The first thing that you may have noticed is that being a new sport, no one has actually fixed a name for it. You may see it called SUP, SUPing, stand up paddling, stand up paddle surfing, paddlesurfing, paddleboarding, stand up paddleboarding: it’s all the same thing!
I want to have a go
There are a number of places in the UK to try paddlesurfing. It is a great idea to start with a lesson that will take you through the basics of the sport. It is important to learn at a BSUPA recognized club. A course include:
• Where and how to stand on the board
• How to hold the paddle
• How to turn around
• How to paddle
A great place to start is at X-Train, West Wittering. We offer a Learn to Paddlesurf Course covering everything mentioned above. It lasts 2 hours and costs £45. We provide all the equipment, including a hot shower and tea / coffee. All you need to bring is a towel! X-Train is run by Simon Bassett who is a BSUPA head coach. As well as running paddlesurf courses, X-Train trains BSUPA instructors.
Why Paddlesurf in West Wittering
West Wittering is one of the most scenic beaches on the South Coast. Placed right next to the mouth of Chichester Harbour, it offers stunning views across to Hayling Island and is the only beach with white, soft, clean sand for miles around!
West Wittering is ideal for learning to SUP. The sandbars create tidal lagoons so that complete novices can go through the basics of the sport without having to worry about waves throwing them off the stand up board.
Chichester Harbour was designed to be explored by paddleboard. It is probably one of the most relaxing things you can do in the area. The peacefulness from the water really does make you wonder if you are in fact in the UK!
Once you have progressed past the basics and are ready to catch some waves, the sandbars in West Wittering once again can come in handy. At high tide, when there is a decent swell, the sandbars provide perfect paddleboard waves that are ideal for getting to grips with basic riding and turning.
Why is everyone taking up Paddleboarding?
Most importantly, paddlesurfing is not anywhere near as condition dependent as other sports. For windsurfing and kitesurfing you need wind, for surfing you need waves, but paddlesurfing can be done in flat water, waves, wind or no wind. This means that it lends itself very well to the UK’s changeable weather conditions!
The boards are fairly large and so it’s easy to learn the basics without taking too many dunkings. Also, the large size makes it easy to catch very small waves – once again, perfect for the UK!
Paddlesurfing gets you very fit. The paddling motion gives you a great core workout – when you come in after a long session, you can definitely feel it, and let’s face it, it’s a lot more fun than going to the Gym!
You don’t need much equipment: 1 board, 1 paddle, 1 wetsuit, done! Compare that to windsurfing: board, sail, mast , boom, extension, base, harness, wetsuit, not to mention lots of rope, footstraps etc…. This keeps paddleboarding affordable.
What size board do I need to start?
It helps to start on a fairly large board (around 12 foot) – the 11’0 NSP
at £425 for instance is a great choice. Don’t think for a second that these large boards don’t perform – the shaping makes them very agile in the biggest of waves!
What paddle should I get?
Full carbon paddles like the Kialoa shaka pu’u
are great. They are very stiff, light and offer a lot of performance to your paddling. However, you can save quite a lot of money when you start if you go for an alloy paddle like an Ainsworth paddle