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SUP in tropical esque conditions (right on your doorstep).

SUP can take paddler anywhere, at any time of year. The weather also plays its part. At times when it should be a bit grotty you may get lucky and discover conditions altogether more idyllic. Such as tropical esque SUP conditions on your doorstep. As is the case here, in this paddler’s from the tail end of 2021.

SUP summer 2021 – not the best on record.

It’s safe to say summer 2021 won’t be going down as one of the best weather wise. With Momma Nature seemingly in a grumpy mood most of high season it was slightly cooler than average. With dull days and those idyllic stand up paddle boarding sessions few and far between. That isn’t to say there weren’t any. There were! But you had to search for it and want it. 

Late September ’21 was pure Indian summer at its best – at least in my neck of the woods. Pleasantly warm days with oodles of sunshine, light to zero winds and (most) kids adults back at school or work. The summer silly season giving way to more space and room and less ‘traffic’ on the water. If you’re a watersports nut then it can be a pretty awesome time of year.

Caribbean paddles? Nah, just the good old UK on a warm, sunny late September SUP day.

For me, (as with a good number of others we’re aware of in similar situations) the challenges of the times we live in continued. Therefore any respite and headspace time can be nothing short of amazing. Spending time with those you love, whilst doing the things you love, and all without hassle is something to cherish. Make sure you mark the occasion when it lands in your lap.

Mellow SUP times.

On some of the most hectic days in summer you can find a quiet nook to seek out and enjoy some chill SUP time. If you know where. As the hordes all but vanished it’s arguably easier than during August for instance.

Something I do miss is foreign travel. Up until recently – as with others – getting gone was a regular occurrence. COVID and family health complications have put paid to that for a while as the world sorts itself out. One day we’ll be back but for now we have to play things very cautiously.

It’s therefore very welcome when you rock up at a local SUP put in only to find it resembling a more tropical scene. The accompanying pics don’t it justice but shallow water, with a soft sandy bottom, zero wind (or minor ruffles at best), blue skies, blazing sun and only the ambient noise of semi-regular boat traffic and wildlife really do make the whole thing resemble somewhere more like the Caribbean. And having spent considerable time on many West Indian islands I’m not just pulling this comparison from thin air. It’s based on experience…

What’s not to like about warm, shallow water, sunshine and windless paddle locations?

Boardshorts weather!

You know you’ve struck SUP gold when you’re as happy to be taking a dip (in just boardies or a thin wetsuit) as much as wanting to stay dry. Taking your time through the sesh, pulling up at various rest spots to enjoy a toe splash, watch my offspring swim and just gaze around and admire is what experiences like this are all about. It’s a cliché these days but this is about making memories – memories that’ll stick with you a lifetime.

At less hectic times of year those marine animals start making reappearances, happy to float in your vicinity, even though your craft is far larger than them. Dolphin spotting, seal watching, fish gazing and so on become more achievable when it’s quieter. Perhaps the wildlife appreciates things have slowed as well. Either way shoulder seasons are good for anyone able to making best use of.

Winter stand up paddle days can be good too!

Of course, there’ll be idyllic off season days as well. Winter can bring tits own SUP magic. There’s nothing quite like a warming glow to your face as you exit the brine on a bright winter’s day. Warming up next to a roaring fire with a beverage in hand is another scenario I’m very familiar with and like a lot. Unfortunately, the colder months are harder to get little kids in the drink. They feel the cold more. So, again, I’m glad we did what we did during this particular session. 

SUP exploration with a little friend in tow.

With us now being well-passed the halfway winter mark it’s definitely time to start looking forward and planning for spring. For those who haven’t been paddling it’s not too far away. Get the next few months done and we’ll be there. If the weather gods are kind we may have a raft of good days where it’s not too cold, the sun shines and the water’s calm. Finger’s crossed. In the meantime keep those tropical SUP visions in your head to remind of the best SUP times. There’ll be plenty more to come…

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