7 Ways Paddleboarding Boosts Your Mental Health

7 Ways Paddleboarding Boosts Your Mental Health

The Blue Mind Effect: SUP & Mental Health

How Being on Board Boosts Your Physical & Mental Wellbeing


At Paddleboarding London we hear all the time how good people feel when they are out on the water. But why is paddling so good for your mental health and wellbeing?

1 Paddleboarding helps you forget day-to-day worries

In today’s stressy world of crowded travel journeys and challenging jobs, not to mention the cost-of-living or the way our phones keep us on permanent alert, taking me time needs to be a priority. We can promise you that on your first go on a paddleboard any other worries you have will disappear as you learn the basics.


2 There’s even a theory why people benefit so much from being around water

Blue Mind Theory is that “mildly meditative state” that people enter when around water. It might be why so many of us love to go to the sea for our holidays or take a walk by a river. With paddleboarding the gentle splash of your paddle as it enters the water, the changed perspective of life on a waterway and the need to focus on your balance and breath very quickly drops you into this Blue Mind calm. Blue Mind is good for your head, but can also help you to problem-solve and boost creativity. Your paddleboard coach won’t need to tell you how to do this, it just happens.


3 It’s fun

This is the best bit about paddleboarding – it’s so fun. Many people remember their first go paddleboarding as a time they did a lot of laughing, even the ones who fall in. Laughter is a lovely medicine.


4 You’ll learn about your body

Even when the water is flat calm on the canal, if you look closely, you’ll see there are ripples and movement. Standing on a paddleboard your legs may feel a bit like jelly at first, and even shake, which is a bit unnerving, but it just shows your legs and brain are waking up to the water.


5 It’s like being on holiday

Ninety minutes paddleboarding on Regent’s Canal or St Katharine Docks is an amazing reset. It’s like being on a mini-break, but without all the planning and super expense. Also, we’ll take loads of photos (if you want) so you can relive your memories and share those good times. Like they say, a change is as good as a break.

6 It gives you perspective

Breaking your routine to go paddleboarding may be just what you need to forget feelings of low self-worth or a challenging life situation. You could think of your paddleboard session as a way to self-medicate by getting outside and doing something different for 90 minutes. And if you don’t like it that’s no problem, at least you’ve tried.


7 It’s part of the 5 steps to mental wellbeing outlined by the NHS

The NHS says you can feel more positive and get the most out of life if you connect with people; be physically active; learn new skills; give to others and pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness). Paddleboarding ticks four out of five of those boxes!  Maybe that’s why paddleboarding is the world’s fastest growing water sport? You can learn the basics quickly and from then on, it’s just going to get better as you start to make paddleboarding friends, develop your paddle skills and enjoy being outside in nature watching the wildlife and canal characters. 


Q: Are you ready to paddleboard?

There are so many reasons to paddleboard. You might want to have a go and find out what all the buzz is about. You might want to learn the basics before you go on holiday. You might want to develop your skills and paddle regularly near to your home or office, especially if you have to spend a lot of time working from home. You might just want to escape the voices in your head. Whatever your reason for trying paddleboarding we hope you find it fun.


Want to join our Paddle Posse?  We’ve got three ways for beginners to get on board:

Lesson & Tours are suitable for total beginners and take place daily in Camden and Hackney.  With a max guest/instructor ratio of 5:1 you’ll have plenty of personalised attention from the team.

Learn 2 SUP sessions are for those who want a bit more time to take things at a slower pace.  These sessions are held weekly in Hackney and St Katharine Docks and have a max ratio of 6:1, but take place at quieter times and locations.

Private Lessons are available at any of our locations on a date and time of your choice.  You’ll have a coach all to yourself (or bring a friend along too) and can tailor the session to your needs.

See the full schedule of sessions here or email us with any questions.

Hope to see you on the water soon!

– The Paddleboarding London Team


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7 Top Tips for Paddleboarding First Timers

7 Top Tips for Paddleboarding First Timers

Top Tips for First Time Paddlers

Know Before You Go – Here’s how to prepare for your first time on board. 


Paddleboarding is the world’s fastest-growing sport for a good reason – it doesn’t take too long to pick up the basics.  Here are few tips to help make that first session the absolute best.

