TURNING DREAMS IN TO REALITY

I've always been that "cliche" child that used to spend more hours in, on, or under the water. The real love affair with the sea came from my many happy holidays as a child to Puerto de Pollenca, Mallorca. This is the story of how I turned my dreams in to reality some 40 years later.

Back then of course, inflatable paddle boards were more commonly known by their "70's" name - the common "Lilo"! Early attempts at mounting these contraptions proved successful, and with many hours of practice - at the grand old of 5, I became the undisputed heavy weight of the oceans - destined for Olympic glory. Have I also mentioned that I am an only child with a vivid imagination?

Lilo'ing circa 1980

Throughout my life I have tried my hand at pretty much every board sport and water sport! Waterskiing, windsurfing, jetski's, surfing, swimming, snow boarding and of course - PADDLE BOARDING!!! I literally eat, breathe and sleep the sea. I have always lived close to water. It has a magical draw for me. These places have included Mexico, The Canary Islands, Devon, Cornwall, Brighton and now I am fortunate enough to live in my spiritual home - Mallorca.

I have a work hard - play hard mentality. However, four years ago, things changed for me. Completely out of the blue, I was hit with the news that no one wants to hear. I was diagnosed with blood cancer. Just like that - my "everything" was taken away from me. Cancer is not conducive to a life on the ocean waves. It takes everything from you. Your dignity, your energy, your self belief your independence and for me - worst of all - the ocean, Open water is not the friend of a compromised immune system. So I swapped the Big Sea for the "BIG C" and documented my journey in my blog Girl Sunshine  Three years of gruelling treatment gave me time to re-assess my life goals, priorities and ambitions. Health has become a priority. As has lifestyle and life choices.

The ocean played a huge part in my recovery- both physically and mentally. This has been largely down to paddle boarding. Having struggled with my physical recovery and in particular my mental health, I purchased a SUP board and proceeded to spend as much time on the sea as I could. From this point onwards my health improved dramatically. My strength returned and my mental health greatly improved, due to the mindfullness that you experience when you connect with the sea.

I wanted to pass on my passion and knowledge to others that may be struggling with physical or mental problems - or that just wanted to learn this graceful sport. And in return I felt this gave me a platform to give back to the ocean by helping to protect it through education and citizen science.

In 2017 I qualified as a paddle board instructor and have now shared my ocean philosophy with many others, who now paddle, swim, beach clean or simply enjoy time by the sea nurturing their souls as a direct result.

"What a wonderful 2 hours that was. Great fun. Great lesson. When the person teaching you has such a passion for their subject it is passed on to the pupils. Hannah you were great"

Nicki F

Omg!! Had the best time with Hannah! It was my first ever class and Hannah is just the best teacher you can ever have! Can’t recommend enough to learn this beautiful sport from her ☺️ Sea, here I come with lots of confidence 👍🏻 Thank you so much and can’t wait to paddle with you again soon! Lots of love ♥️ Xx

Merve H

You can read more testimonial here

An idea that came from a dark place has given me back my life and my hope for the future . My passion for the ocean, three years of pain and fear., countless hours and days wondering how I can make a difference, battling the demons within, standing up to the bullies and the doubters which have come from places I least expected - I am grateful to all these things and all of you because you have all helped to shape me and drive me forwards. Call it what you will - A passion? A dream? A calling? A need to pass on something that can create positive change? Well actually, all of the above. 

The best thing is, I have met some truly wonderful people over the years, through my connection with the ocean. If you are one of those people (you all know who you are) who have inspired me, walked by my side, been a friend, paddled, surfed or swam with me - I thank you for enriching my life. And if we have not yet met -  but this story has inspired you to go out and be the change - then I hope that your future is everything you want it to be and more.

“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
― Rob Siltanen

Maluhia a me ke aloha

Hannadora




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