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Efficient SUP progression – learn to use the stand up paddle gear you have, well.

If you’re a stand up paddler looking to progress, in whatever discipline you choose, then chances are you already own the applicable SUP kit. The problem with progression, however, can be frustration. Frustration at not moving forwards quick enough; frustration of not getting over that plateau efficiently; frustration at lack of consistency. Often the frustrated stand up paddler in question may put it down to their equipment. It’s an easy trap to fall into with much marketing hype doing the rounds on social media and such. Seeing the next best thing and how that’s ‘guaranteed’ to evolved your stand up paddling is ‘selling the dream’ in the most in your face fashion.

Pics, but more likely videos, of that supposed magical piece of SUP gear in action (often a stand up paddle board) is enough to make anybody salivate. Yet what many forget is the paddler using the kit is probably a gifted athlete, whose job it is to SUP and who gets wet on a daily basis. Basically they’re pro and paid to be one.

But we’re all guilty of being lured by the marketing machine. Pretty soon, believing your next purchase will solve all woes, hard earned cash is leaving your wallet and a new, shiny bit of SUP kit is winging its way to you.

We spoken to enough experienced SUP paddlers in our time and they all concur: you can pretty much achieve a lot with your existing gear. Learning how to use it/ride and paddle it well will put you in a great place for progression. Chopping and changing gear isn’t needed. Racers can podium on their current machine and surfers can carve and slide on their trusty 10fter. Learning the ropes and acquiring those much needed paddle skills is something that should be focused on before swapping out your current SUP equipment for the umpteenth time.

Now don’t get us wrong. We’re not suggesting you shouldn’t upgrade. Of course, if you’ve been riding something aimed squarely at beginners then maybe it’s time for change. What we’re suggesting is NOT part exing and buying new SUP gear every couple of weeks. Believe us when we say we’ve seen this happen a lot with SUP over the years. Instead, get on the horse as often as you possibly can. Get involved with varied conditions, focus on technique and consolidate all that knowledge you acquire. Put it into practice and you’ll be winning.

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Winter weekend SUP warrior tips – nailing it during the off season.

We’ve said in previous posts the onset of winter doesn’t mean the end of stand up paddling – unless you’re truly fair weather. In fact, it can be the best time for SUP. The fly in the ointment, however, is lack of daylight. 2020 aside, due to its unusual play out, as autumn rolls into winter those long evenings of summer become a distant memory. You may be lucky with kids back at school to score some middle hours session time but mostly it’ll be weekend SUP shenanigans you’ll be confined to. Below are a few tips to nailing it.

Plan ahead (as best you can)

Whilst weather forecasts aren’t 100% accurate more than three days out you can still get an indication of what conditions will be like for your weekend of SUP. Knowing your chosen area and how this info can be interpreted for said location will also help. With this knowledge you should be able to make a loose plan. We say loose because things can often change (see next point).

Calender Planner Organization Management Remind Concept

Prepare to change

This is winter and not least the weather can be volatile. As such it’s best to be in a position where changing plans – and even sacking off your SUP session off altogether – isn’t an issue if everything conspires against you. At the very least have a secondary, back up location in mind. This way you’ll avoid disappointment.

Keep warm

Keeping warm shouldn’t need to be said. But this doesn’t apply to just you in the water. This also applies to your little crew. If you’re a family then keep snuggly blankets close to hand, in tandem with warm winter clothes, to help stave off the chill. If you’re lucky enough to own a surf wagon (van) then deck it out for cosy times so those not in the water will remain comfortable.

Keep fuelled and hydrated

Cold zaps strength and with exercise in the mix you’ll become fatigued and dehydrated much quicker than you think. Fuel up on energy giving foods before your SUP session and make sure you drink plenty of fluid before and after.

Wear the right attire

If you’re going to be in the ocean/lake/river then a decent wetsuit will most likely be your chosen piece of SUP wear. Either that or a high quality drysuit. Don’t scrimp here. Get the best you can afford, and from a reputable brand. Don’t underestimate windchill and the evaporative cooling effect of being in the air once you’re out of the drink either. Hanging about outside in a wet wetty is the quickest way to get hypothermia.

Keep your gear in good working order

After every weekend warrior mission check your SUP gear over and make sure any damage or bits needing replacement are sorted. The worst thing is leaving everything in a messy pile that you have to sift through as you’re about to get wet next time. Chances are, the law of sod being what it is, you’ll find something broken just when the stars seem to be aligning.

Know your limits

Winter generally sees Momma Nature dish up more hardcore conditions than you get in summer. If you’re confronted by a scenario you’re just not comfortable with then sack it off and live to paddle another day. There’ll be other chances of SUP we promise.

Finish off weekly tasks in the week

There’s nothing worse than having lingering tasks hanging over your head. As much as possible get up straight with things like work and household chores in the week so your weekend is free and clear. That way you’ll enjoy your paddling time to the maximum.

Stay safe

Just to reiterate the safety point: stay safe if you’re stand up paddling through winter. Enjoy the season but don’t take unnecessary risks. There’s plenty of SUP fun to be had without.

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Ready for the weekend – August Bank Holiday SUPin’s all good (some boards still in stock!)

It’s nearly the weekend – August Bank Holiday weekend 2020 to be precise. Whilst it’s been a strange year in many ways there’s one thing that isn’t changing: everyone loves a Bank Holiday Weekend. And with this one incoming it’ll be no different. On a plus the storms we’ve experienced this week have sloughed off with only remnant conditions left. By and large this’ll disappear as well and come Sunday, broadly speaking, there should be much lighter airs. You may still need to seek a bit of shelter (locally) but we’re pretty confident decent stand up paddle boarding conditions will be found. So it’s definitely worth making the most of it. General weather doesn’t look too bad either, with healthy amounts of sunshine and moderate temperatures.

Here at McConks we’ve had an unprecedented year, as has been spoken about. That said we still have some boards left for you that’ll land in time for the weekend if ordered in the next few days. Our Go Race V 14, which can easily double as a touring SUP, is waiting, ready to ride. The tech that’s gone into this iSUP is top drawer – even if we do say so ourselves. Not least the removable fin box. We also have some of the nimble, fun Go Skate 7’2 inflatables left which are perfect for anyone looking for manoeuvrability in surf or on moving river waterways. And there’s a whole load of SUP paddles and accessories ready to enhance your overall SUP experience. Head over to the shop for a nose and to place your order. Let us know if you have any questions about anything.

Check out the full specs of both boards below –

Go Race V 14

Go Skate 7’2

If any boards are ordered before 12:00 noon today (Thursday 27 August) it would arrive on Friday. After 12:00 noon today it’ll arrive on Saturday 29 August.

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McConks blog article round up – what you may have missed (Aug 25, 2020).

We appreciate everyone’s been busy paddling, hanging out with the family and making the most of summer. So much so it’s easy to miss some of the stuff we publish to the McConks blog. Have no fear, however, as we’ve conveniently rounded things up for you.

McConks bitesize travel guides

The beady eyed out there may have noticed we’ve featured heavily on the travel area of stand up paddle boarding. There’re a plethora of locations across the UK to paddle – inland and coastal. We’ve started compiling a bunch of bitesize guides to help when choosing where to SUP next. Stay tuned as we’ll be adding to these regularly. Below are the spots we’ve published to date.

5 of the best UK SUP spots

Sticking with the domestic SUP travel theme for a moment; we put out an article talking about 5 of the best palces to stand up paddle board in the UK. Obviously there are others, but this 5 will start you off. Feel free to drop us a line with your personal faves.