1 Wear the right kit

Don’t worry, Paddleboarding London has got you covered for this.  We’ll give you a buoyancy aid and if you’ve got specs or sunglasses a strap to stop them from slipping into the water.  Dress in what you’d wear for a yoga class or gym session.  Most people keep their feet dry when they paddleboard, but so you don’t stress about your footwear please wear old trainers, beach shoes or neoprene booties on your feet.  We also lock up your valuables, so you don’t need to take your phone out on the water.

2 Will I fall off?

We’ll give you an intro to paddleboarding skills off the water, and then we start paddling on our knees which is very stable.  When you feel ready, we’ll help you stand up on your board, from your knees.  We think about 1:20 of our newbie paddlers get wet, so you’re probably not going to fall off. But it’s a good plan to have some dry clothes to change into, just in case!  We’ll also give you a demo about how to get back on to your board.  Really there’s no need to panic as you can swim and you’ll be wearing a nice, floaty buoyancy aid.


3 Remember the Film Don’t Look Up

Joking… but like Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in the film Don’t Look Up made clear, you need to look up.  Staring at the water, or your paddle, makes paddleboarding difficult.  Worse, it may mean you may bump into the person in front of you and knock them into the water.  Looking up has the bonus that you’ll see all the amazing people and wildlife along the Regent’s Canal or at St Katharine Docks.

4 Keep your feet still

To stand-up paddleboard, keep your knees gently bent and your feet stationary on either side of the paddleboard’s central point (usually a handle). For anyone who has ridden a horse or tried skiing, then it’s going to feel a very natural stance.  It’s a comfy position.

5 Stay chatty

Paddleboarding is a great way to chat.  But speaking up is also a good idea to make sure the person in front of you knows if you are getting a bit close to them.  A word of warning will give them time so they can drop to their knees instead of being given a surprise bump into the water.

6 What if I’m a lefty?

There’s no need to worry as paddleboarding paddles are identical for left-handers and right-handers.  That’s because you swap sides every few strokes to keep the board moving forward on a smooth straight course.

7 Follow the waterway rules

On the canal paddleboarders stay on the right so that the bigger narrowboats and other craft can safely pass.  It’s a good idea to avoid being under a bridge when any boats are passing – we’ll just stop and watch. And don’t worry we won’t be going through a tunnel.  Finally, don’t rock the boats where people are living.  You may think grabbing a big boat is going to stop you wobbling, but it’s a top reason for learners plopping into the water. Basically, you turn into a cartoon character gripping on to the big boat as your legs and paddleboard drift away – which is funny for everyone, but you.


BONUS – Any final tips?

Yes: paddleboarding really is as easy as 1,2,3 – so good luck and have fun. We’ll take loads of photos during your intro and tour so that you’ll be able to share with friends and family how quickly you picked up the paddleboarding vibe. Our paddleboard coaches are obsessed with paddling on Regent’s Canal, so we hope you’ll fall in love with this wonderful new sport too. See you on the water soon.

Ready to test your paddle prowess?  We’ve got three ways for beginners to get on board: 

Lesson & Tours are suitable for total beginners and take place daily in Camden and Hackney.  With a max guest/instructor ratio of 5:1 you’ll have plenty of personalised attention from the team. 

Learn 2 SUP sessions are for those who want a bit more time to take things at a slower pace.  These sessions are held weekly in Hackney and St Katharine Docks and have a max ratio of 6:1, but take place at quieter times and locations. 

Private Lessons are available at any of our locations on a date and time of your choice.  You’ll have a coach all to yourself (or bring a friend along too) and can tailor the session to your needs.  

See the full schedule of sessions here or email us with any questions

Hope to see you on the water soon!

– The Paddleboarding London Team


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Spring 2023 Paddleboarding London Events

Spring 2023 Paddleboarding London Events


Spring is nearly here and we’ve got lots of great opportunities for you to get out on the water with us.


We’re just over a month away from our weekend away in Amsterdam. This 3-day trip is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the spring-like weather and catch tulip season in full bloom. We’ll be making the most of the urban canals as well as visiting the local city beach. With ample opportunity to tack on extra time before or after our SUP sessions, we have just a FEW spaces leftfind out more and book your place here.


