We’re in lockdown. No paddling (at least in the UK). But. If you could get out and SUP, where is the first place you would head for on this easter weekend?
We asked some of our valued contributors to SUP Mag UK magazine for their answer and starting tonight and over the Easter weekend, we will feature those answers from the four corners of the planet.
Paddlers will feature in the order they sent their replies.
We have to somehow get through this difficult period together, so let’s give each other hope that the world hasn’t ended and that there will be time when we are free to paddle wherever once again.
Saunton, Devon, UK
I’d head straight to Saunton. Long, easy rides in the sun. Weaving through the crowds and trying to get some time on the nose. It’d be so good to feel the water on my feet and the salt on my skin.
Then after chilling with mates at the beach it would have to be a bag of of chips and a home made fishcake from Squires in Braunton.
Every day I spend time by the sea. Sometimes surfing, sometimes stand up paddle boarding or maybe just walking the dog along the beach, and every day the sea inspires me. Since graduating in Fine Art at the time of Brit Art and studying under some of the YBAs I have been fascinated by paint, light and by the juxtaposition between the paint and the surface its applied to. Like a walk along the beach, this is never exactly the same twice.
The Lachines, Quebec, Canada
The Lachines are my favorite place to go SUP, and there are a lot of great waves out there that you can access paddling down and paddling in – if you have the skill set to make it through a kilometre long class 4 with overhead crashing waves. But one of the waves requires a jet ski. When you flush off the wave, you cannot get back to it without a lift back upstream, and this breaks the social distancing rules (I expect in five years time, we’ll have the first hunger games to commemorate those that died in this time). So I dream about this wave, and I wait for better time so that I can go out and surf it again.
Corran Addison is a regular contributor to the SUP Mag UK magazine and owns Soul Waterman
Cerdegionshire, Wales, UK
We tend to make plans for trips quite late, so although we were probably going to go away over the kids’ Easter break, we hadn’t decided where to go before it became apparent that COVID19 was going to stop us going anyway!
If it was warm enough we were thinking about heading back to Cerdegionshire and camping. We last visited in Easter 2017 – it was cold (it was the beast from the east year) so we rented a cottage. The cold, coupled with the age of the boys meant that we didn’t really paddle that much. However, the paddling that we did gave us enough of a taste to know that we wanted to go back! The coastline is stunning – rugged and full of nature. Just the way we like it. Mwnt was probably our favourite paddle location, but it’s hard to choose a favourite, when you’re in paddle nirvana.
If we didn’t manage to go away, then the other place we’d choose to paddle is our second home, Cotswold Water Park Hire – lake 86. They were our very first demo centre, and being on our doorstep, we’re often found imposing on Tom and Josh’s patience, swimming, paddling-ing, yoga-ing with Kathy, and barbecuing for hours at a time!
Andy is the Director of young upstart SUP brand, McConks.
He has been a keen windsurfer, surfer and SUPper for decades, although family life plus running McConks means that he doesn’t spend as much time on the water as he would like.
Seven Sisters, River Cuckmere, East Sussex, UK
As soon as this dark cloud passes I will be back over to the Seven Sisters, River Cuckmere (BN25 4AD) It’s the water home of Neptune SUPs and was where our first ever board touched water, now used for testing, demos and my go to place to clear my head. It has loads to offer; from a land locked section that’s great for newbies, going down to the Sea or go the other way and paddle for miles inland, passing villages whilst being surrounded by amazing countryside views. Voted one of the top 10 inland paddles in the UK and anyone that’s been there will know why. Hopefully see you back on the water soon (but not now).
Damian founded and runs Neptune SUP. Based on the south coast of the UK, the sea has always been a part of Damian’s life. Coming from a Skateboarding, Surfing, Windsurfing background from way back in the day, he have seen the SUP market grow over the last few years. https://www.neptunesups.com
Weymouth, Dorset, UK
Easter holidays and what better place for my family and I to enjoy SUPing than in sunny Weymouth.