You can check out the article here.

We need YOU, watersports clubs

Many will already be aware that McConks does more than just stand up paddle boards. We cover the whole spectrum, from SUP itself to windSUP, windsurfing, wing and we’re currently looking hard at hydrofoil and hard shell SUPs. There’s plenty to come! With this in mind we’d love to make contact with any watersports clubs that offer mutiple activities. For more info hit this link then hit us up.

Honesty is always the best policy, so we think

If you want an insight top how 2020 has been for McConks then this is the article you need to read. Not least to give an idea of what we have to do to keep this ticking smoothly over, but also so you’re in the full picture as customers.

Winter SUPing

There’re no two ways about it: winter is definitely heading our way. But that doesn’t mean you have stop paddling – far from it. Here’re a few things you can do to prepare for the off season and make it as fun as possible.

ISA awarded SUP ‘ownership’

Recently the International Surfing Association was awarded ‘ownership’ of stand up paddle boarding to take it through (potentially) to its Olympic Games debut. But does the recreational paddler actually care about stuff like this? Read the article and let us know what you think.

5 SUP adventures that await the progressing stand up paddler

If you’re one of the many new paddlers this summer then here’re 5 SUP adventures that await you as you move forwards on your paddling journey.

There’s loads more on the McConks SUP blog and the McConks Knowledge Hub pages. If you’re looking for something specific, then as always hit us up and we’ll do our best to accommadate.

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Is that it? Is 2020’s summer of SUP done? Don’t be daft! Autumn can be a great time of year for paddling.

Looking out the window, with the rain beating down and wind howling, you’d be forgiven for thinking that’s it, all over, done and dusted; Summer of SUP 2020 has gone. But not so fast! It’s still only August and whilst there’s certainly a bit of grotty weather about currently there’s also every likelihood that it’ll pass and we’ll get a decent end of season – an Indian Summer if you will.

Of course, we’re generalising here. And one stand up paddler‘s idyllic is another’s not so great depending where you’re based in the UK. That said, early autumn can often see decent temperatures – possibly more bearable for some than the recent Med like mercury levels – with waters still very much warm. It’s actually this time of year when seas in particular are at their balmiest. Rivers, lakes and canals are pretty good as well.

Also, anyone looking for ‘conditions’, such as better waves for SUP surfing, will find now’s the time. You’re more likely to score proper waves, with offshore winds, in autumn. We’ve talked about sea breezes in the past. The tail end of the year sees less and less of these due to how warm the ocean is, hence why you’re more likely to score glassy SUP sessions.

One fly in the ointment is less daylight. We’re definitely edging towards longer nights. But days will still be the go – right up until end of October for many (unless you’re truly fair weather). And don’t forget: kids will be back at school shortly (COVID allowing) which means potentially additional free time for parents if they can swing it with work.

So now’s not the time to be hanging up your paddle. There’s plenty of SUP time to be wrung from 2020. And even when the depths of winter set in if you pick and choose your times then, as with autumn, you can bag some great sessions.

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SUP4.co.uk – paddling London waterways with Rachel Bambrough.

Pics courtesy: Ben Read, www.benreadphotography.com

Rachel Bambrough runs SUP4.co.uk based in London. She doesn’t just teach those wanting to take their first steps in stand up paddle boarding, however. We asked Rachel a few questions about her teaching and SUP in London.

Firstly, tell us how SUP4Beginners came about? – SUP4 was an ongoing idea, albeit without a brand name, logo or structure of how I would make it work, when working full time in the corporate world. It was a dream which I was striving towards but didn’t quite know when it would happen, or how successful it would be. I would spend my days dreaming about being outdoors and on the water. The original plan was to move closer to the sea to make the venture work, but this year I was made redundant from my corporate role which was very much the wake up call I needed to make it all happen. After coaching for various clubs in London and Denmark I decided to go solo and take the plunge to set up my own SUP school.

And where do you normally paddle – what’s good about your area for paddling? – I usually paddle on the non-tidal stretch of the River Thames between Hampton Court and Teddington Lock. It gives beginners and those that want to perfect their skills all the hours in the day to do this as we are not restricted by tide times. It’s a beautiful, picturesque stretch of river which houses many interesting plants and lots of wildlife. The other week I spotted a terrapin.

Is it just beginners you teach? Any plans to take your qualifications further? It’s not just beginners, all levels are welcome. The name SUP4Beginners was more of an idea to make it open and welcome to those that would like to learn. So many people are put off doing sport because they feel like they won’t be able to keep up or find anything in common with larger groups as a beginner. I wanted people from all walks of life, all age groups to come along and try out SUP. My main goal is to make the sport fun and accessible, whilst teaching people how to be at their safest whilst out on the river. I really want to make SUP more accessible to groups of people who wouldn’t usually get the opportunity to try out water sports, whether this be because of a disability or a confidence issue; this is something I am working towards for next year.

What equipment do you use and why? – I am currently using the McConks 12’8 Go Explore touring board, but sometimes switch to McConks’ Go Wild if I fancy a faster trip down river.

Tell us about the wider London area for stand up paddle boarding. It’s not where most people would tend to think of for SUP. – The wider London area has a lot of untouched beautiful spots to paddle on, which you wouldn’t know about just by walking or cycling along the river. I like to find new excitng places to take my pupils. There are many spots to take your SUP board and enjoy local cafes and restaurants as part of your trip.

How many pupils have you taught to date? Since going solo I have taught over 200 people, which hasn’t given me much time to breathe. But I have loved every second. I have taught mixed age groups and abilities from complete newbies to those that would like to build up the confidence out on the water.

What’s the most rewarding thing about being a SUP instructor? I love watching people stand and find their balance for the very first time, along with finding the confidence to lead me rather than me leading the client in the water. It’s so nice bringing like minded people together when paddling in groups for sunrise and sunset paddles. I also very much like watching people fall in and having a giggle, actually this is the best part about my job. I keep saying I must get a GoPro attached to the front of a beginners board to capture their funny facial expressions when they fall in. Would make a great exhibition!

What are your SUP plans for the rest of 2020? Ooooo that’s a good question. People will just have to keep an eye out on socials for some of the interesting events that I am planning, but I plan to run the club throughout the autumn/winter months for as long as it’s safe to do so. You can follow me @sup4beginners on Insta or FB. Website www.sup4.co.uk.

Any one you’d like to thank? There are too many people to thank, but those close to me who have helped me grow as a person and build my new venture know who they are.

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McConks’ stand up paddle boarding bitesize travel guides: Croyde Bay, North Devon.

Location:

Croyde, North Devon

Spot type:

Open ocean location with plenty of surf to keep everyone occupied.

Conditions:

Mostly, Croyde is surf venue, although it does have flat days (particularly during summer) that can be good for touring and recreational SUP.

Hazards:

Low tide sees the waves of any size dump on the numerous sand back. These can be sand dredging lumps of water that’ll easily pile drive you and your board into the seabed. When Croyde shows size this only increases. Experience barrel hunters relish it. During summer Croyde can be an absolute zoo when the sun’s out. Some rocks at either end and rips aplenty.

Access:

Getting to the water at Croyde is pretty simple. You have the main carpark at one end with numerous access points for walking across the sand dunes.

Popularity (1-10):

10 in high summer, 8 if the surf’s good (whatever time of year), 2-3 at other times.

