlers will be attempting to paddle from the City to Coast on the 21st November in order to raise awareness and funds for Movember, a leading charity changing the face of men’s health and The What’Sup group.
SUP 60 PADDLE
27th November 2021
We are looking for as many people of all genders to join us for a paddle to represent that every 60 seconds globally a man takes his own life. Our fathers, partners, brothers and friends are facing a health crisis, yet it’s rarely talked about. Men are dying too young. We can’t afford to stay silent.
JOINING US ON THE DAY
What does this mean to us?
Hi I’m Chris, I’m a Movember Ambassador and the founder of The What’SUP Group. I started our men’s stand up paddleboard sessions to give me a sense of fulfillment and affiliation, in a time when I was struggling physically and mentally.
I have spent my whole life playing in sports teams, but due to injury and family commitments I haven’t been able to commit to a team for a long time.
I run and cycle alot but due to an ankle injury, I had also neglected that. Throw in a pandemic, a second child on the way and career identity issues, and I was really starting to crumble mentally. Anxiety was affecting everything I did. I was short tempered, angry, bitter and feeling guilty about things that I shouldn’t have been.
My work with Movember has always highlighted to me that there are other men in similar situations as I was. I needed to give myself designated time to reflect on my thoughts and try to regulate my emotions. I have found that floating on the river, slowing down and talking to other guys, has really helped me focus on what is important and has given me a chance to make new friends, who I would otherwise have never met.
All I really want to do is be a good dad, husband, brother, son and friend. I hope The What’SUP Group and the SUP60 Challenge can support others to do the same.
For me, I get on board with raising awareness of Movember as I know first-hand the negative impact not taking care of your Mental Health can have.
I know how easy it is to keep my emotions to myself, therefore I want to encourage others to open up and be honest about how they are feeling.
To get out in the fresh air, be given the opportunity of a safe space and allow men the time to talk.
We all have been impacted by mental health difficulties and prostate cancer, whether it is someone we directly know or friends of friends or family. I’m no different. I’m fundraising for Movember this year not only to support my mates who are fundraising with me, but to continue the work we have started with What’SUP, advocating for men, getting men talking to each other positively and building support mechanisms. I’m a husband, a dad, a headteacher, life is busy, make time for yourself, talk, and exercise.
For me, ‘Stand up for 60’ is people coming together for a cause everyone can relate to. Life throws us curve balls from time to time and I’m passionate about creating environments where people feel supported to talk about what they’re going through. As a teenager, I went through the experience of losing a parent and put up an emotional barrier, as many men do in tough times. Once I began to talk about it, I began to realise the power of sharing my experience with others and I was able to fully grieve. Now, I want to give back to others, and have some fun along the way! What better way to surrender to our feelings than with the natural flow of the water, having some laughs on paddleboards along the way. I hope that this event can encourage others to support everything Movember charity stands for, raising as much as possible for the cause.
Individual Identity is ever changing and sometimes understanding where you fit into this fast moving world can be hard. Add work stress, family drama and money worries, sometimes it can all be a little overwhelming. The moment I float on my board away from the solid ground everything becomes a little clearer and easier to work through.
I have always struggled with my mental health. Kids, Marriage, Divorce and trying to understand my sexuality always fills my brain with thoughts, some of which can be too hard to understand. Being on the water with other people, chatting , and listening is a great way to put some of this into perspective.
Being part of the What’sup group and an advocate for mental health, whilst at the same time looking after your physical wellbeing has become a passion of mine. Encouraging others to invest time in them, reminds me to practice what I preach.