Paddle boarding is a water sport that is traditionally performed in the ocean. Many centuries ago it was used by ancient Hawaiian tribes, as a way to travel around and to fish. In more recent years, paddle boarding has grown to be a popular water sport, with people paddling on seas, beaches and lakes.
It is a combination of kayaking and surfing, as you stand on a board and use a paddle to push yourself forward. Paddleboards are traditionally longer, wider and more buoyant than surfboards, so can be easier to stand up – and stay up – on! You can either lie down, sit on or stand on the board, then just paddle away to your heart’s content. It is also a great way to burn off energy, as balancing requires you to engage your core. Whilst it may not be as adrenaline-inducing as other water sports, it is a fun and family-friendly activity that gives you the chance to be out in the fresh air, exploring the water.
With the United Kingdom containing over 40,000 lakes and over 200,000km of rivers, whether you’re a seasoned pro or it’s your first time, there are no shortages of places to go and paddleboard. Here is our guide to some of the best places to paddleboard in the UK.
Here at Bewl Water, you have the opportunity to come and paddleboard on the reservoir. It’s the perfect location to work on your technique – it is the largest inland body of water in the South-East after all. Set in the heart of the High Weald countryside, you can enjoy stunning views and maybe even see a trout or two! Paddle boarding is just one of the watersports that we have on offer; you can also try sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and rowing. We also host the Bewl Canoe Club. They run group-canoeing events on the reservoir and welcome people of all ages and experiences.
After your paddle, why not come and visit our Waterfront Cafe? It has a large terrace that looks over the lake and it is the perfect spot to watch all of the water sports activities that take place. The cafe offers a range of light meals, freshly baked goods and hot and cold drinks. Is it also a dog-friendly area.
Rye Watersports offers paddleboard courses from £48. You can paddle board on a picturesque lake that sits between the historical towns of Rye and Camber Sands. With no waves or tides to challenge you, this is the perfect location to begin your paddle boarding journey and get the basics under your belt. They offer their ‘Stand Up’ paddleboard school, which is BSUPA recognised. This means that all of their paddleboards are the latest standard and all of the instructors are BSUPA qualified. However, for those of you who have experience in the water, there is also the option to hire a paddleboard without a lesson.
Rye Watersports is located between Rye and Camber Sands in East Sussex. It is just a 45-minute drive away from Tunbridge Wells, just down the A21.
Mote Park Watersports Centre
Mote Park Watersports Centre is situated in Maidstone, Kent. They are a qualified RYA training centre and are renowned for the range of activities that they offer for under 18’s. Once lockdown restrictions are lifted, their youth sessions will resume this Summer. These are offered every Monday and Wednesday evening and give your children the chance to have a go at paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, raft building and more.
Lessons take place on the beautiful Mote Park Lake. When the weather warms up, they also have the option to take PADI diving courses, from the PADI open water course all the way to the PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer. Mote Park Watersports also host birthday parties for children and for adults, giving you the opportunity to all have fun in the waves together.
Kent Surf School
Kent Surf School is one of the most popular surf and stand-up paddle boarding schools in Kent, situated in Viking Bay, Broadstairs. It was set up by Andy Webb and is a family-run business. He is a trainer at the Water Skills Academy, which specialises in water sports instructor training, as well as first aid qualifications. They have a highly dedicated team and classes are kept small, to ensure that every customer gets the most out of their lesson. They are also known for their paddleboard tours, taking customers around the stunning Thanet coast and the idyllic areas that surround it. The tour takes just over two hours and can also be taken in a kayak.
Paddle Boarding In The United Kingdom
Wast Water, Cumbria
Nestled in the western fells of the Lake District, Wast Water is a spot that must be seen to be believed. As you paddle along you’ll take in the sights of the Great Gable, Kirk Fell and Scafell Pike, which is England’s highest mountain. It is such a stunning view that it topped the leaderboard in the ITV show ‘Britain’s Favourite View’. With over twenty years of experience behind them, their team of instructors run classes that are three hours long, providing you with a foundation of knowledge and skills, so that you’ll be well on your way to paddle boarding independently.
Penzance is a seaside town on the Cornish coast. It is a town with a rich history, tranquil villages and impressive views. It is the perfect location if you want to paddleboard and feel like you’re on holiday at the same time. The Hoxton Special is a school that offers watersport lessons around the Mounts Bay area, including paddleboarding, kayaking and windsurfing. As the bay is naturally protected, the water is extremely calm and flat, which makes it the perfect location for beginners. They also claim that in the Summer the water is warm enough to brave without a wetsuit – but we’ll leave that one up to you to test out!
River Wye, Herefordshire
The Wye Area attracts thousands of tourists every year. It is one of the longest rivers in Britain and is known for the watersports and outdoor recreational activities on offer, such as rafting, rowing and of course, paddle boarding. It is also a great place to see some wildlife, with tourists very likely to stumble across the large family of otters that have settled there. With prices starting at £35, Inspire2Adventure offer paddleboard lessons for up to eight people, including hen and stag groups. They also offer a half-day river tour, which is the perfect way to see the best of the River Wye. Stuck for present inspiration? What exactly do you buy the person who has everything? How about the gift of a day they’ll never forget! You can buy vouchers for a range of activities with Inspire2Adventure, including a 2-hour paddle boarding lesson.
For those of you who prefer your feet to remain on the land, at Bewl Water we have great walking and cycling trails, as well as an adventure playground for your children to explore. As the lockdown restrictions lift, for a great day out, full of fun and fresh air, come and visit Bewl Water, open seven days a week!