Get involved with paddleboarding – also known as Stand Up Paddleboarding – one of the fastest growing water sports in the UK.
Get to know paddleboarding
The paddleboard is specially designed to be stood on with a fin at one end and a velcro strap to be attached onto the paddlers ankle. The paddler uses a paddle to move themselves through the water, taking strokes from one side of the board to the other.
Paddleboarding has become so popular in the UK because it’s easy to get started and fun for paddlers of all ages and abilities. It is a great way to explore the vast stretch of waterways that the UK offers, whilst exercising in the fresh air.
Top Tips Before You Go On The Water
1. Use a leash
Using a leash whether you’re a beginner or more experienced gives you a higher level of safety on the water. The leash should be as long as, or shorter than, the length of your board.
2. Wear the right gear
Making sure you are wearing the right clothes is key before you get onto the water. It is important to wear clothes that you are comfortable wearing if they get wet andthat won’t restrictyour movement.
3. Choose the right location for your skills level
Depending on your experience as a paddleboarder, you should choose a stretch of water that matches your ability. To begin with, choose waterways when you can easily reach the bank, and which are not too deep or subject to fast currents. It‘s best to go out with an instructor or a group if you are a beginner or not a confident swimmer.
4. Know what to do if you fall in
To make sure you’re safe, it is best to practice what to do if you fall into the water with a instructor. This will give you reassurance and knowledge of what to do should you fall in, which you probably will, sooner or later.
5. Check the wind direction the day you’re out
Whilst standing on a paddleboard, it is much harder to take a stroke when the wind is particularly strong. If you are a beginner, check the wind strength and direction before venturing out on the water. Some waterways can be particularly exposed, and harder for you to remain stable, in a gust of wind.
6. Know the rules of the waterways
When travelling along the rivers and canals stick to the right hand side and pass other boats port to port (i.e., your left hand side next to their left hand side). Boats coming downstream on rivers have the right of way.
7. Learn the correct technique
Once you start paddling get onto your board via your knees. Once you have got your balance, stand up and engage your core.
Look straight ahead in the direction you’re going; don’t look at your feet as this will make you lose your balance.
Don’t grip your paddle handle too firmly as this will tire out your arms and doesn’t improve your paddling.
8. Looking after your paddleboard
Looking after your paddle board is an important part of the experience. Cleaning your board with fresh water after each outing will make sure you are getting rid of any salt or dirt on the fin and handle. It will also help prevent them from smelling and rusting over time, and stop you transferring invasive species from one waterway to another.
It is best to buy a paddle board bag for your board. This will help keep it free from scratches and damage when transporting it.
On most inland waterways you must register or license any boat, including small unpowered craft, with the navigation authority responsible for the waterway you intend to use. Navigation authorities typically offer licences for different time periods, often from as little as one day, through to a full year.
Membership of some canoeing, rowing and sailing organisations includes a licence for access to some waterways.
It is always a good idea to try before you buy, especially if you wish to invest in a brand new paddleboard. It is worth hiring a paddleboard first to know you enjoy the activity, or finding a second hand board and paddle.
Wear clothes that you are comfortable getting wet in, and that don’t restrict your movement. Unless you are a confident swimmer, we recommend wearing a life jacket whilst paddleboarding in water that you can’t safely stand up in. A good quality life jacket will keep you afloat the right way up, enabling you to breathe, even if you knock yourself out.
You can take your paddleboard along canals, rivers and lakes in the UK. Many inland waterways are calm and suited to beginners and those interested in leisurely paddleboarding. If you are a more experienced and confident paddleboarder, the UK has some beautiful coasts too.
On most inland waterways you must register or license a paddleboard with the navigation authority responsible for the waterway you intend to use. Navigation authorities typically offer licences for different time periods, often from as little as one day, through to a full year. Membership of some canoeing, rowing and sailing organisations includes a licence for access to some waterways.
Britain's waterways are vital; together we can campaign for them now and for the future.
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