Get aboard a Paddle Board
Stand Up Paddle boarding has become an extremely popular way to enjoy our coastlines here in the UK. In particular here in Cornwall, we have seen a surge in paddleboarders and for good reason. It is a tranquil sport and offers is a fantastic way to get out and enjoy stunning natural surroundings.
These boards whether an inflatable or solid board allow the water and coastline to become your new playground. You can either sit down or stand up, meaning it’s a comfortable option for exploring. Also because the boards are so large, they are often extremely stable so it’s possible to explore the coastal waters without actually getting wet.
The seawater here in Cornwall tends to be clear allowing you to experience what is below the waters as well as the incredible coastline. You can also access many places you would not be able to by land. The dramatic coastline has many caves, secluded beaches and secret bays waiting to be explored.
Also, you do not need to have a high level of fitness to get involved. On a calm day, with no wind and still waters it is not too difficult to paddle board. The easiest way to paddle board is to sit down. By sitting down you can aid stability and this makes it easier to paddle in the wind.
What is great about stand-up paddle boarding, is it is a low impact sport that still exercises your core muscles, as this is where most of your paddle power comes from. SUP is a brilliant means of improving and maintaining fitness. If you, do it frequently enough you can improve your overall fitness levels.
As well as being an activity that is accessible to all ages, from young to old. It is a great family activity that all family members can get involved with.
Taking a gentle paddle across the calm and crystal-clear waters can be extremely calming and have a positive impact on your mental health. It is very relaxing to be out there with nature and is not too strenuous an activity.
Paddle boarding is a fantastic means of getting out on the water and allows you to explore the coastline from an alternative perspective. Being a quiet means of travel, it allows you to get up close with the local marine and bird life.
Especially now with the warmer weather and longer days, it affords more opportunities to get and explore the incredible coastline here in Cornwall. There will always be something different to see, and you never know what surprises await you on the open waters.
There are some basic safety guidelines you should follow if heading out on a paddleboard, regardless of your level of experience. It is best to be prepared:
- Check your equipment, make sure it is safe and suitable for the conditions you are going out in.
- Ensure you are dressed suitably for the weather and time of year, but most importantly the water temperature. Dress bearing in mind you could fall in. Also bear in mind what shoes you are using and if they are appropriate.
- Use an ankle leash for surf or non-flowing water and a quick release waist-belt leash for flowing water or tidal waterways. Regardless of what paddleboard you have make sure it has a leash. This will ensure you do not lose your boards and have to swim after it, even in a light breeze it can travel away quite a distance in a few seconds, or if you do get in trouble, you can use your board to keep you afloat.
- Always wear a Buoyancy Aid, lifejacket or Waist Belt PFD (Personal Flotation Device) If you should get in trouble in the water remember, Float to Live.
- Always let someone know where you are going and what time you plan on returning. Take along a phone or communication device in case you should get into trouble, so you can call the coastguard. Also, you can get some great photos on the water with your phone. Just make sure to keep it in a waterproof pouch.
- Check the weather forecast and tides before heading out. You don’t want to be caught out and caught in unsavoury conditions that could be dangerous.
- Avoid offshore winds, as they can quickly carry you out to sea. Making for a lengthy and tiring paddle back to shore.
- If new to an area, talk to locals to get the lie of the land. Obviously, they will know the area best, have insider knowledge and can advise you of any hazards or local effects that could be an issue.
- Look to paddle in a group or with someone else. Not only is it safer but more fun too.
- If you should get into any danger, please remember to keep calm. Try not to stress or panic this just wastes time and energy. Take stock of the situation and figure out what you need to do.
- If using an inflatable board, have you got a repair kit in case you get a puncture. Simply carrying some duct tape or a puncture repair kit could be invaluable.
- Take along a dry bag with plenty of water, snacks, sun cream, spare clothes, warm clothes, towel, hat/gloves, insect spray and antiseptic wipes. It is best to be prepared.
There are some incredible spots around Cornwall to launch your paddle board and explore, catering to both beginners and seasoned paddleboarders.
If you are new to paddle boarding, it is best to find somewhere sheltered from the wind and currents, and with calm as possible waters as it makes standing on your paddleboard easier. The best places tend to be estuaries, creeks or lakes, as there is less chance of waves. We would suggest:
- The Gannel Estuary, Newquay, North Cornwall
- The River Fowey, South Cornwall
- The Helford Passage, West Cornwall
- Maenporth Beach, Falmouth, South Cornwall
- Harlyn Bay, near Padstow, North Cornwall
- Mounts Bay, Marazion, West Cornwall
- Carbis Bay, St Ives, West Cornwall
For the more experienced paddle boarder, try out these spots:
- The Camel Estuary, North Cornwall
- The Lizard Penisula, West Cornwall
Some of the best areas for exploring, are:
- Porthcurno Beach, South Cornwall
- Sennen Cove, South Cornwall
- Portreath, North Cornwall
- Porthallow, The Lizard, West Cornwall
- Porthpean Beach, South Cornwall
If you do not have a paddle board and are interested in trying it out, there are plenty of places throughout the county that hire boards, as well as offering tuition and tours.
Please be aware that if paddling in certain areas you may require a license particularly if using canals, rivers and lakes. British Canoeing provides the most comprehensive license for paddling on rivers and Lakes and you can also see what parts are not included as part of their license before buying. You do not need a license if paddle boarding in the sea you just need to have a good level of competency as a paddler before heading out, as you will have to manage tides and waves.
We hope you enjoy your time on the water and capture some great photos.