On a stormy bank holiday Monday we were looking for a new adventure activity to have a go at. As the rain kept beating down on and off we decided to head for the water and decided to finally give Stand Up Paddling a try! After all, if we were going to get wet we wanted to do it on our own terms whilst having fun!
What is Stand Up Paddling?
Stand Up Paddling or SUP comes from the much more tropical and exotic location of Hawaii, a far cry from Lancashire’s chilly victorian beach resort, but yet one of only a few places in the UK to try this developing sport out!
Hoe he’e nalu, to give it it’s Hawaiian name, is an offshoot of surfing and also includes the similar activity of Stand Up Paddle surfing too. It’s basically like a surfboard but bigger, thicker and with much more rounded edges to give maximum stability.
The rider stands up in the middle of the board slightly towards the back end and propels themselves along with a long scoop like paddle whilst facing forwards. As a sport Stand Up Paddling began to take off around 2005, but the concept of standing up and paddling dates back to ancient times when riders would stand in their canoes whilst navigating rivers.
Paddling on the mirror like lake!
Initially we intended to do some kayaking but to be totally honest when it comes to Kayaking we are more interested in something a bit more exciting and adventurous than just paddling around a lake. In fact we are in the process of sorting out some lessons on a local river!
So when we heard that this same park does Stand Up Paddling we took the opportunity to do something for the first time that we had always wanted to try. What was pretty cool was that after brief instruction, how to stand on the board, paddling, kneeling etc, they let us loose!
We love being left to our own devices having been on so many adventures on our own and SUP is pretty straight forward! After seeing a few other folks on the lake falling off their boards every few paddles we thought it looked pretty hard!
However this is a pair of skaters you are reading about!! After a few moments kneeling about and moving away from the edges of the lake we stood up pretty easily, the boards are so huge they are much steadier than they first appear!
Paddling is quite strenuous and turning such a large board can be quite the effort! In fact turning is when all those over confident strokes land you in the drink!! However with some strong strokes you can pick up some real speed!
In the end we lost count how many times we fell in, whether that be pushing each other in, racing or just not paying attention!! But we absolutely loved it! It can be such a chilled out activity, cruising about on the black mirror like lake, messing about with each other and taking in the beautiful tranquil surroundings.
But then it can be action packed, speeding up and down the lake, carving around corners and being thrown off the board into the natural spring fed lake! Some areas had deep algae which proved to be another challenge which we enjoyed!
The lake itself was actually quite warm given the stormy conditions, being the end of August I am sure it gets cooler later on in the year but with a wetsuit and buoyancy aid the temperatures should be comfortable.
We would love to try this again maybe down a river or in the sea for an extra challenge! We loved it so much! We also wouldn’t mind heading over to the Wake Park again to try Wake Boarding when my knee is fixed!
Where and how much
We headed over to the Blackpool Wake park which is about 10 mins outside of Blackpool itself and surrounded by a small holiday park.
The ride over from Manchester in the car takes about an hour in the car.
Using public transport might be a little more tricky but it would be easiest reached from Blackpool itself and taking a local bus.
Blackpool Wake Park not only offers SUP but also Sit On Top Kayaking (single and double), Wild Swimming and of course Wakeboarding both lessons and sessions as well as rental of wetsuits/ buoyancy aids etc.
Prices for rental of Kayaks and SUP are around £10-£20 and wild swimming is £5.
You can also learn to wakeboard for under £100 over 12months and then pay for sessions on the purpose built park! Pretty cool!
See more info here:
Over to Blackpool!
We also called in at Blackpool for a quick explore and something to eat after going paddling, both of us used to visit every year as kids but haven’t been back for a while! It’s still just as rough as we remember but it has it’s charms including the grade I listed Blackpool tower, the beach and piers!
Have you tried Stand Up Paddling?
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