Learn to SUP on our 2-hour beginner paddleboard lesson at SUPsect stand up paddle boarding school at Paper Mill Lock near Chelmsford, Essex. Starting from absolute basics we teach all of the essential paddle skills in our 2-hour Learn to SUP lesson. You’ll have a lot of fun, but most importantly you’ll learn all you need to know to stand-up paddleboard safely and competently by yourself. As an approved and affiliated BSUPA school our certificated lesson is based on BSUPA’s Ready to Ride syllabus, most of our Learn to SUP lessons take place at Paper Mill Lock on the sheltered waters of the River Chelmer: we consider it the ideal beginner venue in South Essex, as the water stays flat and safe in all but the worst of weather conditions. If you want to learn, just email [email protected] and we’ll do all we can to accommodate you…
We are planning to start our new beginner teaching season in April 2021!
We hope to start scheduling courses soon after Easter, weather and restrictions allowing – to be alerted as soon as sessions are available to book online, please email [email protected]
For obvious reasons, our 2020 Learn to SUP season didn’t quite go as we expected!
We gradually got our school started from early June 2020, with midweek 1-to-1 coaching of experienced paddlers with their own kit at first, then 2:1, beginners and 3:1 too, eventually re-introducing hire kit. But as we didn’t want to mingle people who weren’t already mixing, we weren’t able to expand to full scheduled group beginner lessons (having carefully expanded our risk assessment from the simplest / safest operation possible to begin with.)
In July we began instructing small groups from the same household or ‘bubble’ (and in turn small friendship groups). Of course, a bespoke 2:1 session does work out a little more expensive, at £70pp including kit hire. (But we get that back down to our ‘standard’ £50pp for groups of three or four…)
We’re also felt confident and ready to expand our risk assessment to family groups including children. A 2-hour family session costs £50pp for groups of four or more (who must all be from the same household) which we operate with two instructors on the water for safety. 3:1 sessions also start at £50pp, although if there are two children included on a course we may still need to operate with two instructors, increasing the rate to £60pp. A 2:1 session works out at £70pp including kit hire.
Initially (as outdoor venues had been so busy at the weekend) we were operating on weekdays only, with morning and afternoon sessions at Paper Mill Lock. But as things calmed down in high summer when the pubs and shops were all back open, we were able to operate at weekends again – teaching and coaching on Saturdays and Sundays from the last weekend in July.
If you want to learn, just email [email protected] and we’ll do all we can to accommodate you…
Currently scheduled 2021 Learn to SUP courses:
Watch this space!
Please email [email protected] to enquire about future courses or be added to our cancellations list…
Your lead instructors, Elisa and Duncan, are both BSUPA qualified advanced SUP instructors (Level 2 Race & Tour) with full RYA first aid and powerboat certification. While SUPsect instructor Trevor is BSUPA Level 1 and St John first aid qualified, plus brings a wealth of invaluable experience from a career of safety management. (Learn more about us here!) At SUPsect, a team of two instructors usually teach groups of up to 6 people – so a typical student:instructor ratio of 3:1, which means we can assure safety, quality of learning and devote plenty of personal attention to your progression. (Our absolute maximum is 4:1, compared to the BSUPA 6:1 upper limit, which some other schools further overstretch to 8:1.) Also, we’re fully insured and take your safety seriously – our teaching venues are professionally risk assessed and our lessons are conducted safely and sensibly.
After many years of very successful SUP instruction we’re so confident in our methods and venue that we guarantee to get you stood up and paddling, or your money back!
So what does a typical Learn to SUP lesson consist of?
Starting on dry land, we’ll introduce you to the kit, concepts and initial techniques first – as well as safety, weather, tide and route planning basics – before heading to the water. At the riverbank we cover how to fall in without risking injury, how to get back onto your board and how to launch safely before getting the group on board one-by-one. Kneeling to begin with, we’ll get you used to the board and paddle for a few minutes before helping everyone to get safely standing up and paddling (with fewer people falling in than you might assume!) and able to stop and turn around.
Then it’s time for our first little cruise up the river to allow the initial techniques to bed in before we start to look at more advanced techniques. First the ‘paddle slap’ brace position to aid stability and promote some movement on the board, and then the ‘reverse sweep turn’ for smoother, quicker transitions. All the while we’ll be working on the basics to ensure an efficient, comfortable paddle stroke – and before you know it you’ll be paddling completely confidently.
Not every lesson will progress in exactly the same way, depending on weather conditions and the make-up of each group, but we will usually move on to advanced power strokes, surf-stance, step-back turns and more before the end of the lesson…
On completion of the required course elements, successful candidates will receive their BSUPA Ready to Ride certificate to recognise that they are competent beginner paddleboarders with the practical and technical knowledge to SUP independently.
SUPsect’s Learn to SUP lesson costs £50 per person, including instruction and all kit – top quality board, paddle, leash, shortie wetsuit, neoprene footwear and CE approved 50N buoyancy aid. Our teaching season generally runs from April to September, weather allowing. Our scheduled course dates are published about a month in advance and you can book via the links above. To enquire about future courses or ask for further information, email [email protected]
Alternatively, we are able to arrange family sessions to include younger children (we accept accompanied kids of 13+ years old on our scheduled courses, by arrangement) and/or bespoke dates to suit any groups of four people or more: just email [email protected]