Amenities:

There’s plenty of eating/drinking options with an onsite café, toilets and changing facilities (paid for). A camp site can be found just back from the beach whilst in the village you’ll discover The Thatch and Billy Budd’s pubs, both next door to one another. Plus, surf shops, pasty outlets, souvenir places and so on. Surrounding the beach beach you’ll find a plethora of self catering accommodation with high season prices that sky rocket. Out into the sticks has a few small hotels and less pricey room lets.

Overview:

Croyde’s reputation for low tide barrels is renowned. With solid swell heavy waves unload ferociously onto the sand bars dotted just beneath the water’s surface. Up to around 3ft is doable for most with experience, although even at that size you’ll easily get taken out by Neptune’s power. It’s quite possible to snap a stand up paddle board if you’re not paying attention. Add to the mix a frothing local pack of hungry surfers, mostly over any type of crowds, and it can all be a bit daunting. Yet this doesn’t stop every man and his dog from making a beeline for Croyde in high season. During summer all manner of craft can be afloat and the water gets quite hectic. It’s usually best to indulge in early or late sessions for the most peaceful experience. For many Croyde is a quintessential surfing town, not unlike its southern cousin Newquay. Whilst it doesn’t have quite the hedonistic rep, or back ti back shops, pubs and bars of the former Croyde’s two local pubs – The Thatch and Billy Buds – can serve up some spirited nightlife to say the least. Especially after little one’s bedtime hour has past. On hot days the whole of North Devon can get packed out which may test some people’s patience. Narrow roads in some parts aren’t for the faint hearted. Saunton, around the corner back towards Braunton, can offer respite from Croyde’s full on vibe. That said, score classic low tide Croyde, snag one of the epic kegs and you’ll be bitten by the Croyde bug for life no doubt! On flatter days grab a touring SUP and head out to Baggy Point for some exploring. Just watch out for currents and a change in weather.

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Which iSUP is more stable – a 9’8 x 30″ McConks Go Free board or a 12′ x 31″ different brand board?

When you’re in the market for a new inflatable stand up paddle board chances are you’re looking at dimensions closely. This is your guide, although quoted numbers don’t always tell the whole story. Confirming this once again we were contacted by one of McConks’ SUP friends who had some interesting info based on a side by side test that’d been done.

Having used the McConks 9’8 Go Free crossover inflatable SUP extensively the paddler in question went for a float with a popular, alternative brand’s, 12′ x 31″ wide touring SUP. (For reference the Go Free is much shorter and narrower at 9’8 x 30″). General theory suggests that a longer, wider board should be more stable. In fact, board B sports a squared off tail, much less rocker which all in should mean it ‘wins’ the stability test hands down.

After swapping about during an hour plus session, however, it quickly became apparent this isn’t the case. It’s, in fact, quite the opposite. (Note: having passengers clamber on and off both boards, before jumping off, and paddling with three kiddy guests, while the paddler aims to keep upright is a good test of stability if you ask us!).

Time and again McConk’s model was staying balanced and not tipping everyone in the drink. Which was totally opposite with the 12′. So why is this?

We hear it all the time that inflatable stand up paddle boards don’t really differ much, other than in dimensions, which isn’t true. Manufacturing techniques, type of Dropstitch used, thickness of and quality of PVC, plus length, width and volume of board along with any other design quirks all play their part to make every board ‘feel’ and perform differently. There’s also the user to pop into the equation. By this we mean has he/she put the recommended amount of air into the board as this will affect how your iSUP acts. Also, to a degree, skill level.

In terms of recommended air pressure both the 9’8 Go Free and 12′ tourer/cruiser were filled with their optimum, so that variable can be ruled out. There are some differences in design of both boards, however. The Dropstitch material McConks uses in all its SUPs is super high quality. We#re confident it’s the highest grade you can get. This alone, when the board is inflated correctly, will see superior rigidity when compared to other brand gear that doesn’t use the same spec Dropstitch. It’s exactly the case with PVC used in McConks’ SUPs as well. We don’t cut corners.

Add to the mix the hard release rubber edge that sits on the tail of the Go Free. This not only helps with tracking and glide it also helps with rigidity, minimises bend (deflection) and therefore aids stability. We appreciate not every McConks iSUP has this feature but in the case of the Go Free, which we’re focusing on here, it’s worth mentioning. Fins too; these can help with stability, serving to keep the board level and therefore balanced – IF they’re optimised and positioned correctly. Basically, a well designed inflatable, with all its component parts optimised will give you ‘more’ on the water – whichever aspect you shine a spotlight on – than something which hasn’t had quite the same level of attention.

You can give your brand a funky name, create a pleasingly visual logo, add some nice colours and utilise colourful language when describing your products. You may also drop the price point to as low as you dare go to entice and attract. But ultimately if your products haven’t had the input then they simply won’t fulfil the promise of what you say they’ll deliver on the water.

If you want some honest feedback about McConks SUP products in comparison to others then get in touch. We’re only too happy help. Regardless of which brand you’re looking at we’ll tell it straight.

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Honesty is always the best policy…

It’s been a rather busy year hasn’t it? It seems that the world has decided that paddleboarding and biking are the perfect socially distant activities post lockdown.

We think we’ve already told you that we were nearly 400% up on the previous year to the end of July. That came on the back of being 50% down on 2019 to the second week in April. So to say we’ve been busy is an understatement. And being that busy has caused us a few issues. So for those of you who’ve been a little frustrated by us this year, here’s the story of how things went a bit wrong, and what we’ve learned from it.

The container that was due to land end of June that we were promising to ship from on 3rd July didn’t touch ground until 10th July, and took another week before it was unloaded into our distribution centre in South Wales.

We were already struggling to respond to all communications around then because the entire world was asking questions about what kind of SUP to buy, and every person and their dog was asking when there preorder was. At that point we probably should have stopped being so reactive to customers calls, emails, messages, whatsapp etc, and proactively contacted preorder customers in a bulk communication to advise them things were a little delayed. That would have annoyed a few customers for a short period, but reduced calls on our time for that couple of weeks when things were going so manic.

At this point we were also moving more of our products to be fulfilled by the distribution centre (fins, sunglasses, rash vests etc). This helped us by reducing demands on our time at HQ picking and packing these items, but this was an unwelcome distraction for the distribution centre who still weren’t fully up to normal staffing levels in this socially distant world.

We changed our systems integrations with our logistics partners during this period to simplify it for the distribution centre. However in doing so we broke it so that not every order made it to the distribution centre. This was the biggest mistake – making system changes during your busiest period ever without properly testing them! This also had significant knock on effects. We were relying on the distribution centres stock levels to feed stock levels on the webshop. Because they didn’t have every order, it made the shop look like we had more stock that we did. This is turn led to us unwittingly take more orders for some products than we actually had stock.

We also had real problems with the Go Simple product. The QA of the boards was simply not good enough – some boards had cosmetic damage (printing and deckpad finishing), some boards had leaky valves, the accessories were poor with bags falling apart on day one. To solve this problem for the future we’ve discontinued the Go Simple line. We’ve realised, belatedly, that it isn’t possible to make an iSUP product that meets our ethical, environmental and quality standards at that budget price range. As part of our desire to always exceed customers expectations, we offered those customers affected, reduced price upgrades to the premium quality Go Anywhere boards. But in doing so, we were further affecting the stock level management issues, eating further into stock we didn’t have.

