Paddleboarding - the basics

Have a go at stand up paddleboarding (or SUP as it's sometimes called), a fun new sport that combines adventure and exercise in the great outdoors.

Paddleboarding with Maizu Sup, Daventry Paddleboarding with Maizu Sup, Daventry
Plastic and harmful waste harms wildlife and our environment

Did you know?

Every hour enough plastic to fill two bin bags is washed into our oceans from canals and rivers.

How can I try paddleboarding?

The easiest and cheapest way to try stand-up paddleboarding is to do a taster session at your local club.

Typically a taster session will take between one to two hours and most people will be able to stand up by the end of their first session.

Sessions usually include instruction on water safety, how to stand up, basic paddling and self-rescue techniques.

What do I need to take with me?

Remember to take the following:

  • Spare pair of dry clothes
  • Sun cream for sunny days
  • Drinking water
  • Towel
  • Waterproofs for rainy days
  • Thermals and wetsuit/dry suit for cold weather

If you go to a local club, they will arrange your buoyancy aid.

Do I have to be fit to try paddleboarding?

The beauty of stand up paddleboarding is that anyone of any age or fitness can give it a go. The hardest part is learning how to stand up, but once you've mastered the technique, you can very much take it at your own pace.

What are the benefits of paddleboarding?

Stand up paddleboarding is good for your body and soul.

It's a low-impact activity that exercises your whole body and develops your overall fitness. It can especially help to strengthen your core.

It also allows you to mindfully enjoy your surroundings in the calm environment of the water, which research has shown can help to clear your mind and reduce stress.

Do I need a licence?

Yes, you do need a licence to use a paddleboard on a canal. If you try stand-up paddleboarding with a club, they will arrange the licence for you.

If you want to go on your own, have a look at our short term licences. Our 30-day licence can be used on 30 different days throughout the year.

Where am I allowed to paddleboard?

You can use a stand-up paddleboard anywhere on our canal and river network, except for certain tunnels and aqueducts.

For safety reasons, we don't allow paddleboards to go through locks, so you will have to walk around these and rejoin the water further along.

Read through the safety guidelines and rules of the waterway for paddlers on page 55 of our Boater's Handbook

Check your route before you travel, so that you know about any permanent features, such as flights of locks, and any temporary restrictions or stoppages.

Last date edited: 3 August 2020