At Glasgow Paddleboarders Co everything we do is centred around getting people out on the water to feel safe and happy but also to engage others in community. Covid 19 has been a real challenge for all of us especially socially, but SUP has given us the ability to engage with others because it is:
B) Socially distant.
We created our Glasgow Paddleboarders group on Facebook nearly 3 years ago and it‘s fair to say things have boomed since then. The Facebook group is the social aspect of everything that we do. You can sign up for social events for free or rent a board if you don’t have your own kit, assuming that you can self rescue. The SUP school is a way to get out, get some instruction and learn the basic skills of paddling and rescuing before coming on events. These social events are designed to let folk have fun and give the instructors a night off!
It’s also a place to try out kit and think about what paddleboard might be right for you. We’ve worked hard to be able to retail get kit from different brands that we trust and have good relationships with.
Maybe you want a Sea Lion or love the designs of the Anomy. Or actually, they‘re outwith your budget so you go to something like Gladiator or Sandbanks, or another brand around the £400-500 mark. There are a lot of brands out there. Be careful with what you choose. Do your research first. Get in touch with others in the group and see what boards they have too. Trying stuff first usually gives you a good idea of what is right for you.
The Government restrictions further relaxed last week around socially distant sport so we had 30 available spaces for our first inter local authority area paddle of 2021. The tickets didn’t last long and sure enough we had 30 people out circumnavigating Inchcailloch off the coast of Balmaha. Beautiful night for it too! One of the most exciting things about the paddle on Friday was that 15 of the 30 people on the trip had come to learn how to paddle and rescue via the school. Maybe some of them will be the next instructors!
Don’t be fooled by Loch Lomond’s glassy water. The refracting wind from local valleys means that every corner you turn around the islands could mean that the wind has changed direction. The rangers have more boats on the water for this summer than ever before because of the upsurge of people buying not just inflatable paddleboards, but also kayaks.
Always, always, always check the weather before you go out. Wind speed and gusts are essential to learn about. As a thumb of rule when it is more than 10mph forget it. Trying to batter through winds of more than that is just a fight and you spend loads of time on your knees at the front of your board fighting the chop. The Met Office App is a great tool. Reading the weather from the shore is important too. Nothing beats the naked eye and reading the water from the side. If you plan a trip you might have plan A in your head but often plan Z arrives before you’ve even put your board in the water.
Prepare yourself for the worst conditions and that way you are always going to be prepared for what comes at you.
If you are unsure about paddling in big bodies of water, of which Scotland has many, then paddling in a group is an invaluable way to get experience. There are various SUP groups forming all over the place.
Tap into one and meet some others that can help you out on the water. Below are a list of some other central/west side groups that might interest you.
Paddlefast’s SUP club
Girls SUP Club (Scotland)
SUP HUB Scotland is also a great group to find out what some of the SUP businesses in Scotland offer. Its also a great place for you to put up kit you want to sell or look for stuff to buy. ✌🏼
It‘s exciting to watch the sport grow. Lots of boards out and about.
Stay safe. Read the weather.
Know your limits.
📸 Various members of Glasgow Paddleboarders