Our schedule will expand in April with sessions starting at St Katharine Docks and more days/times available in Camden and Hackney. This year we’re introducing more sessions for non-beginners, or those who have a basic knowledge of paddling. These sessions are an opportunity to be on the water quicker, travel further and also the option to work on specific skills. Look for sessions marked: Speed & Endurance, Skills and our standard Social paddlesSee the full schedule here

Paddle 2 the Pub & Paddle and Prosecco are back! It’s official, social SUPs are back in full swing with our monthly Paddle 2 the Pub kicking off in May. Our first Paddle 2 the Pub is the first Friday in May, which also happens to coincide with the full Flower moon. Book your spot now!


We’ve got a fantastic half-day Skills Clinic coming up with GB Sup Champion Emily King.  In this masterclass you will learn how to manage the different stages of your paddle stoke, the tactical paddle strokes and how to improve your efficiency to paddle in different environments.  It’s open to all levels – Sunday 26 March 9.30-12.30pm £50 in Camden.  Find out more here


Did you see our SUP Yoga class featured in the beautiful book Dock Life renewed – How London’s Docks are thriving again by Niki Gorick?  Our club members can take advantage of an exclusive £10 discount and secure a signed copy for orders before 4 April. Drop us a message to find out how to claim yours or order your own copy here. 


British Canoeing Delivery Partner

You may have heard the news that British Canoeing has become the official governing body for Stand Up Paddleboarding. This is great news for the sport and will lead to more continuity of standards for coaching and centres throughout the UK. As official British Canoeing delivery partners, we’re proud to be now offering two of their key SUP courses
British Canoeing Personal Performance Awards – SUP Safer (half-day) and SUP Sheltered Water (full-day). See more about the awards, dates and how to book here.



The wonderful Jo Moseley, author of Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Great Britain will be coming to Stanfords Travel Bookshop in Covent Garden on 19 April to talk about her paddle adventures. Tickets are £5 and include a glass of wine or soft drink. Get your tickets here.


Upskill Your SUP Skills sessions start in April on Tuesday evenings. Open to club and non club members alike, these sessions tackle different skills every two weeks. The first week is a detailed intro and practice time, with week 2 reinforcing the learning and more practice time. It’s possible to attend one without the other but both are recommended to really solidify the skill. Topics include: paddling faster & straighter, moving around the board, mastering turns, race skills and paddle tricks. See the full schedule here.



Our SUP & Social Club spring challenge is the Limehouse Loop – scheduled for Sunday 16 April, we’ll be setting off from Hackney early for a full day of paddling around some of East London’s most iconic areas and the oldest parts of Regent’s Canal. We’re opening up the challenge to club members only to start so if you’re keen, join the club! Memberships start from £1 per year – find out more here.


Don’t forget us when planning your Birthday Parties, Hen and Stag Dos, Corporate Team Building Events, or just a great gift idea for friends and family. We offer:
• Private lessons
• Paddle 2 the Pub
• Paddle & Prosecco
• Paddle & Pizza
• SUP Yoga
• Urban Safaris
• Bespoke events

See you on the water soon!

– The Paddleboarding London Team


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Representation Matters – A Guest Post by People of Colour Paddle Founder Adya Misra

Representation Matters – A Guest Post by People of Colour Paddle Founder Adya Misra


Normalising the participation of people of colour in paddlesport

A guest post by POC Paddle founder Adya Misra

Hello, I’m Adya Misra, a British Canoeing paddlesports coach. While this is not my day job, paddling has become so much more than a hobby. I volunteer at Liverpool Canoe Club, where I am the lead for all stand up paddleboarding activity and spend most of my time coaching kayaking, canoeing and of course paddleboarding. I spend quite a lot of time on my board, but I’m a sea-kayaker at heart and love going on long expeditions in my boat.

I was a British Canoeing #ShePaddles club champion in 2020-2021 and I am passionate about getting more women involved in paddlesports. My experience during this time helped me realise that our efforts to increase diversity need to be multifaceted and intersectional, as we are more than just one thing. The ShePaddles initiative focusses so much on girls and women, but the wider community doesn’t consider racial or ethnic diversity, neurodiversity, disabilities or diversity in body size. I spent all of 2021 thinking about whether it is enough that I am a paddlesports coach, or is it also important that others who look like me get to that place too? Reflecting on being the change I’d like to see, I felt that being truly inclusive means I cannot stop once I reach my goals.


What is People of Colour Paddle?

