Our Improver SUP Tour courses are aimed at paddlers who have completed our Learn to SUP or any other BSUPA Ready to Ride lesson, yet for extra confidence feel they could use some more coaching and time on the water before paddling by themselves and/or joining us at SUP Club on a Wednesday evening. Based around the BSUPA level 2 touring syllabus, and led by (usually a pair of!) BSUPA advanced instructors, the aim of our Improver SUP Tours are to get you paddling stronger, more confidently and further ‘normalise’ stand-up paddleboarding with a view to the sort of recreational / touring SUP activity that happens most around South Essex. Although it is a prerequisite of the course that paddlers are comfortable standing up and paddling, and have covered the core techniques up to and including the reverse sweep turn, the thrust of our improver tour isn’t technical (ie; we definitely won’t be doing any step-back turns, unless you really want to!). Rather, we will arrange a ‘tour’, introducing everyone to the key concepts of route planning and then guiding the group for a c. 100-minute ‘distance’ paddle at a suitable pace with breaks as and when necessary. The route will be very similar to one of our regular Wednesday evening SUP Clubs, except that throughout we will work on your paddle skills and technique, plus introduce some new tips and tricks too. By the end of the tour you will be a much more competent, confident and comfortable paddler.
We offer two different flavours of improver tour – river ‘refresher sessions’ and coastal ‘progression sessions’.
Our river ‘refresher sessions’ are mainly from Paper Mill Lock on the River Chelmer (technically the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation), but might also embark from Hoe Mill Lock or Mill House depending on weather conditions and the strength of the water flow. River tours are a great way to gain further confidence on a board, cover some distance, improve technique and build more power into your stroke – yet avoid the tides, chop and exposure to weather associated with the coast. We will generally try to cover some distance on the river, although the exact route will depend on weather and stream conditions as well as the strength of the group.
Coastal ‘progression session’ tours are equally safe, as we carefully plan around the tides and conditions and only embark on a route that suits the weather – but the water state and tidal effects on the sea generally mean slightly more challenging paddling. We will cover the extra coastal considerations affecting route planning, including tides and weather-related conditions on our local estuaries. Dependant on forecast, our favoured coastal venues are Two Tree Island and Hullbridge – although Chalkwell Beach, Thorpe Bay and Shoebury can provide other options. The venue will be confirmed within 24 hours of the session, to make sure that we pick the optimum place to launch from, dependant on the weather. During the paddle we will again work on a more powerful stroke and general paddling confidence and competence, but will also further explain how to work with tidal and weather conditions as they impact coastal paddling, route planning and safety.
A SUPsect improver tour costs £30 per person without kit hire (ie; if you already own a suitable stand-up paddleboard, paddle and waterwear) or £50 per person including kit hire (if you need to hire kit, make sure you select the kit hire add-on). Our scheduled improver tours are as below – to enquire about future dates, please email [email protected]