There can be few more idyllic ways of enjoying the county’s coastline and waterways than gliding along on a stand up paddleboard – that’s if you can master the standing up!
Paddleboarding – how hard can it be?
Gaze out to sea, to the calm beyond the breaking waves, and there’s a good chance you will see someone gliding serenely through the water on a stand-up paddleboard.
It is one of the fastest growing water sports in the UK, and in Norfolk, where you can choose from coastline, rivers and Broads to paddle upon, its popularity continues to soar.
Enthusiasts love it for many reasons – it is a wonderful way to appreciate the beauty of the great outdoors, it is fantastic exercise and a great way to ease away life’s stresses.
Boardin Skool operates on Gorleston beach and at Oulton Broad, offering stand up paddleboard (SUP) lessons, taster sessions, qualifications and hire for all ages and abilities.
The business, run by Adam Williams with his partner Jen, has been operating for a few years, but this summer for the first time they have a permanent presence on Gorleston seafront, with their own cool surf shack.
“Paddleboarding has just exploded in popularity in recent few years but it has actually been around for around 5,000 years, originally from the Peruvian people and in Hawaiian and African culture,” says Adam.
“The whole sport has evolved and now it is incredibly accessible. Basic inflatable SUPs are extremely affordable – you can pick one up for around £200 – and they are a fantastic way to get your started on the water.
“It is also something the whole family can enjoy, whatever their age or ability. I love watching people going out on the boards, maybe with a child on the front, or with an older child having a go themselves, it is such an inclusive activity. Everyone comes out of the water with a massive smile on
‘Within a millisecond of celebrating standing up… I fell unceremoniously into the sea’
their faces. And, of course, it is also brilliant for fitness and core strength.”
Adam, who is head of outdoor leadership and coaching at City College Norwich, has been in paddle sport for the past 25 years. He has competed at international level for Great Britain, is a paddle sport leader for British Canoeing and Boardin Skool is recognised by BSUPA (The British Stand Up Paddle Association).
You can book a lesson with Adam to learn the basics, hire a board from him and head out on your own, or even bring your own and get some tips.
“For £5 we run a short talk before they go out on how to use it safely, how to inflate it correctly and a bit about the sea and tides and how to be safe. If people hire from us, we give a safety briefing and we also hire out thick, good quality wetsuits as keeping warm in the water can make a real difference.”
Boardin Skool also has a hugely successful Ripperz club every Saturday morning for children aged eight to 13.
“It has grown beyond all expectation, but it is absolutely fantastic to see so many kids down on the sand, paddleboarding, having fun in the sea, learning beach safety and a little bit of fitness,” says Adam.
LEFT AND OPPOSITE: Adam Williams outside his board school
ABOVE: Rachel prepares to try standing up on her board