SUPs or Stand Up Paddleboards are an increasingly popular form of water sports. They’re a cost-effective and easy option for those wanting to dip their toes into water-based sports, so here’s a myth-busting guide to using them and other inflatable water vessels.
Read on to discover how easy SUPs can be…
Watersports are becoming ever more popular in recent years as people rediscover their love of nature, try more adventurous things and strive for more social activities. One survey estimated more than 7.6 million people had tried kayaking, canoeing or paddleboarding in 2021 alone!
Stand Up Paddleboarding is one of the top 10 water sports and water-based activities in the Cotswold Water Park, so why not check it out?
What is Paddleboarding?
Paddleboarding is one of the easier water sports you can learn to do. It’s like surfing as there’s a large board you stand on, but that’s where the similarities end.
Instead of using coastal water and your legs to create movement, paddleboarding uses a paddle for momentum, making it a slower, lower-impact sport. The slower pace allows for more socialising, more observation of the world around you and creates an atmosphere of peace.
You can choose a solid paddleboard made of fibreglass or an inflatable PVC one.
What equipment do you need for Paddleboarding?
To get started paddleboarding, you need:
- A board with an ankle, calf or waist leash (depending on the water you’ll be on)
- A paddle
- Some swimming gear
- Your phone in a waterproof pouch
- A buoyancy aid.
With all this, you’ll be safe, secure and able to call for help if needed.
Not much can go wrong with Stand Up Paddleboarding if you have all the right kit and follow the rules – you may just get a bit wet if you fall!
Having the correct kit makes a huge difference. For example, your first SUP should be the right size and shape to help you keep your balance and stay stable. Consider the length and width of the board compared to your body, is the end tapered or squared off? Does the board look in good condition?
Consider all this when choosing your board and prepare for anything. If you’re hiring one for an hour or two on a day out, the company should provide everything for you, but if you’re going it alone, make sure you have the essentials as well as a dry pack and any quick repair items you may need too.
So, is Paddleboarding hard?
No. It’s one of the easiest forms of water sports and takes little time to learn. It’s kind of like riding a bike as it’s all about stability and momentum, but it won’t hurt when you fall off into the water:
- Choose a stable and decent beginner board
- Choose a calm, non-coastal water destination
- Start on your knees to gauge how to be stable
- Then focus on standing up in the centre of the SUP with feet shoulder width apart until you feel secure on the board
- Use the paddle to gain momentum.
If you stay in the centre of your board, have a strong stance, and don’t lock your knees, you’ll be ok. Just make sure to follow the rules, be cautious and be confident.
The hardest part is probably turning or slowing down. The easiest way for a beginner is to submerge the paddle head and push it backwards. This will also turn your board, so be aware of everything around you when trying this. A more advanced option is to create drag by sinking the back of the board a bit, but perhaps that’s a bit much for the newcomers!
Places to Paddleboard in the Cotswolds
The Cotswold Water Park is the best place to try new water sports and explore the local area. With nearly 200 lakes featuring wildlife, water sports and more on offer, there’s something for everyone and loads of opportunities to try paddleboarding.
For new paddlers, consider a local paddleboard hire company that will have everything you need and offer guidance in the area. For those bringing their own boards, make sure you only use them in permitted areas and gain permission, as the lakes are all privately owned.
Paddleboarding and water sports aren’t the only things you can do though. Why not make a weekend of it with your family by sampling the wonderful food, trying outdoor adventures like archery and the great cycle trails, and exploring the local towns? It’s a great place to get away from it all and immerse yourself in nature, adventure, and stunning scenery.
In summary, paddleboarding is a fun, sociable, and easy entry into water sports. Plus, it’s incredibly safe and quick to pick up. So, pop on your life jacket, be brave, and take a step into the water – you’ll be gliding in no time.