04 February 2018

An interview with David Partridge from Nowhere2far Stand Up Paddle Boarding

I first met David when I was on a surf trip last autumn in Lagos, Portugal. At heart I’m more of a SUP’er than a surfer, and was keen to get out on a board, which is how I met David. During my 1 week, I managed to cram in two river SUPs, a sunrise & sunset. So, was delighted when David, with a little bit of help from his lovely wife Holly agreed to be interviewed for Country Bumpkin Chic.

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to David Partridge….

Hello, and thanks for the intro. I’m the founder and Chief Instructor of a brand new SUP experience called Nowhere2far Stand Up Paddle Boarding, based in Lagos, south western Algarve, Portugal.
That sounds very exciting David and I look forward to finding out more. Before we kick off, can you give us a brief-ish history on how you ended up in Portugal?

My wife, Holly and I stumbled across this unique corner of Europe, quite by accident. In 2013, the two of us set off from Holly’s home in Cornwall, UK and cycled more than 26,000 kms, across the world to Australia, my home country. The journey was truly epic and awe-inspiring.

However, the ultimate challenge still lay ahead of us in choosing a place to throw down the anchor! In actual fact, we looked at the world atlas and weighed up every possibility from Reykjavik, Iceland to the Cambodian islands. There was one consistent theme occurring, we were still seeking an adventure!

A family friend had founded a surf school here some years ago, so we gave him a call to ask what to expect. It didn’t take much to sell it to us, 4 days later we stepped off the train at Lagos and have not looked back since. Of course, being an Aussie, I have many more stories I can share with you, but you’ll have to join me on a tour for the best of them!

And I can confirm, you have some very interesting stories. So, how did you get into SUPing?

I began Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Jervis Bay, Australia and immediately realised the versatility and potential that ‘SUP’ has to offer. I’ve previously trained at an elite level in athletics and was impressed at the fitness benefits that could be gained from Stand Up Paddle Boarding without a great deal of experience. More to the point, we had so much fun as we were able to make our way around the bays, paddle upriver amongst the mangroves and try surfing some small waves. We even had stingrays skating under our boards at one point. Both Holly and I saw immediately the potential to strap a dry bag on the deck and once again, start exploring from a whole new perspective.  

So, tell us more about your new business venture Nowwhere2far Stand Up Paddleboarding.

Nowhere2far Stand Up Paddle Boarding introduces you to the world of SUP while exploring breath-taking scenery in the Algarve, Portugal. We’re perfectly located between two vastly different, yet extraordinary coastlines in the south-west of the Algarve, affording us the unique opportunity to paddle at several exciting locations. We’re focused on encouraging everyone of every age and ability to join in the fun and see for yourself how versatile and accessible Stand Up Paddle Boarding can be.

I’m an ASI qualified Stand Up Paddle Board instructor with extensive experience in coaching both fitness and SUP. Every tour is tailored for you, offering instruction for absolute beginners, right the way through to wave-riding and paddle techniques for advanced paddlers. I also offer bespoke private tours for the ultimate experience.

Here are some of the exciting tours to choose from:

Sunrise SUP discovering hidden caves and grottoes at Ponta da Piedade, Lagos.

Full-day River Tour at a stunning location in the Vicentine Coast Natural Park. Including a fun introduction to wave-riding at the mouth of the river and lunch on a spectacular beach.

Sunset on the Lake. The ultimate way to calm your mind as we explore the pockets and inlets of this peaceful landscape, as the sun falls away on another perfect day.

And if all of this has you hooked, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination, we’ll just keep going. That’s the beauty of SUP.. Nowhere is too far.   

What boards will you be using for 2018?

We’re super excited to have just received a brand new fleet of Red Paddle Co, inflatable SUPs, unquestionably, the world’s leading manufacturer of inflatable stand up paddle boards, with patented technologies that put this brand ahead of the game. The fleet includes a range of board sizes, which I’ll be able to talk you through the basic features of a stand up paddle board and choose the optimal board for your level of experience.  

That’s great news, and does it matter if you’ve never SUPed before?

No matter your age, ability, or experience, Stand Up Paddle Boarding is a great water activity to try for the first time. Before we launch, I’ll give a demo on the beach and answer any questions. Our Red Paddle Co boards have been meticulously chosen to accommodate both beginners and advancing paddlers. The boards are stable, rigid and responsive, so straight away you’ll be off to a good start.  

One of the most significant factors in determining your first-time success will be weather conditions. Learning in smooth water with minimal wind is optimal, so I will always keep an eye on wind conditions and choose the best location to get you started. Once you’re afloat, you’ll be surprised how quickly you adjust (with a few deep breaths maybe!) and before you know it, you’ll be so distracted by the striking scenery, that you’ll be putting in perfect paddle strokes and balancing nicely on the board. Once you’ve grasped the basics, I’ll be right alongside you to help improve your paddle technique and build your confidence.    

