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Lockdown revisited | Should I still paddle? 01/11/2020.

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Am I allowed to still paddle during Lockdown #2?

We now know a little bit more about lockdown #2, and what the restrictions are on us in England (apologies to our friends in Scotland and in Wales). Whether one agrees with the lockdown or not, it is now unescapable.

So what do we know about the rules so far? We’ve summarised the guidance so far, as it pertains to paddling (taken from on 01/11/2020). Our comments are in italics. Everything else is extracted directly from

Stay at home

This means you must not leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes. These include:

  • for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home (including if your job involves working in other people’s homes). We expect Sport England to clarify what this means for paddlesports instructors and businesses soon. But it is unlikely to contradict the bullet below.
  • to exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place – with the people you live with, with your support bubble or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside).

This list is not exhaustive and there are other limited circumstances where you may be permitted to leave or be outside of your home. These will be set out in law and further detailed guidance will be provided

So you’re allowed to be outside exercising for as long as you want (none of the 1 hr recommended limits from the first lockdown), as long as you are only exercising with your family or one other person at a social distance. This makes perfect sense from a scientific point of view, because all of the evidence so far indicates that transmission is very low outdoors.

Meeting with family and friends

You can exercise or visit outdoor public places with the people you live with, your support bubble, or 1 person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside).

Outdoor public places include:

  • parks, beaches, countryside,
  • public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them), allotments
  • playgrounds

You cannot meet in a private garden.


You should avoid travelling in or out of your local area, and you should look to reduce the number of journeys you make. However you can and should still travel for a number of reasons, including:

  • exercise, if you need to make a short journey to do so

Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed. This includes holidays abroad and in the UK […] but this means people cannot travel overseas or within the UK, unless for work, education or other legally permitted reasons.

Worried about putting the emergency services or others at risk?

By virtue of spending so much time outdoors, particularly in and around the water, we know quite a few people in the emergency services, especially those with water experience (SAR, RNLI, Fire Service) especially. And the quote below reflects the general mood at the moment:

“I find it frustrating when people start to use the excuse that paddlers are putting our emergency services at extra risk! This may have been true during the first lockdown with people venturing into new sports. I feel there’s many variables this time round such as it’s winter and those that were jumping on a Lilo and being blown across the Bristol Channel won’t be so keen this time round. There has also been a great increase in awareness from social media and the RNLI etc regarding SUP safety. People are also more experienced in their new sporting ventures.
As an emergency services worker I would see cyclists at higher risk, riding during the darker nights but we wouldn’t dream of telling them to stop, just educate and that’s the key. Education, education. All sports have some sort of risk involved. I want to get into WWSUP more but I’m not going to try it during a lockdown.
Benefit V Risk and paddling during lockdown no doubt leans on the side of mental wellbeing and the importance of exercise, especially outside activities during what will no doubt be a difficult time for many.”

We can’t claim that this is a universal opinion, but it’s definitely not uncommon.

So, in our opinion and in a nutshell…

  1. You CAN keep paddling if you can walk, cycle, drive or take public transport a short distance to your put in. Short distance is not defined at this point.
  2. You can paddle alone (not recommended), with your family bubble or with one other person.
  3. There are no restrictions on how long you can exercise for, but you must be at home every night – you cannot stay away
  4. Stay safe: Autumn/winter tend to lead to more challenging paddling conditions. We all have responsibility to make sure that we don’t inadvertently put others at risk through our own bad choices. So maybe if your normal operating range is 80 – 100 extreme%, tone it down a little to 60 – 80% to keep everyone safe!

What do you think?

We asked whether people would keep paddling during lock down if they could. This group (SUP hacks) overwhelmingly subscribe to the ‘keep calm and carry on’ men, and this backs up all conversations we’ve had with people in real life.

The plot below shows the results of a poll on the Facebook group SUPhacks – a clear indication that the overwhelming majority want to keep paddling.

And with all the mental and physical health benefits being in or near water brings, it’s not surprising that people won’t to keep doing what brings them a little dose of sanity in a very unsettling world.

When Waterland at Lake 32 announced on facebook they were going to stay open so people could continue to take their exercise there, the outpouring of emotion in the comments just goes to show how very important these activities are to so many of us!

Whatever you choose to do, stay safe, be sensible, have fun, and do whatever you need to do to get through this.

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