You are currently viewing UK river SUP fun. Time to get involved?

UK river SUP fun. Time to get involved?

The enthusiasm for SUP (since lockdown staycations encouraged the masses to make best use of their outdoor space) continues to attract new converts. Arguably one of the quickest watery disciplines to pick up it’s never been easier to go for a float. There are many SUP avenues to go down but it’s inland stretches – rivers, canals, lakes and ponds – are proving to be most popular. Maybe because of the perceived lack of danger (no tides for instance), or perhaps it’s because the majority of SUP boarders live closer to these types of put in. Whatever the reason inland paddlers look set to outnumber their coastal counterpoarts by some margin.

Tapping into the beach boy SUP lifestyle.

If you’ve ever been stoked on surfing then you’ll be familiar with sliding sideways on a board. Unfortunately, work/life are prohibitive for sojourns to the coast. Even if you’ve been a wave head in the past chances are adult responsibility has put the kybosh on that. SUP can therefore help scratch an itch. And all without a wave or beach in sight!

Miles from the sea but still ‘connected’.

SUP instantly gives accessibility to the Hawaiian beach lifestyle of the 50s. Much like surfing proper does, yet without the need for certain weather conditions. Living miles from the coast, but floating around on your nearest mill pond brings many ever closer to that enviable lifestyle. And there are, of course, the health benefits of indulging in a wholesome outdoor activity such as SUP.

The river’s calling.

As paddlers improve the urge to seek new pastures (or waters) is strong. You may have been sweeping around your local, placid lake but something new may be needed. A different challenge. Yet still within easy striking distance of home.

The slightly more extreme of UK river SUP.

Any stretch of water is ripe for SUP shenanigans and river running can be as challenging as any surf break. Even a small amount of moving water will test a stand up paddler’s kills. Once those fledgling river SUP steps are dialled in, upping the ante could see riders becoming as obsessed with running rivers on their SUPs as those chasing waves.

River SUP safety first.

There’s no question any water with flowing energy can be hazardous. Rivers have their own nuances and behavior. It’s wise to seek out those with proper knowledge who are able to guide you through your first river SUP sessions. By this we’re talking qualified and experienced instructors/guides who know the path you’re going to be paddling.

Here at McConks we talk about SUP safety a lot. River paddling commands its own set of considerations so it’s good practise to take note. By all means get involved. But consider your equipment, your paddling attire, where you choose to paddle, the weather, general conditions and whether you’re up to the task. Working your way up in incremental steps to more challenging runs is best. If in doubt don’t go out!

You may also consider wearing a good quality helmet and impact protection pads. Rocks are usually abundant in rivers. And you will take a dunking. Any river paddler worth his salt will at least wear a lid.

Most river paddlers also wear PFDs for additional floatation. With a SUP quick release belt being used (a must!) should you become separated from your board a PFD will be worth its weight in gold.

River SUP doesn’t have to be extreme.

Adrenaline fuelled river paddling doesn’t need to be the main focus. You can have just as much fun on your SUP paddling calmer rivers with small amounts of flow. If it slaps a massive grin across your chops then what’s not to like?

Mellow river SUP.

If you fancy the idea of some river stand up paddle boarding then have a look at our partners. Many are qualified guides and will be able to take you through those first forays into river running. If you have any questions about river SUP get in touch. We have many contacts we can put you in touch with and are only happy to help.

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