Summer’s over. Bring on Autumn SUP

Summer’s over. Bring on Autumn SUP

So that’s it. Summer is really over now. How can we tell? Because lake 86 is closed until Easter 2021 – and that’s our signal that summer has indeed ended. It didn’t feel like it was time to close in the mid afternoon last Sunday. Water temp was still 18 degrees, air temp was still 20 degrees (in the sun!), and it still felt like summer. But by later afternoon, it was chilly, and feeling less like summer.

It’s been a really strange year for hire and launch businesses (well – for everyone really), and businesses that have done well this year, have needed effort, planning, flexibility, adaptiveness, invention, humour, professionalism and interpretation to make this year work. Luckily, Cotswold Water Park Hire have got all of those skills in buckets (1).

Massive thanks to the guys and gals there this year. As always, Tom and Josh assembled a friendly and fun team, who are able to deal with whatever gets thrown at them, at them. And they have the patience of angels. More than once have we turned up unannounced to drop off a board or paddle for someone to collect, or given them 30 minutes notice of paddlers coming to demo a board. All dealt with an eye roll and a smile 😉

But this year deserves a little more thanks than normal. During early phases of lockdown easing, we were lucky enough to be invited to use the lake before it was open for launch or hire. That was a massive privilege, and gave us a huge mental health boost just when it was needed – which was why Tom and Josh offered it. They knew how important water time was to our lives, and very generously made it happen. It was such a strange time. We were elated, we wanted to share photos of how great it made us feel, and what an amazing time we were having. But at the same time we were really aware how lucky we were, and how others weren’t as lucky. We didn’t want to a) brag, b) make it difficult for the Lake 86 whilst they were figuring out how to make launch safe for them to open.

But it was really appreciated, and we’ve created a gallery of photos taken this spring and summer. Turns out, we took a lot less photos than other years. And we think that’s because this year was all about enjoying the opportunities you get, rather than recording them for others to see. And maybe something to do with phones drowning as well 😉

We finished off the year with our only Mega board session of the year, but what a mega session it was!

So does SUP stop at the end of summer?

Of course it doesn’t. And never have wee need to keep outdoor activities going as much as this year. It’s going to be a long, worrying and hard winter for lots of us, so the longer we can keep paddling, keep laughing, keep socialising, the better for all of our mental health.

Lake 32 – Waterland Outdoor Activities is one answer (2). You can get winter membership for just £80, and they’re open Wed – Sun throughout the winter. There’s a even a cafe for warm drinks. New team member and SUP fanatic Dan has set up a SUP Club which will run through winter, on Thursday evenings (while its still light enough) and Saturday mornings. And maybe the odd sunrise paddle as well. Lots of fun stuff is planned, including mega board play, inflatable SUP obstacles, SUP polo, charity fancy dress events, and, maybe even some skills training.

They’re also going to act as a demo centre for us over the winter period, so if you want to demo our SUP boards, paddles or wings, Lake 32 is the destination of choice. And you never know, maybe even our eFoils.

(1) Sometimes, they even got them out of the buckets to use them

(2) we’ve focussed on our locality here. But there are also other options close to us. Happiest When Outdoors, Rapid Skills, Social SUP, SUP Stroud, SUP bath, SUP YOFI, SUP FOD are all local instructors/groups. Keep your eyes peeled for another post soon!

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