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2020: vulnerability, SUP and rediscovering your own backyard.

Based on a true story –

‘If you’re medically vulnerable then 2020 has possibly been considerably tricky. Illness that isn’t seen, unlike physical disability, isn’t often thought about by those not in similar situations. This isn’t a criticism, just an observation. For anyone with ongoing medical issues, however, it’s never too far away from your thoughts. Having had a year to adjust and begin a new way of life, post-hospital period, 2020 was to be a more relaxed affair. COVID obviously had other ideas. Living life at distance before the pandemic, because of vulnerability/susceptibility, has simply continued – and then some!

Whilst being extremely careful, pre-COVID/post-op, some things I could indulge in. For instance, dining out and visiting the local was an often chosen pastime. It’s always been a love rocking up to a pub with a roaring log fire, ‘orrible weather outside, making it all the more cosy once through the door (I’m an old romantic at heart). You may not see it but ‘proper pub’ ambience was something I enjoyed immensely. It’s a similar story with eating out at restaurants and such. That is currently all on hold as even with measures in place it’s an unnecessary risk I can’t/won’t take. It isn’t the fact I may get COVID (although that’s certainly a risk). It’s more about picking up another bug resulting in a hospital visit and therefore bringing me into contact with all manner of infections.

Holidays are another exercise off the agenda. I’ve travelled extensively, for various reasons (not just recreation). But COVID has halted this – even in the UK. At times there were possible windows of opportunity to get away this summer. And even now, as autumn rolls on and winter looms, there’s temptation to get gone – if only for a change of scene. But upon reflection it just isn’t worth it. The angst, fret, worry and possibility of not being able to make the most of even short sojourns makes it a non-starter. So my own backyard it is – at least in the short term.

This all may sound quite depressing. Yet whilst I’ve been confined to barracks it’s not all been doom and gloom. Fortunately I live next to a few different bodies of water. On top of this there’re are some great outdoor spaces that have been ripe for the picking. As this is my home it’s easy to choose times when less people are going to be about and actually get a window with nobody around. It’s also been chance to rediscover my own backyard – it’s surprising what you don’t even know is there or forget about.

Stand up paddle boarding has been epic this year (the irony). With great weather on offer plenty of opportunity for SUP sessions have been made use of. And, again, it’s surprising the amount of paddling routes you can find within a few miles of your house – even if you think you have all of them in your knowledge bank.

As it stands things don’t look like they’re about to change in the short term. But that’s OK as long as I can keep stand up paddling boarding in my own neck of the woods and getting about in the outdoors (locally). I’ll not lie: it’d be super nice to head off on a SUP/surf trip and get amongst decent surf this winter. It’d also be nice to enjoy a family meal out at a local eatery – even nabbing a takeaway coffee. But none of these things are essential in the grand scheme. I and my family have come to realise you don’t need to be schlepping round shops (not that I liked this anyway), or anywhere else like that to be honest. 90% of the places we used to go for supposed ‘essential reasons’ are not missed. It’s more the ‘nice to haves’ if you will that’d bring a nice change to the (sometimes) monotony of COVID Times.

For now doorstep SUP sessions are ‘it’, keeping my head down the rest of the time. I feel for anyone who’s in even more of a tricky situation than this and hope for everyone’s sake that things improves soon. In the meantime, stay safe, enjoy your home and surroundings (if you can) and try not to let it all get you down – sometimes hard I know…’

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Staycation 2020: why you need a McConks sup in your life – alternative uses for your stand up paddle board.

2020 looks set to be a year of the SUP staycation – if you consider that many places will still be off-limits as far as post-lockdown travel goes. Of course, you may be able to get away (if you’re lucky) to some destinations. But by and large home ground is going to the one. Which is why you need a McConks stand up paddle board in your life!

We’re not going to bang on about how McConks SUPs are better than the rest. You either appreciate our quality, how we design and manufacture, our sustainable/eco-credentials, or you don’t. But as far as owning a toy to make use of sunny days at the beach, lake, river, canal or local puddle it’s a great toy to have at your disposal. Plus, there’re more things you can do with a McConks stand up paddle board than simply paddle. As you’ll discover below…

Makeshift pub

If you have a couple of mates who fancy a well-earned pint post-paddle, and you have access to a SUP like the McConks Mega, then it might be suitable for a floating drink quaffing corner. With sunny weather on offer, this makes a delightful alternative to the tradition of supping (pun intended!) in a beer garden.

Diving platform

For those all ‘wilderness’, then using your inflatable SUP as a diving platform is worth a look. It could be you anchor off and go for a snorkel or perhaps head down to the depths a little further…You might even be into freediving?

Adventurous types out there have been know to grab the spear fishing gun and hunt down their evening meal. That’s very ‘Polynesian’ but certainly doable from atop your SUP. Just be careful you don’t shoot the wrong thing if you fancy having a bash! (Like your board or foot…).

Picnic table

Even if you’re not up a float it’s worth carting your iSUP to wherever you head for some R&R. With sunny weather in the mix a picnic can always be a nice thing to do. And your trusty stand up paddle board can always double as a picnic table.

Plenty of surface area to lay your eats and treats out whilst being wipe clean. Just make sure you remove the fins so as to keep the ‘table’ flat. Otherwise it might be a bit off kilter.

Hammock

An air fill board is soft and spongey – at least when compared to a hard shell SUP. Obviously inflating to its recommended PSI is how to eek out all of that McConks SUP performance. But ease off the gas a tad and what you get is a comfortable ‘thing’ to lie on – almost like an air bed. But certainly similar to a hammock.