Amazing, so when would you advise people to visit Portugal for a SUP holiday?

With over 300 days of sunshine a year, the Algarve is ideal for Stand-Up Paddle Boarding all year round. However, when it comes to the time of day, we’ll do our absolute best to persuade you that a sunrise SUP discovering the caves and grottos of Ponta da Piedade, is an experience not to miss. Be sure to bring sun protection all year round!

Tell us more about SUPing in Portugal?

With the Atlantic Ocean rolling in from the west, Portugal is firmly on the map when it comes to world-class surfing. But do not let this phase you. Move inland and you’ll discover unspoilt lakes, winding rivers and tranquil landscapes that will take you back in time. Not only that, as you escape to the southern Algarvian coastline, most of the bays and inlets are protected from the western swells, enabling us to get out and paddle amongst the spectacularly sculpted sandstone cliffs and explore the magical caves and grottos.  

And I’m going to say it again - if you want to be the first ones to break the glassy water, prepare to peel yourselves out of bed just before the crack of dawn and launch from the beach just as the first glimpse of warm Mediterranean sun saturates the vibrant rock formations. Disappearing into caves and under archways, right at the moment where the sun is low enough to flood the way, is an unforgettable experience and something I believe will inspire you long beyond your paddle boarding adventure.  

And where’s the best place to stay if people want to come to Portugal for a SUP adventure?

As part of our service, we can pick-up and drop-off our paddlers from locations within 15 km’s of Lagos, or on route to our launch location. There is accommodation to suit everyone’s requirements here. From tipi’s and tree houses to surf lodges and private villas. For further information, shoot us an email and we will always be happy to help.

What else is there to do in Portugal?

If you love everything outdoors, the Algarve is your adventure playground. With phenomenal coastline and pristine beaches to explore, this is a paradise for walking, biking, and watersports. There are also superb mountain bike trails that pass through local Portuguese villages, vineyards and authentic eateries, or if you would prefer to take it a bit easier, there are several companies offering 4x4 guided tours to favourite spots like Cabo Sao Vincent (the most south westerly point of Europe) and Monchique (the highest point in the Algarve). 

Golfing and tennis are hugely popular across the Algarve and if you really have your wits about you, then the Skydiving centre in Alvor is recognised as one of the best drop zones in the world! In between all of this action, everyone must try the local eats like a Portuguese ‘Pastel de Nata’ (a custard tart on another level), Monchique black pig (Porco Preto Iberico), Bacalhau (essentially a dish derived from salted, dried codfish. Love it or hate it, Bacalhau is something of a national obsession in Portugal) and a unique Portuguese wine called Vinho Verde, which means ‘green wine’.

What’s the best way to get in contact with you?
Follow us on Instagram: Nowhere2farSUP
Facebook: Nowhere2far Stand Up Paddle Boarding
For bookings and information:
Email: Nowhere2far@gmail.com
Or phone: +351 914 737 288/ +351 910 313 426  (both are available on What’s App).

Thanks, David and Holly, your passion for SUPing is infectious and I hope its inspired my readers to think about booking their flights to the Algarve for what would be a fun adventure in the sun. I wish you both all the best for 2018 and look forward to seeing you on a board soon!

28 January 2018

An interview with Claire Williamson from Sea Legs Cartoons

I started following @sealegscartoon on Instagram before Christmas and admired the fun surfboard cartoons, they can't fail to make you smile and think of catching fun waves in the sunshine. So, I invited the artist behind the cartoons, Claire Williamson, to appear on Country Bumpkin Chic.

Hi! My name’s Claire Williamson and I’m the illustrator/cartoonist behind the surf cartoon Sea Legs Cartoon

Hi Claire & welcome to Country Bumpkin Chic. Where in the world are you based?
I’m lucky enough to spend my time between charming Vienna, Austria and beautiful Dunsborough, Australia.

Oh wow, that sounds idyllic, so how did you get into sketching cartoons?
By total accident :D Although I’m always constantly drawing/painting/doodling/etc. I never had any intention of committing myself to a cartoon or even a specific drawing style. It was all just play. I drew and doodled Fin and his pals for yeeeears, before having the courage to show people outside my family. My family loved them! My friends loved them! But for some reason (hello shyness!), I never put much thought into sharing them publicly until I started playing around with Instagram a few years ago. I had random blogs and accounts, and one day I thought… What if I share these cartoons I draw?

And they’re fab designs, tell us a bit more about the story behind Fin.
Fin and his friends were born the day I saw Thomas Campbell’s movie ‘The Seedling’. In one scene, the camera follows a surfer walking with his board under his arm and, to me, the shadows that were created look like the surfboard had legs and was walking itself. My brain found that amusing and I immediately started drawing surfboards with legs. Fin became a fish pretty quickly as those are my favourite boards.

