Bruce Smith's SUP story is so much more than just a board and a paddle. From County Durham, England we continue our monthly feature sharing stories like Bruce's that shows the power of SUP to transform lives.
After a debilitating ankle injury that would never let him run again, Bruce was at a loss. His ability to compete at an elite level in Ironnmans and ultra marathon distance races was the 'medicine' needed to battle Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and pull him out of a dark place. When he learned he would no longer be able to run, he thankfully found SUP, it continues to be a positive influence on his life and hasn't looked back!
“Little was I to know SUP would save my life.”
1. How long have you paddled?
About 18 months
2. Where do you regularly paddle? and where would you love to paddle one day?
My main paddling locations are the River Tyne , Derwent Reservoir and my favourite beach in front of the stunning Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland. There are so many stunning locations to paddle so it’s hard to pick one but if pushed it would have to be Hawaii. I never got to race there as a triathlete so to paddle there would be something special.
3. How did you get introduced to SUP and why were you interested?
I was trying to recover from ankle surgery when a friend of mine rang me and basically said as you can't run anymore do you want to train on a paddle board with me. I thought it would strengthen my ankle as well as improve my fitness which it did quicker than I could have hoped for.
4. What does Live Love SUP mean to you?
Its become a tag line of my life the three most important things in life, living loving and supping
5.It's More Than Just a Board and a Paddle! Why is this true for you? Can you share how SUP has made a huge impact on your life? Share your Story!
Before I found SUP I competed in ultra distance racing both running and triathlon, including running the marathon des sables and competing in multiple Ironman races. After an operation on my ankle revealed more damage than expected I was told I would never run again, I felt like my world had fallen apart. One of my friends who already paddled rang me to say she had been asked to race for a team. She said as you can't run would you like to train with me? After the first session I was hooked. After a few months my mindset had changed from when can I run again to this is amazing! Over the last 18 months I have met and made so many amazing friends it’s almost like my board and paddle have become who I am
“Training on the SUP brought me back. It gave me a purpose again. When I’m on my board all I have to focus on is my performance and training.”.
6. Has SUP inspired you to share the sport and your story with others? Can you tell us more?
In the beginning of 2018 I helped set up the Northern SUP race team and compete in the N1SCO one design race series as well as other sup races across the uk. We are steadily building in numbers and at the forefront of SUP racing in the north of England. He assists with training programmes, taster sessions as well as motivating and encouraging members.
In addition Bruce, now runs his own business Ironsmith Sports Therapy.
“I want to be able to give what I have found to other people and to give them a shared goal and to benefit from the experience” says Bruce.
7. Do you have any SUPer goals in the future?
The more involved in the sport the more my brain gets excited. I would love to mix my love of ultra racing and SUP to come up with an extreme SUP endurance challenge.
Bruce has also joined Live Love SUP as a Brand Rep and we have welcomed him to the family and can't wait to see him continue to share the SUP stoke with others.
Some parts of this blog post have been re-posted from the article SUP Boarder Mag did with Bruce here.