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Stand Up Paddleboarding

Living in a capital city is no barrier to trying out one of the hottest watersports around: Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP).

Paul Hyman, owner and found of Paddle Club Active360, Britain’s biggest SUP club, has taken it from its original sea location and developed it into an urban watersport. And Paul is determined to make SUPing the biggest watersport in London.

“Living in London, we have the best starting point for SUP on our doorstep: the River Thames,” he says. “Countries that have longer summers and milder winters obviously have an advantage but the sport is getting bigger in more temperate climates as people realise you don’t really fall in much.”

And the fitness benefits are plentiful. SUP uses almost every muscle group in a natural way, with a lot of rotation of the upper body – good for keeping you mobile. And you’ll also develop your core muscles around the lower back and your stomach muscles; great for all- round exercise.

However, the sport delivers more than physical benefits; SUP allows you to connect with the environment in a way that other watersports don’t. “Standing up is a natural thing to do, and it’s the closest you’ll get to walking on water,” Paul says. “Participants find it to be a very relaxing sport; it’s a chilled- out experience but you’ve done some really good exercise in an outdoor environment.”

Paul has also recently teamed up with stand- up comedian – and stand-up paddler – Bill Bailey (known in SUP circles as ‘The Calm Paddler’), along with Danish designers Søren and Kira Strange, to launch ‘The Billboard SUP’ (see column).

Intrigued by SUP? Your first lesson takes place off the water, where you’ll be shown basic skills and safety aspects. After around 20 minutes, the aim is to get in the water.

Beginners start on the Thames as it’s a moderate SUP environment with currents, boats and rowers.

There are plenty of ways to enhance the SUP experience and use your new skills. This year the Big Ben Challenge returns (23 September) – a race from Putney to Big Ben. And, if your core muscles are already nicely developed, you could try out SUP yoga.

Visit www.active360.co.uk for details of classes on the River Thames.
For general information on SUPing visit the British
Stand Up Paddle Association, www.bsupa.org.uk, or Canoe London, www.canoelondon.com.

Stand Up PaddleboardingPaul Hyman