So, are you a surfer or super? And where are your favourite spots?
I SUP whenever I get the chance...so Spring/Summer here in Vienna, along the Danube River. As far as surfing goes, I am a total beginner :D  I grew up in a very beach/surfing oriented family, but as a kid, I was much more interested in art than sports, so I never progressed. As an adult, I learn more whenever I get the chance, but as I live in a landlocked city most of the time, I again have not progressed very far. Drawing Sea Legs is my way of staying connected with that part of myself until I’m back in the water. My favourite place to learn, to date, has definitely been Wategos beach in Byron Bay, Australia. I dream of getting back there… maybe this will be the year!

Image courtesy of www.ytravelblog.com
Do you own a board?
Yes, the first board I ever bought was a blue fish with thick rails and a ridiculous amount of buoyancy. It was so hard to duck dive! I chose to sell it when my trip around Australia ended and I decided to travel around Europe, just for the sake of travelling light. But I regret that decision every so often as I am a bit of a romantic and the thought of keeping your first board seems really sweet. Luckily, my brother is a professional surfboard shaper (@awol_custom) so I just borrow boards from him whenever I’m visiting. Now that I think of it though, I bet if I ask nicely, he would make me a pretty close replica...perhaps a bit easier to duck dive  ;)

What's your top tips for anyone wanting to get into drawing cartoons?
Just draw! All the time, whenever you can, with whatever you have. The more you draw, the faster you will develop characters, a storyline, and a style. You’ll learn what you love to draw and what you don’t like to draw (hands! ah!). I recommend spending any money you have for cartooning on pens… the paper isn’t important until you want to make prints, but bad pens can really take the fun out of drawing pretty quickly. As for gathering ideas, just look around you and find some way to record whatever strikes you as funny or odd.  You may be able to fit it into your cartoon later.

And where do you get your inspiration from?
Oh man, everywhere; surf blogs/magazines/movies, my family. I have tons of pieces of paper, notebooks and notes on my phone, filled with random jokes, incomplete Sea Leg cartoons, phrases I read or overheard that I would like to turn into a joke, things I find amusing, etc.

Who do you follow on Instagram?
There are so many amazing artists out there, but to name a few:
@piaopfermann: great illustrator and super sweet person :)
@jamesredmaynewriter: his ‘TheSurfing Animals Alphabet’ book is so cool!
@lizzyartwork: I love her sweet, feminine style, and colour palette.

So, what’s next for Sea Legs?
An online shop with prints, stickers, annnnd hopefully shirts/tote bags/etc! I’m mega stoked and can not wait to open the virtual doors :)))

Where can we find out more about Sea Legs?
For more Sea Legs, please feel free to check out my website: sealegssmile.com and sign up for the newsletter. You’ll be first in the know when the shop opens and see new cartoons before anyone else!

Huge thank you to Becky for this interview! I’m so flattered and had a great time answering your questions :)) 

Well, thank you, Claire for inspiring us through a very grey January! Stay tuned for more interviews on Country Bumpkin Chic.

21 January 2018

My Top 5 Insta Pages

For anyone who follows me will know I have a wide range of hobbies & eclectic tastes. So, it’s no surprise that some of my favourite Instagram pages are a bit left field. But why be dull I say, variety is the spice of life?

Anyhow, here are a few which are making me smile in a very grey January.

Sea Legs @sealegscartoon
I first spotted Sea Legs on @surfgirlmag it’s fun little surf wave based cartoons based on a surfboard enjoying life with his mates. For surf chicas & chicos, it can’t help but make you smile & dream about heading off in search of the perfect wave.

Celeste Barber @celestebarber
If you’re in need of a proper belly laugh, follow @celestebarber. Celeste is an Australian actor, comedian and all-round funny lady. Basically, she re-enacts perfect model/celebrity shots or videos with her own tongue & cheek interpretation. Watch her videos, you can’t help but chuckle.

Judy Andrews @spoonfulsugarco

I met the very funky designer Judy from A Spoonful of Sugar & Co last summer at Blogtacular. By day she works as a graphic designer in the same industry as me & runs her own business. Judy's creations focus on bright & bold typography across cool stationery, pins, jewellery etc all with a positive feel-good vibe.

Charlie - @therunnebeans
If you’re looking for a female running inspiration check out Charlie Watson from @therunnerbeans for a true down to earth account of the highs and lows of running. She’s also aiming to run her fastest ever marathon in London this year, so give her a follow and some encouragement.

Gaping Void @gapingvoid
Flipping over to the corporate world of insta pages @GapingVoid brings workplace culture stories to life in the form of daily cartoon/sketches. Based in America their posts are usually the first thing I see in the morning and are very relatable to office life.

What are your current favourite Instagram pages? I’m always on the lookout for inspiring, upbeat pages – pop them in the comments box below.