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

PEOPLE OF COLOUR PADDLE

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

TOP TIPS FOR BUYING YOUR FIRST ISUP

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.

Length

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

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.

Volume

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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The Pirate Castle

Gilbey's Wharf, Oval Road

London NW1 7EA

What3Words: people.weds.bets.

 

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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!

 

Visit Us

The Pirate Castle

Gilbey's Wharf, Oval Road

London NW1 7EA

What3Words: people.weds.bets.

 

Contact us

+ 44 (0)7568 157300

Email Us

 

Opening Times

Open all year round.
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jobe watersports paddleboards and equipment at London Paddleboarding
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Paddle for Peace – Stand Up for Ukraine

Paddle for Peace – Stand Up for Ukraine

Paddle for Peace

#StandupwithUkraine and let’s show our support for Ukraine

Paddle for Peace

 

#PaddleforPeace

Watching the events of the past ten days on the news and social media it’s easy to feel helpless and wonder how we can make a difference.  We wanted to find a way to show solidarity, raise awareness and raise money/donations for vital food and supplies for those fleeing the war so earlier in the week we came up with the idea of a Paddle for Peace.  In the few days since we posted the information about our paddle and fundraising raffle, we’ve already seen an outpouring of support and raised nearly £400.

We’ve also been pleased to see that other SUP Clubs have had the same idea and are organising their own Paddle for Peace events (some of which are listed below – if you know of others please let us know and we’ll keep adding to the list).  We’ve also asked everyone to wear blue and yellow for the paddle so we can fill Regent’s Canal with the colours of Ukraine and show that we #standupwithUkraine

Our paddle is in support of With Ukraine, a fund set up by the Ukraine Embassy in the UK, but there are many other charities that are set up to receive funds – we’ve listed some below but it’s by no means an exhaustive list.

Like others, we want to reach as many people as possible so we’re challenging other SUP clubs, schools and social groups to organise your own #PaddleforPeace.  If you can’t get to one of the organised events, why not get a group of friends together and go out on your own. You can join in by 1) donating and 2) sharing your pics on social media using #PaddleforPeace and #StandupwithUkraine

 

Please share, we’d love to see your photos and even more we’d love to show the people of Ukraine that we are standing up in solidarity.

Paddle for Peace Events:

Paddle for Peace London – Saturday 12 March, 10am, Regent’s Canal

Paddle for Peace Teddington – Saturday 12 March, 10am, Tamesis Club, Teddington

Paddle for Peace SUP North (Southport) – Sunday 7 March, 3pm, Fairway, Southport

Paddle for Peace Dublin – Sunday 13 March, 10am, Dun Laoghaire Pier West

Paddle For Peace Wirral – Sunday 20 March, 10am, Sandy Lane Aqua Park

Paddleboarding Adventures – Saturday 12 March 11am, The Black Shed Cafe, Shepherds Patch, Slimbridge

SUP Social Lakes District – Saturday 12 March, Coniston, Lake District

Paddle for Peace Tonbridge – Sunday 27 March 2pm, Tonbridge

Paddle for Peace SUP Shropshire – Saturday 12 March 11am, Bridgnorth

 

Where to Donate:

This is by no means an exhaustive list but some of the places you can donate include:

With Ukraine 

Save The Children’s Ukraine Appeal

Red Cross

Choose Love

Disasters Emergency Committee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Us

The Pirate Castle

Gilbey's Wharf, Oval Road

London NW1 7EA

What3Words: people.weds.bets.

 

Contact us

+ 44 (0)7568 157300

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Opening Times

Open all year round.
Check schedule for up to date information

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jobe watersports paddleboards and equipment at London Paddleboarding
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SUP & Social Lockdown Challenge

SUP & Social Lockdown Challenge

SUP & Social Lockdown Challenge

Show us your #SUPstitute – let’s help keep each other motivated, active and outdoors this lockdown

If you know us at all you’ll know that we are passionate about being active outdoors and encouraging others to do the same.  Now that the shorter days and colder temperatures are here, many of us retreat indoors with less time spent in our beautiful parks and green places.  With lockdown looming, the urge to cocoon might feel even stronger but we’re going to work hard to encourage you to still get out and enjoy the beautiful outdoors these next four weeks.