You can even string up between two fixed points, via the deck’s D-rings, to get that true hammock feeling. Just watch out for the getting on and off parts which may end up featured on Fail Army!

Boat tender

If you’re fortunate to own a boat – be that full size yacht or day boat – a McConks inflatable stand up paddle board is the more wallet-friendly, environmentally greener, solution for getting back and forth between shore and vessel.

Anyone planning on using their SUP for lugging supplies back and forth will be better off with a wider/voluminous version. Once you’re done, simply deflate and stow easier than a more cumbersome tender.

Sun lounger

As with the hammock solution above if you’re out and about, soaking up some rays, then be sure to take your iSUP with you. That way you’ll have a ready made sun lounger to get some recline time. You won’t need to take additional ‘stuff’ and you don’t need to hire anything, your McConks is perfectly suitable for this kind of thing.

Inflate fully for a more rigid platform to lie on or reduce the amount of PSI for a softer sit.

Yoga platform

SUP Yoga isn’t a new thing. In fact, here at McConks we’ve been supplying specialist SUP Yoga products for a while. If a 2020 SUP staycation is your thing this year, and you practise wellness (including Yoga), then now’s the time to get involved if you haven’t done so before.

Check out the range of McConks Yoga and wellness inflatables in the shop.

Camping mat

Perhaps you’re heading off for a spot of touring SUP action with an overnight? Or maybe you’re going nowhere near the water, instead getting amongst it in the wilds and enjoying a spot of camping. In all instances, you’ll need a camping mat to even out that solid ground. Enter stage left your McConks inflatable SUP.

For those with adequately dimensioned tents you can erect and perch on top of your McConks stand up paddle board. Or alternatively, place your iSUP inside of your sleeping abode for a comfy night’s kip.

Kid’s play platofrm

Don’t know about you but we see young children loving playing aboard inflatable stand up paddle boards all the time – on land and in the water. The robust nature of a McConks iSUP makes it perfect for some bouncing action that kids love.

Afloat and it turns into a great jumping off obstacle that’ll provide endless hours of fun.

Fishing platform

SUP fishing has long been a thing but by and large has flown under the radar (unlike its sit on top kayaking brethren). Yet stand up paddle boards – particularly the wider, higher volume versions – are great as a platform where you can drop a line. It doesn’t need to be complicated either. If you want to load up with bait box, beer cooler (compulsory!), fish finder and a couple of rods ‘n’ reels then feel free. Alternatively, attach a line to the tail of your SUP, with a bit of bait attached, and see what’s enticed.

The crayfish on the barbie above is a Signal Crayfish from the River Thames. Once caught you are obliged to kill them because they’re actually alien invaders! So you can do your bit for conservation as well as have a tasty snack!

We will say if you don’t plan on eating your catch then chuck what you snag back in the drink to fight another day.

What are you alterantive used for your McConks SUP? Let us know.

For anyone thing of getting their own McConks stand up paddle boards, for a 2020 SUP staycation, as well as making the most of the outdoors in general check out the McConks web shop or give us a shout with any questions. With a McConks inflatable stand up paddle board 2020’s SUP staycation season has never looked so good!

If you enjoyed this article then be sure to check out our blog where you’ll find plenty of other good reads –

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SUP staycation 2020?

At time of writing, with lockdown restrictions eased slightly in England, it seems that planned summer holiday of SUP are no longer on the cards. Which makes sense when you think about it. Air travel isn’t exactly conforming to social distancing rules…

So will 2020 be the year of the English SUP staycation?

It could be… But even this may have caveats. Thronging beaches, full of interminglers, is also highly risky. And the last thing any county wants to do is ‘police’ once popular beauty spots – some of which are great of stand up paddle boarding.

Negatives aside, however, and if things should improve, with infection risk dropping further, then maybe your SUP staycation can go ahead. After all, the UK at large is a thing of beauty. Out in the wilds or on the water (inland or coastal) we have stunning vistas, scenery and nature to enjoy. And there’s no better way to experience many of these spots than from aboard a SUP.

With regard to many of the abundant SUP put ins around the country there’s not huge amounts of information – from a stand up point of view that is. Hopefully, McConks can begin to address this though. Look out for our bitesize SUP location guides coming soon. And fingers crossed we can all enjoy a SUP staycation this summer at least.

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Could it? Will it? Weather trend for week commencing Mon 16 March, 2020.

Could it? Will it? SUP weather trend for week commencing Mon 16 March, 2020.

Could it? Will it? The Met Office seem to think it might!

After one of the wettest and windiest weather periods ever it seems the week commencing Mon 16 March, 2020 (next week in case you missed that!) could signal proper spring-like conditions with much less in the way of breeze, much more in the way of sunshine and therefore much more reason to break the habit of hibernation, emerge into the bright and get back on that SUP horse. Well, according to the Met Office, like we said (so don’t shoot us down if it doesn’t materialise!). Check out their ten day trend vid below.

10 Day Trend 11032020

Is there settled weather on the horizon….Here's Alex with the details in this week's 10 Day Trend.

Posted by Met Office on Wednesday, March 11, 2020

If you’ve been yearning for that break in meteorological conditions then now could be your chance. Birds tweeting, blue skies (hopefully) spreading and WAY more motivation to get afloat. This may be the time to kickstart your summer of SUP, 2020.

It’s also a good time to get your McConks SUP order in. Or maybe you’re after some new paddling apparel. Either way this is just the type of weather we love in the UK as it makes stand up paddling all the more enticing.

Check out the McConks SUP shop for deals on stand up paddle board packages, paddles, paddling apparel and accessories. Don’t get caught out by not having the right SUP gear just as the weather Gods serve up some much need winter respite.