We’re reintroducing our free Wednesday evening SUP Club from 28th April 2021 – for its ninth summer season! As a formally organised grassroots sports club, we’ve ensured we’re fully COVID-Secure and aligned with the latest Government and Sport England guidelines for exemption from legal gathering limits when paddling together as a club.
Every week, we’ll post a ‘heads-up’ on our social media (and at the foot of this web page) on Monday or Tuesday, then the ‘final call’ as an event on Facebook @SUPsectUK (details also at the foot of this page) confirming all details by Wednesday morning when we can be absolutely sure of the weather forecast. Venues, routes and timings will change week to week depending on tides, weather and likely conditions.
All competent paddlers (by which we mean comfortable and confident standing-up and paddling non-stop for 90-minutes) are very welcome. SUP Club is completely free if you have your own kit and know how to paddle it – we offer hire kit to graduates of our Learn to SUP courses when conditions and routes are suitable.
Meanwhile please familiarise yourselves with our updated C19 Protocol below.
In order to gather in greater numbers as a grassroots sports club we need to have these precautions firmly in place – or else we’re breaking the law, risking a big fine, and acting irresponsibly. So please help us out by following the rules: or if you think they’re a bit much, give it a miss until later in the season when all restrictions have been lifted…
C-19 SUP Club protocol (updated 26 April 2021)
• If you or any member of your household are feeling unwell or have any reason to believe you might be Covid-positive, please stay at home … there’s always another time.
• Read the call – we won’t be able to do paddle briefings before we launch, so please make sure you know the plan of action in advance (@SUPsectUK on Facebook, or scroll down to the foot of this page).
• No gathering before the launch – get yourself ready and get onto the water. (If we’re planning a route, we’ll gather on the water then head off as per the call details.)
• Whenever possible, leave some space between vehicles when parking.
• Pack a facemask and wear it around your neck (SUPsect necktubes available here) so in case you find yourself particularly close to anyone, please be polite and cover your face!
• Bring your own hand sanitiser – use it when you arrive before getting out of your vehicle, and again before you drive home.
• Try to keep a full paddle length apart (ie; 2m) or at least half a paddle length (1m+) – on the water and off, respect each other’s personal space…
• No hugging, shaking hands etc – we’re still staying socially distanced and we’re all used to it now…
• No swapping kit – what’s yours is yours, keep it to yourself!
• No helping anyone onto or off the water, or help preparing etc – you shouldn’t be handling other people’s kit…
• Look after yourself – unless it’s a serious situation, we’re still trying to avoid administering first aid or getting up close to pull people back onto their boards etc.
• No hanging out afterwards – off the water the rule of 6 still applies, so when we’re finished we’ll just need to pack up and head home. Although we are able to paddle in greater numbers again (as a formally organised grassroots sport we’re exempt from legal limits whilst actually paddling together as a club) when ashore we’re still not allowed to socialise.
• Please follow the protocol! We’re super-keen for SUP Club to operate throughout summer 2021, which means we have to run it within Covid-19 Secure guidelines – ie; doing everything we can to minimise social contact. If you see anything or anyone in breach of these rules, please say something. And if someone reminds you of the protocol, please do listen and don’t take offence!
SUPsect SUP Club meets every Wednesday night throughout British Summer Time, from when the clocks go forward in spring to when they go back in autumn – if you have your own kit and know how to paddle it, it’s completely free of charge and you’re very welcome to just come along and join us. If you don’t have your own board, limited hire kit is available when conditions and route are suitable – as long as you have completed our Learn to SUP course or can prove competence on a stand-up paddleboard (email [email protected] to secure yours…)
We go every week throughout BST, whatever the weather, so conditions will dictate how tough / easy the evening will be and how long / short the route. Some weeks, particularly when it’s warm, sunny and still, we’ll call an ‘all-comers’ night that will be very relaxed and suitable for everyone. But other weeks, often when it’s windy and/or cold, we might call it a ‘challenging’ or even ‘hardcore’ night that will demand some experience and paddling strength / confidence to keep up with the group and therefore won’t suit first-time SUP Clubbers.
We paddle at various Essex SUP spots depending on tide times and conditions: some of our favourites launches include Two Tree, Chalkwell and Thorpe Bay on the Thames Estuary, Hullbridge on the River Crouch, and Mill House, Papermill Lock (where we teach our paddleboard lessons) and Hoe Mill Lock on the River Chelmer. After the paddle, which usually lasts from 90 minutes to 2-hours covering c. 6-9km, we generally fit in a post paddle pint – and often dinner at a pub or curryhouse too (although that’s absolutely not compulsory, everyone is very welcome to join us for either, both, or neither!)
While we try to keep SUP Club as relaxed as possible, in order for it to work safely and effectively we do need to operate within a few simple rules:
• Leashes are compulsory for all paddlers at all times.
• No late launching (especially if you’re pumping up, please arrive in plenty of time to make the published launch time).
• No chewing gum on the water.
• Respect the turning time / place (as per the call and/or briefing) so we all get back broadly together as a group.
• Please paddle responsibly and courteously – don’t endanger yourself or other water users by paddling unsafely.
Full details of SUP Club, which vary week to week depending on weather, tides and wind, are published Facebook page @SUPsectUK. (And below!) As the forecast develops we’ll give a heads-up of the likely location via Facebook on Tuesday evening, before calling the event for sure by Wednesday lunchtime.