For obvious reasons we’ve held off on publishing articles and posts about overseas SUP travel. But as we emerge from lockdown, and some foreign destinations have opened (and continue to open) up, is it now time to consider hopping onto the continent (or further) for a spot of warm (possibly tropical) stand up paddle boarding?
Paddling in the UK is one thing – especially when the sun’s blazing – but there’s nothing quite like guaranteed warm weather where only boardies or a swimming cozy are needed. Days like this in Blighty can often be few and far between – especially if you get a summer like the one we’ve been having in 2021. Compare this to say Greece or Croatia (a firm favourite of ours by the way) and it’s a different story.
Not only will you find pleasantly warmer air temperatures in foreign climes but usually the water will be well above the mercury levels you’ve been experiencing back home. This makes it extremely enticing to not only paddle on top of the brine but also taking a dip in it. There’s nothing quite like diving off your SUP and plunging below the surface of balmy water. It also makes things like learning new stand up paddle boarding skills all the more alluring as the fear of falling into the cold drink is non existent.
But what about getting there with kit?
The beauty of owning an inflatable stand up paddle board is that it packs down to a neat and compact package. When jetting off to sunnier destinations this is most welcome. Unlike hard boards, where it’s impossible to keep things small (as well as the added headache of potentially having your hard shell SUP dinged) your iSUP’s bag will fit everything needed inside: paddle, board, leash, fin(s), repair kit and a whole host of other paraphernalia. The right inflatable SUP board bag can accommodate your other belongings. So instead of needing a suitcase simply use your SUP’s carry all for this.
Check in and avoiding groan inducing excess baggage fees becomes a thing of the past (fingers crossed). And, of course, when you actually arrive at the destination in question, you’ll have your gear, that you’re familiar with and then be able to make use of any stretch of water you see fit.
One potential pitfall is losing your iSUP in transit. Unfortunately, this can happen with your standard luggage as well and is a risk for sure. It doesn’t happen often though and even when things go astray belongings are usually returned quick smart. We have it on good authority that when a friend of ours travelled to the Canary Islands with stand up paddle boarding gear it ended up on the wrong plane and arrived at a completely different destination in the wrong country a potential nightmare scenario. Yet within 24 hours the whole caboodle had been delivered back to its owner and even remained unscathed. This was particularly surprising considering it was a hard SUP and had been round the world! As we said above an inflatable stand up paddle board won’t succumb to such potential damage so there’s a bit more peace of mind in travelling with air boards.
Of course, these days there are plenty of stand up paddle boarding hire companies around the globe. You could forgo travelling with your gear and just rent on the ground. Some of these companies even let you take the kit offsite – providing you take out the relevant insurance. But even then it’s another’s piece of equipment that you’re ultimately responsible for. This isn’t as stress free as having your own kit.
Ultimately traveling abroad with SUP gear is slightly more hassle than if you don’t. But there are considerable advantages in having your equipment there with you. An iSUP makes everything simpler but risks do still exist. Perhaps hiring may be the best option for you or maybe you’re willing to give it a punt and enjoy some overseas SUPing…