People of Colour Paddle is a nationwide community initiative to increase participation of people of colour in paddlesports within the UK with the view of connecting often urbanised communities back to nature. I often use the word “normalise” participation instead of “inspire” on social media because I don’t want people to be like me, I want them to have a much better experience and a range of opportunities that I didn’t have. I would like to see a future where it is normal for women of colour to participate in paddlesports and are encouraged by their families, their wider community.

My coaching philosophy revolves around empowerment and confidence building; these principles firmly underpin this project.

Through this work, I hope to be able to get new people trying paddling, falling in love with it like I did and helping them progress to leadership roles within paddlesports. When I qualified as a paddleboarding coach I said to my assessor, “I’d like to build a mentoring program for historically marginalised communities”. In order to get there, we need to build our communities within paddlesport and reach those who have never thought about trying paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing.


Why is this needed?

At current count, there are very few people of colour who retain prominent leadership/coaching roles within the paddlesports community. This lack of representation from Asian, South Asian, Afro-Carribean diaspora in turn reduces likelihood of people from these backgrounds attempting to try paddlesports because they don’t see faces that look like them represented. As an example, it’s hard to find people of colour represented on Instagram pages that belong to paddling brands or paddlesport organisations. I don’t know how many look at these pages and maybe think, paddlesport is just for white folks.

We also have issues within our communities that may hinder us. Lack of generational wealth or not as much free time means that our parents didn’t always have the opportunity to introduce us to outdoor activities. There are also huge barriers in our communities when it comes to learning how to swim. So many women of colour tell me they taught themselves how to swim in their 30s or 40s or even later. There is such a big focus on being financially stable and staying academically focussed to get good jobs, paddlesports doesn’t feature in conversation. Going back to what I said earlier, no one that looks like us does any paddlesports, so why should we?

Practically, this means that people of colour remain disconnected from our blue spaces, and have reduced opportunities to become involved in larger conversations around environmental issues that affect paddlers. Climate change affects all of us, yet many of us are not part of the conversation or action. I believe we need to bring more folks from our historically marginalised communities in these important conversations, so we can bring about change in a more meaningful way. Apart from these serious issues, people of colour remain completely bereft of the joy of being on the water- whether it is after a day’s work, or on the weekend with the family or trying to make it to Team GB.

Through this project I am trying to reach the people of colour in the UK who wouldn’t consider paddlesports as a leisure activity, maybe never even heard of it. I am hoping lots of people will try it and enjoy paddling, and maybe able to make it part of their life. Confidence building, partnership and sustainability form the founding principles of this project as I hope to create long lasting change for our communities. If you are willing to support us in person or on social media, please email me at pocpaddle@gmail.com or connect with us on social media (@peopleofcolourpaddle on Instagram and @pocpaddle on Twitter).

Look out for POC Paddles coming up in 2022 at Paddleboarding London!




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Top Tips for Buying Your First iSUP

Bitten by the SUP bug and ready to go on the hunt for your first inflatable board? 

It’s a jungle out there. Instead of going online to to browse boards from different brands, our approach would be to first establish what you mostly want to do with the board. Your requirements determine the board specs and narrow down the search.


Boards under 10ft are for kids or surfing, sorry, we can’t help you there. Generally speaking, boards between 10-12ft, are for all-around use and SUP yoga. If you have any intention of wanting to do longer-distance flat water touring in the future or simply glide better, go for a minimum of 11′ 6, preferably 12′ 6, board. The 10ft all-around boards tend to have a round nose, whereas the longer boards have a pointy nose. They’re often faster than shorter ones and tend to track straighter. An all-around board is a safe choice, but it will be a compromise and you may outgrow it sooner than you think. We recommend choosing an iSUP you can grow into.


Width is another important factor that affects how the board handles. Width usually ranges between 25 to 34 inches. A wider board will feel more stable than a skinny board, but at the same time slower. Wide boards are awkward to paddle unless you have very wide shoulders, as you have to reach out to the side to get your paddle in the water, resulting in a very inefficient stroke. A narrower board can feel tippy at the beginning, but with a bit of practice, you adjust very quickly.


A board’s volume, expressed in litres, gives an indication of the board’s ability to float. The higher the volume, the more weight the board can support. Most boards also provide maximum weight capacity, but especially if you are a heavier or taller paddler, plan to share a board, take a dog on-board or carry lots of gear, make sure to compare volumes of the boards on your shortlist. It never hurts to have a little extra volume.

