I live and work in Bath and have done for 12 years. I hope to inspire visitors and those new to Bath to explore the city.
Published January 1st 2015
SUPing in Bath
A day in late April, breezy but sunny, and instead of working in my office I find myself paddling along on the River Avon on a large inflatable board. Stand-Up-Paddle Boarding (SUPing) has become quite a popular sport in recent years in the UK, as well as in warmer climes, such as Australia. The sport has been taken up by surfers and canoists, amongst others, and can be enjoyed in the calmer waters of inland rivers and lakes, as well as at the coast - making it more accessible than surfing. It is also another option when the waves are too poor for surfing, which can be the case in the summer season in the UK and it provides a decent, but relaxing, outdoor workout.
Myself and my partner took a two hour 'Ready to Ride' lesson with Tristan, who runs Adventure SUP and offers lessons for a maximum of six people in the Bristol/ Bath area. These usually take place near Saltford, on a relatively calm stretch of water. There are a few basics that can be taught in one lesson, such as standing up without falling off, learning how to paddle, to steer and to change direction. The hang-ten (toes off the front end of your board) is an optional extra - but it wouldn't be as much fun if you didn't fall in a few times, while trying the odd trick.
The two-hour session was long enough to practise basic skills and we gained enough confidence to feel safe on the water. Participants receive a British Stand Up Paddle Association 'Ready to Ride' Certificate if they get to grips with the basics during the session. In Autumn I returned to the river for a rental session and although there was a few months gap since my lesson it was easy to pick up where I had left off. Why not get away from the crowds and relax on the river for a few hours on a large inflatable? (oh and get in a bit of exercise at the same time....)
Lessons are reasonably priced, at £30 per adult for the two-hour session. For the lesson the board, paddle, lifejacket and wetsuit can all be provided. SUP hire sessions cost £10 for a one hour and a half session, available to those who have previously taken the two-hour lesson. As specialist equipment is expensive (at least £500 for a bottom of the range inflatable board) renting is an affordable option which enables you to get a feel for the sport.