Paddlebaording has gone viral. Everyone wants to buy kit. Good suppliers have struggled to keep up with demand and it's difficult to get a lot of boards at the minute. Plastic production is through the roof and unless you have preordered a board and are willing to wait, stock is limited.
Buying your own kit is an exciting opportunity to be able to explore the world in a different way. Life on the water is very relaxing. Everyone that comes out on lessons says at the end, "Ally I absolutely loved that. It was so calm and relaxing."
Often that's because on beginner sessions we're out on flat calm water that makes it much easier to balance on your board. Some cheap manufacturers are producing boards that maybe aren't as good as they look so be careful what you buy. The difference between a good board and a cheap one, is stability often because of pressure on the kit and ride quality. If you buy cheap kit, it is usually single skinned plastic that isn't really designed to last. Sometimes it will be called dual laminated and it might be, but it's made of poor quality material. Often these boards flop in the middle and it can be very difficult to stand up on them because they aren't rigid enough.
Please when you are buying kit do some research about the brand before you buy. If you see a cheap deal online there's always a reason for it. Sometimes people buy cheap kit because it does a job or gets you started, but my personal feeling is that in water sports you can't think like that. It could be a matter of life and death, being warm or being cold and ending up with the wrong size of board for your height and weight. Speak to a retailer. They know the sport and know the kit. Paddleboards are not one size fits all. Some boards can only handle 80kg, others 180kg. You need to find out what might suit before you buy. Don't take a gamble and just choose something cheap.
Part of the reason we retail kit now is because we want people to be educated around boards that they may buy. We aren't prepared to sell cheap boards for a quick buck. There's nothing worse than doing lessons and trying to help people paddleboard when the board they have just isn't right for their shape and size. It's frustrating for the client. You don't want to spend hundreds of pounds on something that isn't right. Even if you don't buy Anomy, Gladiator or Sea Lion with us, we'll happily tell you where else you can go locally or online for other good brands that are worth looking into. Speaking to others can be good as well, but... sometimes people buy rubbish kit and think that it's ok and then tell you to do the same. Remember, everyone is different.
At Glasgow Paddleboarders Co we pride ourselves on education around water safety and this is vitally important when doing not just paddleboarding, but any water based activity. We are an affiliated SUP school with Water Skills Academy and safety must come before anything else. What to wear is important for sure, but even more so is knowing that if you go out on your board, you can get back on it, or can do that at a minimum with assistance. Getting onto a board isn't difficult if you have the correct technique, but it can take some people a bit of practise before they feel confident at self rescuing. Others, fall off and get straight back on without any hassle at all. So absolutely you MUST know your limits. If you're not sure book in for a lesson so you can try it out.
Bridget and Sofia learning about rescue techniques on a lesson.
If you are out and about on a board think very carefully about deep water. Being in the water with or without a buoyancy aid is fine when you can swim. Buoyancy aids help to keep your body higher in the water meaning that you should be able to get your hips up easier when pulling yourself back onto the board. We always recommend wearing something. The bylaws of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs mean you need to have some form of life saving equipment on your "craft". The police boat does patrol from time to time and will take you off the water if you don't have a buoyancy aid with you.
Remember that the water is usually colder than the air temperature. Cold water shock is a very real and serious thing. When you get cold, your legs and arms become weaker because your body makes all your blood run to your major organs. Trying to get back on a board when you're tired can be difficult especially when you're cold.
Loch Lomond Rescue Boat's campaign on cold water shock
Paddleboarding is an amazing and fun sport and will be enjoyed by everyone that likes exploring and getting outside. This summer is likely to be very busy with people staying at home for the summer.
Keep yourself right.
Learn about self rescue.
If you're not sure, book a lesson.
Know your limits.
Watch this video below to see different types of rescue on the water. A real life example.