The Best Places to Paddle Board Near Hertfordshire
Stand-up paddle boarding, or SUP as it’s so affectionately known, has experienced a rapid growth of popularity in recent years to become one of the ‘coolest’ water sports in the UK and beyond. This is perhaps, in part, due to the versatility of the sport, in that you can head out for a peaceful yoga session on a tranquil lake to work on your core and balance stability, or alternatively, head out for a wet’n’wild ride through rapids and waves, depending on your mood. Many may associate SUP with a trip to the seaside, but there is an array of opportunities to get out on a board inland, in large bodies of water, rivers or canals that are just as beautiful as the coast.
Here at F-One, we’ve put together a list of some of the best places you can try your hand at SUP or hone your existing skills near to Hertfordshire, so you don’t have to wait until your next summer holiday to get back out there!
The following locations are all within the vicinity of Hertfordshire, although some may involve an hour or so travel time, so why not make a day of it? SUP is not only a fantastic sport for a workout, but it will also lead you to new places all over the UK and further afield and we all can be guilty of neglecting some of the most beautiful spots that are right on our doorstep!
The River Lea
A natural river that is integrated in the history of the capital, the winding water is surrounded by the Lee Valley Park for much of the journey, making for fantastic views regardless of which section you choose. The river played a major role in the London 2012 Olympics and as such was made more accessible for people and more accommodating for nature and wildlife. London’s second most important river is home to both cityscape and large sections of countryside, with the latter being more frequent in the Hertfordshire end of the river. We recommend taking down an inflatable paddleboard and choosing a section at a time to cover the highlights of the river or find a trusted retailer that hires out equipment and head there. Adele even wrote a song about this beautiful river in 2015 - come and see what all the fuss is about for yourself!
The River Cam, Cambridge
Around an hour by car or train from Hertfordshire, a glide down the River Cam is well worth the journey, as those who have paddled here previously can attest. A gentle SUP session starting from Jesus Green will take you past the historic Cambridge colleges and under the iconic mathematical bridge. The more experienced and hardier amongst us can even continue their paddle to the Grantchester’s Orchard riverside gardens where a well-deserved warm drink and tasty treat awaits you, before turning around and heading back to your starting point. Those who are yet to explore the historic town of Cambridge are strongly advised to do so via the river, which will provide a unique perspective on all of the city’s major hotspots. Due to the travel, an inflatable paddleboard will make it easier for you to get from A to B, as hire shops in Cambridge are few and far between.
Fairlands Valley Centre, Stevenage
If you are yet to give SUP a go and are looking for a place to practice, look no further than the Fairlands Valley Centre in Stevenage. They run sessions to teach you how to get up and, crucially, how to stay up, paddle with confidence and master an array of different skills on the boards. You will be accompanied by a qualified professional who will provide tips and tricks on perfecting techniques, and the centre sits on its own lake, so you won’t need to worry about colliding into other water crafters. Give them a call today to book your first session and be sure to check out our Beginner’s Tip for Paddle Boarding before you go!
A small journey from Hertfordshire to Berkshire, check out Liquid Leisure Aqua Park, a specialist water sports centre that offers a range of adrenaline-fuelled activities. SUP lessons are provided, as are yoga sessions for the slightly more experienced, providing a fantastic opportunity to get involved with the ultimate health and wellbeing trend without flying to Bali for several weeks. Another major advantage to visiting this centre is the opportunity to give the Ninja Warrior Aqua Park course a go in the morning, before a relaxing SUP yoga session in the afternoon. A great day out with friends or the perfect opportunity for you to try something new.
Hurley Weir, Berkshire
For those already experienced in SUP and who would like more of an extreme challenge, why not try your hand at Whitewater SUP? It’s taking the US water sports market by storm but is still finding its feet in the UK despite several hardy pioneers who are working hard to make it happen. One of the most notable spots to give it a go is Hurley Weir, just outside London, where fast-flowing water cascades through loch gates to provide the perfect environment for what’s also known as river surging. Granted, this particular location requires experienced and advanced SUP boarders who can position the board as such so that you are essentially surfing without moving anywhere. If you live close enough, we recommend heading down to spectate the professionals at play before giving it a go yourself, meaning you’ll have more of an idea on whether it’s appropriate for your skill level – and you’ll get to see some pretty cool tricks if you’re lucky!
So, whether you want the high thrills of the Hurley Weir and to tap into the latest trend ahead of the game or you’re after a more relaxing, leisurely glide down the River Cam, we hope these suggestions of places to paddleboard close to Hertfordshire have provided you with some inspiration on where to head next. Whether it’s SUP you hope to get into or something else, don’t hesitate to check out our website to browse our extensive range of products online. From kitesurfing bars to wetsuit boots and everything in between, you’ll have all that you need to hit the open water.