For some years, stand up paddle has been the trendy holiday sport. You stand on a large surfboard, grip the stand up paddle (SUP to the experts) and glide easily over still water or even surf through small waves. At Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie it’s a lot of fun.

Along the coast the sea ripples gently in the marshes and the estuary of the Auzance. It is here in Gachère Harbour that we first tried stand up paddling.

A board, a paddle and calm water, that’s all you need. From La Cabane to la Chabossière, stand up paddle combines the joys of snowboarding with the discovery of a beautiful spot you can only reach by boat.

Kneel down and try to understand how the board will react to each stroke. You'll learn quickly, moving with ease past the oyster creels before trying to stand up. Until recently oyster farmers bred shellfish in the slow tidal waters of the Auzance. Today their equipment acts as a series of waypoints for paddlers.

Whatever you do, don’t bring your smartphone - just enjoy being out in the wild!

You learn quickly enough to really have fun on the water and as soon as you stop worrying and concentrate on the scenery and the fishing boats, the herons and the avocets. It’s a picture postcard, magical at sunset. When the last rays of sun disappear over the horizon, silence is golden, with just the lapping of the water under the board.