At this point, we were being inundated by incoming from customers asking where there kit was. But with the breakdown in comms between our systems and the distribution centres, we were totally unsighted. Finding out if an order had been shipped meant asking the distribution centre. Finding out how much stock we had left meant asking the distribution centre. But the distribution centre were focussing on the most important things – getting our gear out to customers – rather than responding to our requests for information. Further, because not every order was getting to the distribution centre, customers were getting kit out of order. Meaning that sometimes someone who ordered later than preorder customers got shipped kit destined for preorder customers.

Add to this that that some gear that had been dispatched disappeared. Some of it even made it to the final hub closest to the customer before being turned around and returned to a random address nothing to do with either McConks (Perfect Trim Ltd) or our distribution centre (Border Group)!

And then we had a couple of bad boards. That went bang. Literally. That was a real shock for us. We’ve always had a very, very low rate of returns and failures, nearly always due to issues with valves that are easily resolved with the right advice. But, it turns out that we had a very small batch of boards made in 2019 that had inferior adhesive (long complicated reason due to air quality standards and health and safety requirements). We knew about this in 2019, and thought we had stopped these boards being shipped, but it seems that some still got shipped this year when we had pressure on stock. Our boards are guaranteed to 27 PSI and warrantied for four years for a reason. The glue, dropstitch and valves that we use are the absolute best, and can take that pressure. There are much, much cheaper glues that withstand lower pressure, which is why some boards have a much lower recommended pressure, and why they pop when left in the sun (interesting fact, some boards with a high pressure guarantee use cheaper glues, and have a much higher failure rate than we do). And so we had some boards that popped in the sun. This is beyond embarrassing for a company like us who base our reputation on reliability and quality. But, we like to be open and honest, so we’re telling you all about it. And unlike other (less ethical and scrupulous) brands, we replace without quibble, and we don’t make the customer sign a non disclosure agreement before sending a replacement board (yes, there seriously are companies in the UK that do this just so they can claim they have never had a leaky board!)

We hope we’ve now recalled all of these boards, or have come to an agreement with the board owners. But, it you ever have one of our boards with excessive glue staining/yellowing, air bubbles in the rails, or with evidence of a loss of air pressure over days, please contact us ASAP. In the future, every board that’s made will have a unique serial number, and our factory will record the pressure before and after the 72 hour pressure test, and the person that made the board and the person who signed to QA standards off. This adds about another $50 to our raw cost, but it’s worth it to get it right, and to ensure we can easily recall whole batches of boards in the unlikely situation that things go wrong in the future.

By now we had stopped taking any new orders so we could focus on resolving the mess and clearing the backlog. We focussed on SUP packages rather than paddles or accessories, but didn’t have the spare hours in a day to tell people who had ordered fins or paddles that was the case. Again, taking ten minutes out of a very busy day to make a proactive communication would have saved much time responding to individual frustrated customers, but when the company is in the heat of dealing with individual customers it’s difficult to make that decision to step back, ignore calls and contacts, and be proactive. We did everything we possibly could to make sure that every customer had a board, even offering temporary replacements for some customers until the new container arrives at the end of August. But even doing that we couldn’t keep all customers happy. Some customers sadly were left empty handed and the only option was a refund. Which is a horrible thing to do to a customer when it’s soooo hard this year to get hold of quality SUP equipment at short notice. We’ve seen some social media content of customers we let down using boards that we wouldn’t recommend to our worst enemy. And that makes us feel really guilty!

So it hasn’t all be plain sailing. Thankfully, the vast majority of our amazing customers have had the experience that we aim for. But a small minority of you have been let down. And that frustrates us and makes us rather sad. Most of those frustrated customers have been beyond patient with us – thank you all so much, and some of your messages of support have really kept us going through this! We love you all!

But to those of you who have been affected, we’re really, really sorry!

With the next container arriving at the end of August, we’re desperately trying to clear up any outstanding issues. So if you’re still waiting for something, please let us know ASAP to whoops@mcconks.com.

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) recently awarded the ISA (International Surfing Association ) the right to lead SUP at Olympic level – but does anyone care?

Pic: ISA / Sean Evans

Last week The Court of Arbitration for Sport awarded the International Surfing Association the right to lead stand up paddle boarding in its Olympic bid for inclusion. After a long legal battle with the ICF (International Canoeing Federation), who also staked a claim, a decision has been reached, which concerned parties now state will accelerate SUP move forwards in a positive fashion. But does the layman paddler actually care?

For anyone actively competitive in SUP this news will be an interesting victory. Ultimately, whatever anyone says, it’s been an ‘ownership’ battle. But those who consider themselves ‘SUP athletes’ should soon have a clear path to the hallowed Olympic platform – arguably ‘the best of the best arena’ where the elite of each discipline can prove themselves.

The majority of recreational paddlers, however, won’t give two hoots about the above. Stand up paddle boarding is, for the masses, about having fun in the sun, floating about with friends and family and enjoying the outdoors. Serious competition is a world away. Granted, a % of newbies may go on to become SUP athletes, but many won’t.

Having staged successful SUP competitions in the past the ISA does have pedigree in the organisation of stand up paddle board events. Its test as an organisation, and whether the CAS decision was correct, will come down to getting SUP into The Games and delivering on its promise to those who’ve made SUP their life goal. Sponsored riders and SUP professionals need an outlet to prove their worth after all.

For the rest of us, we’ll continue as we’ve done so: enjoying time afloat and paddling waterways of all types. Whether or not stand up appears at The Olympic Games is neither here nor there. It may prick interests should that come to fruition at the time but as it stands, whilst this is indeed a landmark decision, 90% of the SUP population won’t have noticed…

If you do want to find out more then hit the following link – https://www.isasurf.org/isa-welcomes-landmark-decision-by-the-court-of-arbitration-for-sport-cas-to-award-governance-of-standup-paddle-to-the-isa-at-olympic-level/?fbclid=IwAR0WfTp-jxvqAqeWjgYZklmxMPgb7mPAexaeeQULu76XwB4PGM9OoaYRwFQ

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Progressing from a beginner stand up paddler – 5 SUP adventures that await you.

Whatever type of stand up paddling you aspire to there’s something for everyone – that’s one of SUP‘s beauties; it’s versatility. Having taken those first tentative paddling steps a whole load of opportunity and SUP adventures await you. Here’re a bunch to get you started.

SUP surfing your first wave

SUP surfing doesn’t have to mean charging the biggest, meanest swells. It can simply be gliding on micro ankle slappers: the experience is the same. Heading out for your first surf can give chills. You have an inkling what’s coming but aren’t quite sure. And then, WHAM!, you catch your first wave and ride along with a stonking grin on your chops. Trust us when we say you’ll be hooked for life!

Running your first river

River SUP is a still very much under the radar in the UK but it’s definitely a thing. Mellow white water, with a small amount of movement, can be just as exciting as hooking massive drop and running grade 5s! Small wave train rapids will get those juices flowing and if you do it with an experienced guide we’re sure you’ll be in for lots of thrills and potentially a few spills – all part of the game…

Entering your first SUP race

Whether you paddle an all round inflatable or hard touring SUP most races these days have a class for you. You don’t need to be vying for the podium – although you may have your sites set there regardless. For most SUP racing is about local battles in the middle of the pack. Taking on your mates to see who can outdo the other. It’s not serious but it sure can be lots of fun!

Day long adventure paddling

With confident paddling comes the ability to load up your SUP with those much needed essentials and head off in the wild for some quality adventure paddling. For the truly committed extending your journey across days may be a thing but to start with simply heading round the next bend, as it were, and making your first SUP adventure a day trip is just as rewarding. Who knows what you may find or where you may end up.