It’s the start of the new tourist season and the resurrection of energy and life as the town awakens from its Winter slumber. Love or hate it the bucket and spade culture that Weymouth seaside town and harbourside enjoys is alive and kicking, in all its traditional glory. For me there is no better way to see the rebirth of all the fun than from the sup board. To float in the atmosphere of the quirky quayside music festival, Pavilion fairground, and admire the cute donkeys with the backdrop of the world famous Jurassic coastline to frame the bay is simply delightful.
For the physical paddling experience however I am spoilt, my favourite downwind run Portland to Ringstead, Bowleaze surf, race training at the sheltered Weymouth bay or family fun at Weymouth sands. I realise how genuinely lucky I am when I answer the question where would I want to SUP this weekend, the answer is at home.
Elaine owns and runs Dorset Sports Physio, based in Weymouth community college sports centre. She offers sports physiotherapy, biomechanics and coaching to the Dorset communities. Elaine’s specialist interest is tri sports and SUP, not only as a competitor but also through her work as a coach and physio. Elaine’s specialist work with the lower quadrant has helped her achieve advanced practice recognition in hip and pelvis and works closely alongside Dorset’s expert hip surgeons and lower limb specialists. Elaine’s facilities offer a large private treatment room, three sports halls, a fully equipped gym, sports pitches, and also racquet courts across the two sites. Elaine also has a hydrotherapy pool and Pilates studio off campus. @dorsetsportsphysio
Greatstone-on-Sea, Kent, UK
If we could go paddling this Easter weekend it would be at our club, The Varne Water Sports Club on the Kent coast less than a mile away from where I am writing this under COVID lockdown. The photo below was taken on a freezing cold February morning off the Varne with the usual SUP suspects, Jane, Ant and Mark.
The bay offers very safe SUPing and touring up to Dungeness point a nice two hour round trip between RNLI stations of Littlestone and Dungeness. With some fantastic local funding and help from willing volunteers (unpaid instructors), all our lessons and activities on the water are free. As much as we all want to get back on the water the whole club is behind the NHS and all the people trying to beat this virus.
Anni Ridsdill Smith
Bath Place Wharf, Essex, UK
If I could get out and paddle where is the first place I would head to this Easter weekend?
I’d walk out of my front door, walk a few steps and launch off Bath Place Wharf, where I live. I’d paddle through Maldon Town Harbour past the historic Thames Barges at the Hythe, as they get ready to sail, and out into the Blackwater Estuary.
The tide would be lapping gently over the the mud and the salt marshes would be alive with birds. I’d paddle past the town’s promenade park, where people would be watching me as they eat their icecreams, and I’d head out over the causeway to Northey Island, where the Battle of Maldon was fought against the Vikings in 991.
Then I’d paddle round the island and head over to the far shore, to take a look at the beach huts on stilts and jump out at the beach for a cream tea at Tiptree Jam’s View River cafe. I’d watch the majestic Thames Barges sailing past and I’d say a silent “hello” to the skippers and their day-trippers. Then I’d jump back on my board and paddle home, drinking in the salt air and feeling lucky, very lucky indeed.
Anni has been enjoying SUP racing for many years and was delighted to compete in the UK’s first ever ladies invitational SUP race at the Southampton Boat Show in 2013. She manages the Frangipani SUP race team in Essex and is really keen to help people get into SUP racing, particularly women. Anni is also a Director and trainer with the British Stand Up Paddle Association BSUPA and a #ThisGirlCan Ambassador for SUP in Essex. https://frangipanisup.com
Isle of Wight, UK
It’s certainly a trying time for all us paddling enthusiasts. Whilst we know the government guidance allows getting out for exercise, I’m sure many of us have wrestled with the question of whether that could legitimately include paddling. But, rightly or wrongly, knowing the power of perception and not wanting to be seen as flaunting the rules, I’ve made a tough decision to leave the SUP in the garage for the time being.