Natural High

Dr Eva Selhub, co-author of the book Your Brain on Nature: the science of nature’s influence on your health and happiness explains some of the benefits of outdoor exercise, ‘Nature has all sorts of unseen elements that are affecting us… as we breathe in the negative ions at the seaside from the saltwater, they go directly to our brain and counteract the positive ions that come from computers and are causing fatigue.’

And you don’t have to be by the seaside to reap the benefits, just simply taking your exercise outdoors ups your happiness.  ‘Simply being outside in nature can help to de-stress us.  Research suggests that just five minutes in nature is all it takes for our brain to start thinking differently and for us to experience a more relaxed disposition,’ according to says Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller, M.D., an integrative medicine adviser.

Longer & Stronger

There’s also evidence that green exercise can, ‘reduce perceived effort and allows people to work at higher workloads, which may help increase the amount of physical activity undertaken and motivation to continue,’ according to a study, The great outdoors: how a green exercise environment can benefit all

Motivation Gone Missing?

So while November may not *seem* like the best time to start an outdoor challenge, we’re going to respectfully disagree.  Since there’s strength in numbers we’re challenging you to join our lockdown challenge to move 5k a day for 30 consecutive days.

The rules are simple – move continuously for 5k everyday outside.  It could be running, jogging, walking, cycling, paddling, whatever you fancy and any combination thereof.  It just has to be continuous and outside.

You can tag us on social media @paddleboardinglondon and use the hashtag #SUPstitute.*  The official start date is Thursday 5 November but you can start any time +/- 5 days from then.  If you feel 5k is too much/too little a challenge then feel free to adjust up or down as you like the key is consistency.

At the end of the 30 days we’ll pick a winner at random who will win fame, glory and a one year membership (worth £99) to SUP & Social (from whenever expires for current members).

We really want to help keep everyone active and outside so we look forward to seeing your photos.

* Current rules DO allow paddling on your own, with members of your household or bubble or one other person.  The #SUPstitute is for our paddleboarding club as we can’t run club sessions during lockdown.  Please be sure to follow your local guidance for the duration of the challenge.

Stay safe,

The Paddleboarding London Team x

 

Visit Us

The Pirate Castle

Gilbey's Wharf, Oval Road

London NW1 7EA

What3Words: people.weds.bets.

 

Contact us

+ 44 (0)7568 157300

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Open all year round.
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More Ways to Enjoy Regent’s Canal – The Electric Barge

More Ways to Enjoy Regent’s Canal – The Electric Barge

Local Love: The Electric Barge

You know we love paddleboarding it, but we’re sending out some local love by highlighting some other great ways to enjoy Regent’s Canal

Lockdown has been hard on all of us and, like us, many of our canal friends have fairly seasonal businesses which have had to adapt to try to extend our season.   Since the great outdoors is still a green zone in our current Tier 2 status, we’d like to suggest some options for spending time along our gorgeous Regent’s Canal and having a grand time while doing so.  Over the next few weeks we’ll feature some of our water-based friends and this week we’ve got the lovely Electric Barge.

Every Saturday and Sunday in November they will be offering their signature Bubbly Brunch – a scenic tour of the canal, boxed brunch selection and 90 minutes of bottomless fizz.  Launching at 11.30 from Sheldon Square near Paddington Station, you can choose the standard box brunch with smoked salmon bagel, croissants, yoghurt, banana bread and fresh fruit alongside mini Dutch pancakes or choose one of their veggie, vegan or even gluten free options.

The Electric Barge have done a brilliant job in ensuring that the barge is Covid safe including enhanced cleaning, social distancing, table service and cashless payments, so you can rest easy while enjoying your tour.

Did you know that The Electric Barge is also a social enterprise?  Established in 2016 by the charity the Beauchamp Lodge Settlement, all proceeds raised on board fund their charitable efforts the Floating Classroom – providing fantastic learning experiences for local children and young people on and around Regent’s Canal.  Since its launch they’ve welcomed over 40,000 primary school children on board to teach them more about the history, heritage and ecology of London’s waterways.

Book your bottomless brunch today – support a small business by having a great time.

 

Visit Us

The Pirate Castle

Gilbey's Wharf, Oval Road

London NW1 7EA

What3Words: people.weds.bets.

 

Contact us

+ 44 (0)7568 157300

Email Us

 

Opening Times

Open all year round.
Check schedule for up to date information

Review us on Trip Advisor
SIC Maui Paddleboards Logo
jobe watersports paddleboards and equipment at London Paddleboarding
british-canoeing SUP London Paddleboarding