WindSUP or wing SUP

If you’ve never felt the power of wind in your hands then owning a stand up paddle board with a windsurfing attachment will allow this. Even if it doesn’t then fear not! Wings are a thing… In both cases being propelled along with a few breezy gusts can see a whole new world open up before you. Arguably wingsurfing wings are less faff than windsurfing rigs although McConks offers an inflatable version of both. Unlock the additional versatility of your board and get involved!

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Chilly season – preparing for a winter of SUP.

Yes, we know it’s currently baking in the UK, and winter seems like a way off. But it isn’t really. We’re already into mid-August and soon it’ll be autumn. This isn’t to sound negative. In fact, for many autumn and winter can be the best seasons for stand up paddle boarding – particularly if you want ‘conditions’ and not just flat water. But now’s the time to prepare – you don’t want to get left out in the cold (literally) come time.

Make sure you have good quality paddling attire. A decent wetsuit or drysuit if necessary will stand you in good stead. Mostly, you get what you pay for. Of course, there are deals (particularly if you shop around now) but a decent wetty does mean you have to stump up a little. But you’ll be thankful for it. Also, make sure this part of your kit is durable and robust. When clambering on and off boards you don’t need your wetty getting a hole in it!

Gloves, hood and booties should also be considered. They need to be comfortable and ideally not impede movement. Of course, to some degree, wearing gloves, hood and booties isn’t as ‘free’ as paddling in just boardshorts. That’s why getting the correct fit and type which suits you is important.

Check over your paddle. If you’ve been afloat plenty this summer you may have picked up scuffs and potentially nicks on the shaft, handle or blade. For those using an adjustable it’s worth looking at the locking mechanism. Any SUPer needing to replace their paddle should definitely be looking to before winter. It’s your engine and main form of propulsion so definitely shouldn’t be overlooked.

Damage to your stand up paddle board will need sorting if you’ve picked anything up – whether hard SUP or inflatable. Fins also. Wear and tear is par for the course unfortunately but is usually easily fixable. You may also be considering an upgrade that’s more in line with the SUP performance you’re after based on the conditions you plan on tackling.

Leashes are another item that tend to show signs of use and therefore need replacing in time. Having a worn leash snap on you while out in the wild isn’t pleasant so make sure you sort before too long. And don’t forget the leash retainer as this can also wear.

Any flotation aids should be checked over before doing battle with Mother Nature. Whether that be a float belt, that self inflates, a PFD or buoyancy aid all of which need to be in good working order. Any other peripheral gear like helmets as well. You may not have had need for these during summer so definitely worth having a look/see.

All in being prepared for winter stand up paddling is the best course of action. If you are then we’re pretty sure you’ll have a fruitful season.

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5 of the best places to SUP in the UK.

Before we get jumped all over this isn’t THE best 5 places to SUP instead it’s more of a selection of what’s available. Lists like these are always subjective. One paddler’s honey is another’s Marmite. Everyone has an opinion and opinions differ based on circumstance, criteria and a whole host of other factors. The list below, however, will have something in it that’ll prick the interests of many. You may not agree with all but we’re sure you’ll discover a location that you fancy tackling…

Where would you add?

Marazion, Mounts Bay, Cornwall

Being a south-west Cornwall spot Marazion can serve up all manner of SUP kinds conditions; from waves to flat water, choppy to blustery. Whilst it doesn’t face the same direction as its north coast siblings, and therefore pick up the same amount of swell, there’s still potential for a spot of SUP surfing if that’s your bag. Alternatively, and often during the summer months, Mazza (as the locals call it) can be flat. With the iconic St. Michael’s Mount off to the left and Penzance to the right it’s a top SUP touring spot that on a windless, sunny day can resemble a more exotic location. Access is easy, with parking right next to the put in. At low tide it has more expose sand which can be good for families.

The Lake District, Cumbria

The Lakes hardly need introduction, such is their reputation for awe-inspiring mountain vistas and elongated waterways plunged at the foot those troughs and valleys. Walkers, climbers and bikers are well acquainted with this spot but in recent years SUP has been accepted onto some of the lakes. Being a sheltered area there can be blissful, windless days, although weather can still be changeable and exposed corners blustery as strong gusts sweep down steep fells. Still, if you want to experience Wordsworth’s land then from atop a SUP couldn’t be better. Ullswater, in particular, should be on your list.

The Broads, Norfolk/Suffolk

Formed after flooding peat workings The Broads is a (mostly) navigable set of lakes and canals that straddle both counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. Offering idyllic flat water touring SUP conditions The Broads is a national park punctuated every so often by historic windmill pump stations erected to keep water levels static. For paddlers there’s miles of water to either meander along in mellow fashion or, for those with inclination, put the hammer down. It should be noted that at certain times of year some stretches do have restrictions so check before launching.

Seven Sisters, East Sussex

Formed out of white chalk cliffs East Sussex’s Seven Sisters are the iconic ends of the South Down’s where many a TV and film crew have pointed their camera (Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood had scenes filmed here). Whether you’re after open water tidal paddling, or more sheltered conditions (found at Cuckmere Valley) you’ll be well served. Staring up at the towering cliffs is jaw dropping out at sea whilst meandering along the Cuckmere River is a rather more chilled out affair.

Tiree, Hebrides, Scotland

During bouts of good weather, with sunshine in the mix (which can often be the case in Tiree as one of the brightest locations in the UK), Tiree’s beaches and lapping Atlantic water resemble a more Tropical destination. The small Hebridean island attracts all manner of watersports enthusiasts with its diverse set of conditions. From BIG waves to more mellow surf and even flat water it’s a location that begs you to put in with your SUP. The overall ambience of Tiree, with its small population, makes the whole island very chilled indeed. Nervous newbies will also find a small sheltered lake for taking those first steps.

For more SUP travel location suggestions and info don’t forget to check out the McConks Bitesize Travel Guides.

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The cool off – sustaining stand up paddle boarding’s growth beyond summer 2020.

Most will now be well aware of stand up paddling‘s unprecedented growth post-lockdown. This weekend, as of August 8, 2020, saw another round of mainstream press coverage which tells you something. There’s nothing and nobody that could’ve predicted how this year would go. Certainly not SUP industry big wigs who in 2019 suggested a consolidation was taking place after things had slowed.

In some ways it’s kind of the opposite to how things were at SUP‘s modern guise inception around 2005. Touted as the biggest thing since sliced bread – or rather ‘the fastest growing watersport on the planet’ – it certainly set off on solid footing before 2008’s economic crash put paid to the metaphorical SUP sales explosion every brand was imagining. Instead, stand up paddle boarding bubbled along at a slightly faster growth rate than average.

At the start of 2020 there were inklings already in some minds regarding the impending global pandemic. But nothing in those crystal balls suggested a re-energised/reinvigorated interest with standing atop boards and paddling. In fact, during lockdown the outdoor industry at large were full of doom and gloom. Then shutters were lifted and the cocktail of staycation, furlough, good weather and time at home conspired to make stand up paddle boarding THE coolest thing do this summer, once again. (We’ll also admit some other outdoor pursuits, such as cycling, have also been enjoying a bumper season).

But what about sustaining this growth? Is that possible or will things cool off?