As such, I’m left with my imaginations of where I could be paddling in this glorious weather of the Easter weekend. And one of my favourite paddles that comes to mind is my as-yet unfulfilled challenge to paddle all the way around the Isle of Wight.
I’ve tried it twice before with my good paddling friends, Sam, Ben and Stu, but we’ve been foiled by the changeable sea conditions on both attempts. But they have been thoroughly enjoyable experiences all the same.
In our last effort we set out to circumnavigate the island (roughly 100km) over two days. At the end of the first day we found ourselves a spectacular spot to camp on a remote pebble beach on the south side of The Needles. Surrounded by 100ft cliffs, only accessible by sea, we enjoyed a driftwood campfire and slept under the stars.
The next day, high winds and sea swells foiled our efforts to complete the home stretch to Bembridge. But I’m confident when this lockdown is finally over we’ll get back out there and complete our mission. Hopefully camping at that exact same spot again.
In the meantime, be patient and take care everyone.
Pampus Island, Netherlands
I am heading out to Pampus Island: https://www.pampus.nl/en/. It is an island about five kilometres from my house at the IJsselmeer, the huge inland lake in the Netherlands. As there is no tourism or boats allowed to dock there and the only restaurant on the island is closed, it will be like it used to be hundreds of years ago. I might even take my board on shore and go for a little hike on the abandoned island. Weather looks great for the weekend and I am so grateful we don’t experience a full lockdown in The Netherlands. This might even be the best time for me to go out and explore new routes I can organise later on if I may open up again.
The Amsterdam city waters are locked down all Easter weekend but we have enough options out of Amsterdam to head to and bring some drinks and food for a short break! I will be paddling after Easter again and I am also taking people out with me privately, maximum two persons, as we are allowed to go out with three at a time as long as we keep enough distance. This isn’t that hard while paddling and going out for a paddle keeps you sane in these scary times.
Morene Dekker – M&M SUP Amsterdam – www.mm-sup.com firstname.lastname@example.org +31 (0)6 2120 2222 facebook.com/mmsup M&M UP Stand Up Paddling Amsterdam is open for a variety of SUP classes from April – October. You can either book one of the group classes or contact them for a private sup class or suptour. In season you can either book a session in Amsterdam or at the IJburg beach. It is also possible to book tailor custom made multiple day tours if in Amsterdam longer and want to see more of the city and the surrounding area.
Bala, Wales, UK
Well we are in Lockdown, my boards in the shop getting a new fin box glued on (it took a beating on the New Zealand white water river this last trip) and it’s the furthest and the longest time I have been without my board. Sad days indeed.
So, I have been asked where I would go for Easter if I wasn’t locked In, if I was choosing a place to travel to camp and paddle for Easter. It would be Bala, why else do you think I live here. Right on the edge of Snowdonia National park, full of great walks, mountain bike riding and amazing scenery for the times when you aren’t paddling.
Llyn Tegid at Bala is ideal for SUP paddlers, two campsites entry direct to the lake’s foreshore and one a very short walk away, the lake is the deepest natural lake in Wales, pretty cold throughout the year, when its windless its lake a mirror and stunning to be out on. However, Llyn Tegid gets hammered by the winds, it’s a great lake for sailing, and if you’re in the wrong part of it when the wind starts blowing paddlers can often find out how good or not very quickly.
The local rivers offer some of the best white-water action in the country, The Welsh National white water is about 6km from town and then there is also The Mill at Llangollen approximately 35 minutes away.
So Bala covers all the bases for me, white water river during the day and an early morning or late evening lake paddle for good measures.
Tony Bain is a New Zealand born, fully qualified SUP instructor, owner of Wales based Green Dragon Activities and SUP explorer of rivers and lakes. If you like the sound of a trip like this and fancy learning some of the skills that are involved with packing and planning for a SUP adventure then look us up and we can take you on a micro adventure here in the UK and help you hone the SUP adventurer inside – www.greendragon activities.co.uk