On 8 March 2022, McConks Chief Exec Andy McConkey attended Westminster to take part in a stand up paddle board (SUP) safety event.
MP for Cheltenham, Alex Chalk, QC hosted the event as one of his constituents, Simon Flynn, sadly died whilst on holiday in Cornwall in August 2020 after the paddleboard ankle leash he was wearing became trapped underneath a boat mooring and he was unable to free himself.
The weight of the moving tidal water meant that Simon was unable to reach his ankle and release the strap; the coroner declared there was “an issue for manufacturers to look at”.
SUP is the fastest growing water sport in the UK, supporting the desire to be adventurous, explore the water and environment and has both physical and mental wellbeing benefits. Although there has been a great deal of effort by individual groups to ensure SUP safety, the growth of the sport, equipment advances and accessibility has not been matched.
In 2021 there were over 100 reported paddleboard incidents and sadly, five people died following a paddleboard accident.
In response, MP Alex Chalk is backing a campaign, supported by Simon’s best friend Sam Foyle, that calls for the introduction of both a quick-release waist belt and an ankle leash to come as standard with all new SUP boards and for leash safety information to be featured at the point of sale.
To launch the campaign, the MP hosted a reception in Parliament on 8 March to bring together water safety organisations, governing bodies, training providers, manufacturers, retailers, Parliamentarians and families of victims to discuss SUP safety and awareness, as well the introduction of a quick-release waist belt and ankle leash as standard.
McConks has for two years been at the forefront of paddleboard safety, by including an easy to use quick release safety belt in every paddleboard package we sell, alongside publishing regular articles about paddleboard safety, and selling a variety of SUP Safety upgrades for those people taking part in more extreme SUP activities.
Hear what Andy had to say:
Find out more about the campaign and event here.
We send a massive well done and thanks to Sam Foyle (Simon’s best friend) who has put so much energy into this campaign and got everyone talking about it. And a massive thanks to Andrew Kay from Planet Radio and Alex Chalk MP for supporting it and making this event happen