There’s wide media suggestion about all manner of things come autumn. Unemployment, a potential virus second wave along with Mother Nature’s mood taking on a changeable tone which all could halt proceedings. From a weather/seasonality point of view watersports always slow once we emerge from ‘silly season’. The fact is: most practitioners are fair weather and the UK’s climate isn’t always inviting during autumn and winter. Plus, daylight hours are against those who do regular 9-5 jobs with less time to indulge even if they wanted to. Although, with a more remote work ethic perhaps that won’t be a thing…

Regardless, SUPer numbers on the water will probably dip after September – unless we get a decent October weather window around school half term. Even with the onset of winter, however, stand up paddling certainly doesn’t have to stop. Those who fancy progressing and pushing on can certainly do so with the right ‘tools’ – such as decent wetsuit and such.

So what of spring 2021 and the continuation of stand up paddling‘s popularity? Some economically minded types would suggest that because of the unprecedented re-growth of SUP in 2020 it’ll last into next year. That would be logical if these times we’re living in were normal (which they aren’t). We’d possibly witness the knock effect from this season. By that we mean: person A buys a stand up paddle board which is noted by person B – perhaps a neighbour or work colleague. Person B investigates then also makes a purchase which is noted by person C. And so on, and so on…

Unfortunately, based on how 2020 has been so far, things are never quite that simple. We can’t predict what’ll happen in the next 12 months. We can’t predict what’ll happen next week! But, what we can tell you is anyone who’s gotten hold of stand up paddle boarding equipment for the first time this year will be much better off for it. Of course, SUP isn’t the be all and end all. But in times of chaos it certainly helps to have some form of release – which stand up paddling certainly can offer. So in that sense, for those in a position to get involved next year there’s argument to do so.

For now, enjoy your paddling and the rest of summer in the UK – it’s certainly been one for the records! Only time will tell how 2021 pans out…

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WATERSPORTS CLUBS (SUP, windsurf) – McConks WANTS YOU!

Here at McConks we’re already looking towards 2021’s season as before you know it’ll be winter with that portly chap in red suit making an appearance – we can’t sit on our laurels. If you’ve been following McConks for a while you may have seen articles/posts about new gear we’re currently developing across various disciplines – windsurf and stand up paddling. This is based on feedback from various corners including watersports clubs and coaches we currently work with.

McConks has always appealed to clubs because of the versatility, robust nature and fit for purpose nature of our gear. Building on this the range for 2021 will increase. In particular, the inflatable windsurf sails we’ve talked about, kid’s specific SUP kit (windsurf and race SUP), potentially hard crossover windSUP boards (yet to be tested) and a whole bunch of other equipment bits designed to further enhance your water life and living. Basically there’s something to suit all disciplines, from beginners to intermediate right the way up to advanced riders.

If you’re a watersports club specialising in either windsurfing, stand up paddle boarding or both then McConks can offer you decent bulk order rates. We’re keen to work closer with clubs and help more people get into watersports which is why we’re offering this.

Everyone knows that grassroots clubs are where the watersports seed gets sown – especially for kids. Those who mightn’t have access to windsurf and stand up paddle equipment get the opportunity to take part in otherwise inaccessible activities. There are numerous stories of super successful athletes who’ve started out in similar fashion.

For watersports clubs interested in taking advantage of pre-order 2021 deals on McConks SUP, windSUP and windsurfing equipment now’s the time to get in touch and see what we can do for you.

Contact andy@mcconks.com for further info and pricing structures.

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Leptospirosis (Weil’s Disease) and stand up paddle boarding inland waterways.

There’s much chat about SUP safety with so many new paddlers coming into the sport. Things like leashes (and what type to wear), weather info and so on are certainly key aspects that need covering/reiterating. One thing that may get overlooked, however, is the following – particularly for paddlers on stretches of inland water. While we’re not trying to be alarmist Weil’s Disease is something to be aware of.

As we all know stand up paddle boarding can (mostly) be practised on any given stretch of water you come across – access allowing. Whilst tidal waters are one thing, as far as SUP safety concerns go, inland locations, such as rivers, canals and lakes have their own set of safety criteria to keep in mind. Something new stand up paddlers might not have considered is Leptospirosis (Weil’s Disease) and the fact you can pick it from these non-coastal locations.

What is it and how does Weil’s disease transmit?

Weil’s Disease is a bacterial infection that can be fatal if untreated. It’s spread by rat urine but can also transmit via cat, fox rabbit, cow and pig urine. If the stretch of water you plan on paddling is next to a cow field, for instance, then there’ll most likely be run off which can carry the bacteria.

Open wounds, such as cuts and gashes, are prime for the disease entering a paddler’s body. Contaminated water, that’s ingested, can also be a route to infection as can nasal passages and eyes. Symptoms include lethargy, muscle pain, diarrhoea, headaches and vomiting – Weil’s Disease can mimic severe flu. The consequences of becoming infected can be serious.

Whilst river/lake/canal water are places stand up paddlers could pick up Leptospirosis infections a little known fact is that river banks, for instance, are also contamination zones. Shuffling and crawling across bankside undergrowth and shrubbery to launch also risks pick up the infection.

It should also be noted that infection rates following rainfall can be higher as the Leptospira bacteria thrives in moisture.

Preventing Weil’s Disease

It should go without saying that any open wounds or cuts should be covered with watertight bandages. In fact, it might be worth holding off paddling altogether until any abrasions or scrapes have healed. Taking a dunking is par for the course with SUP – we all fall from time to time. Keeping mouths and eyes closed if immersed is good practise.

SUP apparel isn’t just for keeping warm and fending off chill. Wearing protective clothing, such as neoprene wetsuits, boots and gloves can block potential infections as well. In hotter weather thinner garments can be purchased so overheating doesn’t also become a problem.

Having anti-bac onsite for post-paddle rub downs is worth it. Then as soon as you can washing hands and face with warm soapy water should be done. Clean down all your gear, including paddle clothing, to get rid of bacteria.

If the area you plan on stand up paddle boarding is known to have problems with Weil’s Disease then avoiding it completely is a good idea. Should you feel unwell after SUPing inland waterways then speaking with your GP straight away can help stop symptoms developing. Early treatment can reduce the severity of any infection and shorten symptom’s duration. There are some preventative medicines available if you can’t avoid what you feel is contaminated water.

It should be noted that paddling in river, canals and lakes doesn’t mean you’re going to contract Leptospirosis. As with everything SUP carries an element of risk. Knowing those risk, however, means you can make informed decisions and keep as safe as possible.

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McConks knowledge hub article round up – what you may have missed (August 11, 2020).

The beady will have noticed there’s LOTS of content to be discovered when you navigate to the McConks SUP Knowledge Hub. From beginner tips, tricks and hacks to more advanced info, brand/product updates, a new travel section and loads of other good stuff. We appreciate, however, that sometimes you may miss things – it’s easy to do. As such you’ll find links below to a few choice articles that we’ve published.

As always if there’s something specific you want to see then let us know.

We took an in depth look at the McConks HP6 dual chamber and HP2 single chamber iSUP pump. As an addition we also got one of McConks’ friends – Chris – to demonstrate them in action.

You may not be aware of it but McConks does its best to innovate and push the boundaries of what’s possible with inflatable SUP products. An example of which can be found with the Go Race V 14′.

McConks recently got the go ahead to start actively pushing our Go Sail inflatable windsurfing sails. These will be widely available soon. If you fancy checking them out then hit the link below –

Electric hydrofoiling boards certainly prick interests and we’ve been lucky enough to get one to test. We’re currently putting it through its paces so stay tuned for an update ASAP.

Finally you’ll find a whole bunch of articles relating to UK SUP spots. We’ve started adding to this travel section which’ll be ongoing. If you have a specific location included then message us.

