SUP and sign language

Jo Moseley, author, podcast host, and SUP ambassador, discussed with ASI qualified SUP coach Brian Cadwallader about making paddleboarding accessible to the deaf or hard of hearing community. Cadwallader advocated comprehensive communication, sign language interpreters, and inclusivity to enhance the experience.

Jo Moseley

Jo Moseley

Hello, my name is Jo Moseley, and I am the author of Stand Up Paddleboarding in Great Britain – Beautiful Places to Paddleboard in England, Scotland and Wales and host of The Joy of SUP – The Paddleboarding Sunshine Podcast. I am also a proud ambassador for the 2 Minute Foundation and Seaful Charity.  

Photo: Mid Cheshire SUP

One of the goals of this column is to show how inclusive SUP can be so that we can encourage others who wonder if this wonderful watersport is for them. Whilst some disabilities are more visually obvious, being hard of hearing or deaf is one that can be hidden. 

Brian Cadwallader
I was interested in speaking to ASI qualified SUP coach, Brian Cadwallader of Mid Cheshire SUP about a session with a team from the Deafness Support Network. As a not-for-profit, they aim to help people with sensory loss live healthy, independent and fulfilling lives.

They are a club based at Winsford Marina on the River Weaver and Flashes. Brian explained that many of the ways the training he already uses with Mid Cheshire SUP and the SUP Wise programme apply to any new paddler who is deaf or hard of hearing, perhaps through age-related hearing loss. 

A ‘Can Do’ attitude
The key is to get the communication right from the outset, going through directional hand signals and visual communications on land. Brian and the group planned the session together, encouraging a ‘Can Do’ attitude. He also made it as relaxing, welcoming and comfortable so the group could feel they were pushing their boundaries in a safe environment. 

Many participants used British Sign Language as their first language, so there was an interpreter on the day for the wellbeing event. 

Eleven people took part on the day with two instructors, with ages ranging from 25 to 60. The response was incredibly positive, and Brian described the atmosphere as ‘buzzing’. I think the photo speaks for itself! 

I’m grateful to Brian for speaking to me. For more info go to and for Mid Cheshire SUP,

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