Other points to consider when buying your iSUP:

Air pressure – A quality iSUP is designed to be inflated to at least 15 psi when fully inflated. Basically, the higher the PSI level, the smoother the paddle because it won’t bend. The more rigid the board, the better it performs. Don’t go for anything that cannot be inflated to 15 psi. Those are the banana boards you often see at beaches.

Thickness – Unless you are very light, go with a board with a thickness of 6 inches. The 4-inch thick boards tend to perform poorly and are usually cheaply constructed.

Standard fin box – Check that the board has a US standard centre fin box so that you can easily replace or upgrade the fin should you want to. For example, for shallow rivers or very weedy summer canals, you may want to switch to a smaller river fin. Steer clear of boards with fixed 3-piece rubber fins attached to the board, unless you do surfing.

Paddle – If you buy a package that includes a board and 3-piece paddle, there may be a chance to upgrade the paddle to a lighter one at the point of purchase. Aluminium paddles are very heavy. Alternatively, paddle with that paddle for a while and upgrade at a later point. It’s always handy to have an extra paddle around.

Leash – Make sure you have a leash and wear it. Your SUP is a large flotation device, so being attached to it can be important for safety. For flat water paddling, get a coiled leash, so that it does not drag in the water. For moving water, use a quick-release belt with the leash. We also recommend wearing a buoyancy aid, especially if paddling alone, on the river or during the colder months.

Pump – Don’t bother with electric pumps – they are generally very slow and noisy. Inflating your board is a good warm-up and there’s definitely a technique to it. With the better boards, you get dual-barrel or double-action pumps anyways.

Congratulations – you’ve now found your perfect iSUP.  We hope it’s the start of a very long love for our favourite water sport.  Don’t forget to wave hello if you see us out on the canal sometime. 


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Why You Need to Go Paddle boarding in London

Why You Need to Go Paddle boarding in London

Why You Need Try Paddle boarding in London

Think you know London? Think again – even life-long Londoners are surprised how different things look on board

The Pirate Castle in Camden, home to paddleboarding London

Thinking of visiting London? Chances are paddleboarding might not be top of your list of things to do in such a busy city – but we’re here to change that!

Paddleboarding London offers tours and lessons to suit all abilities. From our centrally located base in Camden we offer SUP tours for beginners/competent paddles which head west through Primrose Hill, past the London Zoo and Regent’s Park. Competent paddlers can also join our occasional trips heading east towards Kings Cross.

Urban paddling is a far different experience than paddling in crystal clear waters of the sea, but it’s a fantastic way to get a feel for the city, see some amazing street art and experience life like a local.

Paddle boarding Camden to Regent’s Park – What You’ll See

The Pirate Castle, Camden Town
The Pirate Castle is nothing if not recognisable. Perfectly at home in ‘anything goes’ Camden, you might be surprised to learn that it was in fact designed by famous architect Richard Seifert. Seifert, best known for iconic buildings like Centre Point on New Oxford Street and Tower 42, built more London buildings than Sir Christopher Wren.

With a clear penchant to modern, even futuristic, design, it might seem a bit at odds that he would design our quirky castle home, complete with rounded turret on top.

The oddities of the building are equally matched by the eccentricities of the charity it houses. The Pirate Castle centre for children’s watersports was founded in the 1960s by Jestyn Reginald Austine Plantagenet Phillips (say that two times fast…) also known as Viscount St Davids, son of Baroness Strange of Knowkin, Hungerford and De Moleys. The Viscount adopted the name ‘Peg-Leg’ late in life after fracturing his leg in a fall between the club’s original narrowboat home and the pontoon.

The charity originally ran from the old narrow boat and the original ‘pirates’ earned their name by ‘requesting’ donations from the canal boats as they passed through the nearby Camden lock, hence being nicknamed little Pirates. Their fundraising efforts were eventually boosted when they detained the Lord Mayor of London in the club’s dungeon while requesting ransom.

In 2008, an extension updated the facilities to make it fully accessible to those with physical disabilities. The Pirate Prince, a fully disabled-accessible wide-beam canal boat runs trips all year round to help make the canal accessible to all.

Paddleboarding London is proud to be supporting The Pirate Castle through lessons and donations. We donate a portion of each booking back to the charity to help with its fantastic work.

Check back for our next instalment on one of London’s rare floating restaurants!

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