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SUP Mag UK (SUPM) reviews the McConks Go Race V 14′ in their imminent summer issue.

We’re proud of McConks’ Go Race V 14‘, which we talked about in a previous post. But we don’t just want you to take our word for it that it’s an awesome inflatable race board (with plenty of versatility). No siree. For further opinion on the McConks Go Race V 14 check out the latest issue of SUP Mag UK where you’ll find a full review.

As many will know McConks doesn’t do that many of this type of review. Mainly because magazines ask for advertising revenue in return, so essentially ‘paying to play’, which we don’t agree with. Where’s the impartiality in that? We’ve been featured in SUPM’s reviews/tests for a while though which shoudl tell you something.

If you want to scope the Go Race write up then you’ll need to follow this link to get yourself a copy of the issue which lands on Monday August 10, 2020 in digital form. As we understand it the printed version will follow a few days later.

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How ‘reading’ clouds can you help you determine what SUP weather’s on offer – with ASI’s Glenn Eldridge.

We talk about weather all the time here at McConks. Many newbie paddlers won’t have teh necessary information for being able to read things like synoptic charts and interpret conditions accordingly at their chosen put in. Some may not even know what a synoptic chart is (which is understandable if you’ve never had to use one). Yet the fact remains: if you SUP, whether inland or coastal, you need some grasp of what Mother Nature’s likely to serve you up – from a safety point of view if nothing else.

Just spotted is this informative and interesting post from Master SUP Coach Glenn Eldridge of ASI fame. Here he talks about different cloud formations and how that can help you determine what weather’s on the horizon. Give it a read and then try and put it into practise next time you’re out for a SUP.

https://www.academyofsurfing.com/news/how-reading-cloud-types-can-keep-you-safe?fbclid=IwAR1ozUXJHlXTPyge-XiIXJ5IoS-cUM9pAzDo854NEIrlMjTRgkC-0CslCxU

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Weekend SUP – McConks’ Andy talks to The Guardian newspaper about stand up paddle boarding’s surge in popularity.

We’re not sure what this’ll look like yet as it was only yesterday evening (Aug 6, 2020) that Andy spoke to The Guardian newspaper. What we do know, however, is the paper will be running a weekend piece on stand up paddle boarding for their lifestyle section. This is quite timely with a UK heatwave starting to hit which’ll see plenty of paddlers out afloat and therefore interests will be heightened further.

As we understand it they’ve also spoke to a couple of others from the UK’s SUP industry and the journalist in question is currently having a lesson with Paul Hyman from Active360 to get a real flavour of what stand up is all about.

The last time SUP was featured in a broadsheet (The Times, a few months back) it wasn’t 100% representative of SUP’s true demographic. Whilst the text was admirable the accompanying images featured too many of the ‘beautiful’ and not really any of those ‘real world’ paddlers most of us are. Hopefully this will be different, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Keep your eyes peeled for the piece this coming weekend in The Guardian.

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First flights – electric hydrofoil board prototype testing.

We’ve already alluded to this in previous posts but being a watersports brand we get a lot of opportunities come our way – some that fall by the wayside (for various reasons) and others that we readily jump at. This is one of those that we’ve jumped at, more out of curiosity than anything.

To be honest we’re still on the fence when it comes to electrically powered watersports craft – in this case an electric hydrofoil stand up paddle board (e-foil for short). It doesn’t really fit with McConks’ sustainability and environmentally conscious ethos. But, as we say, we’re curious. And we said we’d test it for one of McConks’ suppliers and give some feedback.

There’s a lot of chat about foils currently. Wing foil, SUP foil, surf foil, wind foil and kite foil. Then there are e-foil brands suggesting enough of a market and interest for electric hydrofoils to be viable. Is this actually the case? We’re not sure. Toys like these carry a fairly hefty price tag…But then if you take e-bikes as an example, with some being comparable in price, it seems (some) people may be willing to stump up. Maybe that’d be the same for an electric hydrofoil?

Whatever the case we’re keen to see how it performs on the water. Is it just one step away from a jetski? OR is there bona fide fun to be had and it fit as a complimentary toy in our/your quiver. Stay tuned to find out what we think.

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When (if) should I upgrade my stand up paddle board?

If you’ve just purchased your first stand up paddle board then this mightn’t be for you. Or perhaps maybe you’ve already discovered an arm of SUP that really takes your fancy. Either way there’s, at some point, going to be the question surrounding equipment upgrade.

When we talk about upgrading it’s mostly to do with increasing the performance of your board or paddle and therefore overall efficiency and enjoyment. Recreational paddling, which most people do (at least when they start), is all about getting to grips with SUP‘s fundamentals and generally floating about, having fun, mostly in good weather. For some, this progresses to other avenues of the activity and seeing what you can do with your new toy. It could be SUP adventuring, SUP surfing, racing or any one of the other avenues that stand up paddling offer. Whilst your trusty 10’6 is perfectly adaptable to these specific disciplines there are other bits of equipment designed to make things more efficient (we use this word a lot but it’s very applicable).

For instance: if you’re bitten by the adventure SUP bug, and fancy heading off on exploratory sojourns – either short or long paddle journeys – a longer board, that has improved glide and accommodates the storage of on deck essentials – will be a better bet than a shorter more all round board. You’ll find that even when fully laden with gear ground will be covered easier and the whole experience more fulfilling. It’s the same with any other avenue of SUP: the right tool for the job and all that.

Now don’t get us wrong, we’re not suggesting chop in your original stand up paddle board. In fact, as you get more into SUP having a quiver of equipment is a good thing. This maximises your time on the water and, again, allows you to choose the right tool for the job in hand. You don’t need to go mad, although some keen beans do own multiple sleds.

It doesn’t just stop at boards either. If you’re a SUPer who knows their onions as far as paddles go then you may want different types for different jobs – especially if you opt for fixed shaft models.

The last scenario, where you may feel an upgrade is necessary, comes down to the quality of the original stand up paddle board you opt for. We appreciate that cheaper SUPs may be the best choice at the time for many as they take those first tentative steps. Pretty quick, however, (depending on how well made your board in question is) a better manufactured SUP could be desired to deliver more fun on the water. It comes down to the efficiency element again. Any SUP designed and produced with better materials will be more efficient on the water – whatever type of paddling you choose. And more efficiency = more fulfilment and fun.

For anyone looking to upgrade their existing stand up paddle boarding equipment give us a shout to discuss your requirements. We can then point you in the right direction.

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McConks’ stand up paddle boarding bitesize travel guides: Esso Beach (Langstone Harbour oyster beds), Hayling Island, Hampshire.

Location:

Esso Beach (Langstone Harbour oyster beds), Hayling Island, Hampshire.

Spot type:

Sheltered harbour, tidal location.

Conditions:

Smooth glassy water at times (sheltered in NE – SE winds), super windy, choppy seas in a blow.

Hazards:

Strong tides, rocks and stones under foot, other water users (windsurfers).

Access:

Easy access with a car park (paid) right next to the put in, pollution at times (especially after heavy rain).

Popularity (1-10):

7.

Amenities:

Esso petrol station behind the launch which is a 2 min walk. Free parking. The Hayling Billy track (a now defunct historic railway route), which Esso beach’s car park is part of, offers decent flat land cycling for those inclined.

