With so many new paddlers taking to the water this year, there have been a few near misses. And things can go wrong for relatively experienced paddlers as the recent tragedy on the Camel Estuary shows.
We’ve been talking to a few others in the industry over the last few months about our responsibilities as SUP ambassadors and as a brand. Needless to say, some are keen to talk about this, others are less keen. We want to launch a SUP safety year in partnership with all of the major brands and all of the UK homegrown brands for 2021. However, doing something on that scale, and doing anything by committee takes forever. So whilst that idea ferments and slowly develops, we’re paying someone to start to write and gather the best of the existing safety content and information on safety products for a brand independent SUP safety page on SUPhubUK.
We’re also going to be totally overhauling our user guide to better integrate safety information with the product use information. The intention is for that to be structured in terms of a paddler’s progression and development, so that timely information from the user guide is sent by email to our customers at the time at which most new customers would want it.
The other thing we’re going to be doing in 2021 is only shipping our SUP packages bundled with quick release waist belt leashes. We’ve only ever shipped our packages with quality coiled leashes, but with more and more people taking to flowing rivers and fast flowing estuaries, now is the time to move to the next step up, and only use quick release belts with the leashes. Obviously, there’s a little education needed for our customers on how to safely use waist belts, and why they’re important. So we need to get that in place before we make the switch. We also want to work with waist belt manufacturers, to get all the features we want. We’ve started that process now, but it will take the winter to get the belt we want into production in the quantities we need. In the meantime, safety belts are a bolt on that anyone can purchase when they buy any of our SUP boards.
Finally – just a thanks from us at McConks. We know that our customers are great safety ambassadors, and that many of you are generous with your advice and time for beginners looking for advice – both on our facebook groups and in person.