Nene Valley SUP loaned Nene Local Magazine a couple of paddle boards – here’s how we got on.
This July I attended a Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) evening of SUP and meditation. I was nervous but excited to try SUP but found I loved it! Living by the River Nene, I soon found there is quite a few small businesses set up for SUP around here.
One such business is Nene Valley SUP, who contacted Nene Local Magazine to see if we’d like to take a look at what they offer.
We booked August 6th as our date try out Nene Valley SUP. They do SUP lessons and group paddles, but we tried the board hire. I was told I could pick up my board between 8-9am, they do deliver but as I only lived in the next town, I came out to pick up our two boards.
The two very large bags contained all we needed. Inflatable paddleboard, detachable fins, collapsible paddle, repair kit – just in case, strap to tie you to the board (so it can’t float away if you fall off), plus a full manual. the manual not only has full instructions on how to inflate and how to get started, it also has things like safety advice and river etiquette for if you see a boat. Nene Valley SUP also supply buoyancy aids which should be worn.
I was meeting my friend at 2pm, so I thought I would try pumping up a board this morning just to see how it was, for this article. The instructions are good and easy to follow. The pump is a very good pump, as it’s quite tricky to pump the last bits of air into the board to make it sturdy – a good pump is essential.
Pumping the inflatable SUP is easy and quick, until you get to almost done. Of course, it needs the maximum amount of air in it for it to be solid enough and not give under your weight. A solid board is nice and stable.
On the pump there’s a gauge to show how pumped up it needs to be.
We met at The Woolpack Inn in Thrapston, where there is an EA 48 hour mooring with a shallow enough edge to get in. Caroline and I pumped up our boards. To get to the correct Psi (on the gauge on the pump) was tough, I think with practise we would improve, but it took us around an half an hour to blow them up. It was a muggy, hot day so we had quite a workout before we started.
Both of us had previously been on paddleboards in the group paddle, so knew a little about what we were doing. Although, the manual fully explains how to launch your paddle board.
Our paddle took us from the Woolpack to Denford Lock and back. Around 2.4 miles. You can take your paddle boards and go wherever you wish on your days hire. The ideal, especially for beginners, is to paddle up stream first, as on your return you’re more tired and so it’s helpful to have the addition of the current to take you along.
We negotiated the fishermen in the reeds, all were good natured, and we could chat as we paddled by. There were also four narrowboats coming along at various intervals, we tended to stop and hold the reeds while they passed, but as we get more experienced, I’m sure we’ll just keep going along.
As you paddle, it’s so lovely and peaceful. Watching fish jumping in the water, dragonflies hitching a cheeky ride on the board, swans regally floating by at eye level…sometimes you’re close enough to your buddy to chat and other times you’re floating and paddling ahead. I’m sure I speak for Caroline too when I say I didn’t once think of anything other than what I was doing. At this present time with all that’s on the news and going on in the world I was amazed at my own mindful thoughts.
Our paddle took us back to the Woolpack Inn, as we’d locked everything we didn’t need in our car, that was parked there. We returned to the place we’d launched and attempted to get out. Our arms and legs were pretty tired at this point, and I would warn that getting out can be tricky for a beginner. Of course, getting out with a great lack of elegance made us laugh, and this in turn made it even more difficult to get out. We must have looked quite a site!
We wiped our boards dry, rolled them up and popped them back in the bag, with all the other equipment ready for me to return them to Nene Valley SUP.
We were hugely tired but grinning from ear to ear after a brilliant afternoon! If you’re a different fitness level you can paddle further or less far accordingly, so you don’t have to wear yourself out if you don’t want to.
Nene Valley SUP is a relaxed company, having fun is top priority. They supply all you need for a fabulous day out, the instruction manual is easy to follow, and everything is quite straightforward. They’ll even supply a ‘dry bag’ if you want to take a picnic out with you. We took water, which I would highly recommend!
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