Overview:

As with Hayling’s seafront West Beachlands location its primary harbour spot, Esso Beach, is a popular haunt for windsurfers being slightly more sheltered and not have any significant shore break. Esso Beach gets its nickname because of the Esso petrol station located just behind the launch. Low tide dries out with paddling opportunities showing around 2.5hrs before high water. Depending whether spring or neap ties may give an additional half hour window or so for getting afloat. If tides drop and catch you out you may end up with a muddy walk back to the beach. Conditions are Mother Nature dependant but Esso can be nor forgiving than the seafront, although it can still be a rough ride in a blow. It’s a good location for beginners with a shingle spit, lying a few yards off the beach giving additional protection. At either end the coast curves and makes Esso more like a lagoon which can inspire confidence also. Anyone not used to rocky a seabed will need to wear appropriate paddling footwear to protect against cuts and bruises. For anyone fancying a spot of touring SUP it can be a good launch spot, particularly for experienced paddlers used to using tides to aid their journey.

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McConks’ stand up paddle boarding bitesize travel guides: Whitesands Bay, St. Davids, Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Location:

Whitesands Bay, St. Davids, Pembrokeshire< wales

Spot type:

Open ocean, Atlantic facing sandy beach exposed to all weather types swinging in from the west.

Conditions:

Whitesands Bay is mostly a surfing beach but as with other wave spots it can go flat if there’s a lack of Atlantic swell action. It’s a spot described as the best surfing beach in all of Pembrokeshire, although that’s more to do with accessibility for all levels.

Hazards:

Rips can occur when there’s surf pulsing in with general open beach current also in affect. Waves can sometimes be heavy as they close out and dump on shallow sand bars or the beach itself. Some rocks need to be heeded and during summer other water users. It gets busy!

Access:

Whitesands Bay has easy access from the main car park but as mentioned above it gets rammed during high season.

Popularity (1-10):

10+ in summer dropping to 1-2 in winter.

Amenities:

There’s a shop/café and public toilets onsite as you walk down to the sand. If you head back in the UK’s smallest city – St. Davids – there are a few eateries, pubs and restaurants plus shops and such. Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire’s main county town, is a few miles back east and has more in the way of nightlife if you’re after that.

Overview:

Pembrokeshire is truly the Wild West for many. Being that much further on, and therefore longer to get to than The Gower Peninsula, Whitesands Bay just outside St. Davids is pretty much on the fringe. That said it gets super busy during summer with all manner of water going craft afloat. If the surf’s smaller you can guarantee it’ll be rammed. Add sunshine to the mix and it becomes more so. On quieter days it can be a good SUP surfing spot for some mellow riding. The waves aren’t super hardcore although they do tend to dump a little. A rip at the northern end can help riders get out on bigger days, if you know what you’re doing. This is where the best wave in the bay breaks. But be aware, local surfers tend to flock on good conditions. To the left of Whitesands Bay is Ramsey Island. This is where the notorious tidal race – called The Bitches – forms. Kayakers have been doing battle with this natural, tidal phenomena for years. Of late stand up paddlers have also tested their mettle. BUT, it’s not for the inexperienced and is best undertaken with safety cover.

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Innovation, progression, performance in iSUP – a homegrown brand doing more than just standard 10’6 inflatable stand up paddle boards. Spotlight on Go Race V 14′.

First let us be absolutely clear: there’s nothing wrong with staple 10’6 inflatable stand up paddle boards. These will suit the majority of paddlers and stay with them for the long haul – especially if manufacturing quality is on point, as with ALL McConks products.

There’s a lot of snobbery around relating to cost and perceived ‘cheap’ iSUPs vs more costly ones. The fact is, however, with inflatable SUP you get what you pay for. If you shell out around 200 quid on a board that’s what you get: a 200 quid board. For sure, we’ll admit some are better than others, and a good many will serve your purposes well. In these instances you’ll have made a wise purchase. If you want something ‘more’, that will last longer plus deliver more on water performance equating to enhanced fun, then that’s where premium brands come in. McConks is one of those aforementioned premium brands.

We put a lot of time and effort into sourcing the best quality materials we can; the most efficient and cost effective manufacturers; we put an awful lot of blood, sweat and tears into being as innovative as possible. Some of this may get missed with all the ‘noise’ of SUP‘s colourful world. Yet if you look deeper at what McConks provides you’ll see this innovation, progression and performance. And this is ‘stuff’ that filters down through McConks’ whole product range to benefit every paddler. You may not realise it piloting your trusty 10’6 but through development of more performance orientated boards and paddles you’re reaping the rewards.

One such case in point is McConks’ Go Race V 14′. Whilst SUP racing may not be for everyone being able to design and produce something like this board allows us to experiment, try new ideas and see how far we can push inflatable stand up paddle board boundaries. In doing so we may hit on new ideas and concepts that transfer to the rest of McConks’ range.

With the Go Race V 14′ we’ve incorporated double carbon stringers to increase stiffness. Through the tail section there’s a hard release rubber edge (found on some of McConks’ other iSUPs also). This aids unsticking of the tail for increased acceleration and less drag. Upfront, on the Go Race‘s nose, there’s also pronounced Vee which helps shed water when piercing through chop but, again, as with the tail aids overall efficiency. Combined with its flatter rocker these three elements make for a lightning quick sled – not bad when you consider it’s an air filled board.

And then there’s the fin, or more specifically the fin box. We’ve created this to be removable and come in two parts. This makes for easier transportation and storage of the V 14′ when deflated but also helps with on water performance. Fin boxes, protruding from board tails, add drag so being able to have the Go Race‘s sitting flush against the hull reduces this. The board’s pressure (rated up to 25PSI) secures the top and bottom fin box parts to start with. Then a nifty design allows a Velcro strap to run between the two sections and secure them further. As a US Box style skeg holder paddlers are free to chop and change (tune) their fin accordingly making it not only efficient but super versatile.

All in McConks’ Go Race V 14′ race SUP is top drawer when it comes to innovation and performance. We may be a small family owned stand up paddle board company but that doesn’t mean we can’t be as ahead of the curve as the bigger boys.

If you’ve got any questions relating the McConks’ Go Race V 14′ inflatable stand up paddle race board then give us a holla.

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Hot, hot, hot (again!) – weather trend as of July 4, 2020.

It’s almost a carbon copy of last week with regard to the UK’s weather. Whilst it’s not cold per se there’s certainly unsettled conditions in some areas at time of posting. A north/south divide pretty much sums up proceedings early doors but as we head ever closer to the weekend (Fri July 7, Sat July 8, Sun July 9) every indication suggestions high pressure moves in and we’ll see some scorchio conditions again. It may, in parts, get even hotter than last week.

Winds should also, by and large, stay light in most places. Of course, local effects will come in to play. Just because the forecast for your area of interest doesn’t suggest a little breeze don’t think there won’t be any – especially for coastal put ins where sea breezes are prevalent. That said, however, low gust speeds are mostly on the cards so stand up paddling without too much hindrance from Mother Nature should be the go. Best course of action is check predictions each day for the times you plan to go afloat (and where). Then make plans accordingly.

Weather plays a big part with UK SUP – if you hadn’t already guessed. Which is why we talk about it here at McConks. If you’re a newbie SUPer and not used to checking, interpreting and deciding with weather info in mind now’s the time to start. Any paddler with experience will do this to make sure they score good SUP conditions in as a safe an environment as possible. Also, if you’re looking for specific criteria, such as wave heights for SUP surfing then becoming an amateur meteorologist is good practise.

Weather for the week ahead.

It'll be a tale of two halves weatherwise this week…cool and unsettled, then very warm and settled.. here's the detail:

Posted by Met Office on Sunday, August 2, 2020