Top 5 Tips – Paddleboarding on waterways for beginners
  1. Many waterways in England and Wales require a licence to paddle board. The licence costs £45 for the year when you purchase through British Canoeing and covers around 4,500km of waterways. The British Canoeing membership is only suitable for paddlers who live in England. For paddlers who live in Wales, Canoe Wales offer a similar membership which includes a licence too. You can check if the waterway you are planning to go on is covered by the licence too.
  2. Visit PaddlePoints website which is brilliant to check the waterway you want to go on. Experienced and beginner paddle boarders upload photos, make notes on hazards, add new routes and gives helpful information on parking etc.  You can also comment and ask questions about the location. 
  3. Download the “Windy” app. This is great for seeing the direction of the wind in the location you are hoping to visit but also give you an idea of speeds and gust strength.  Beginners are ideally looking for 3-6 mph winds in sheltered areas.
  4. The real time “RiverApp” gives all watersports enthusiasts the water level and water flow of the waterway you are going on (even the temperature) so you can check if recent rainfall has affected that stretch of river making it potentially fast flowing and dangerous.
  5. Finally, a laminated printed map of the section of river or lake you are going on, marked up with start and end points is extremely useful as a check as you are travelling along but also in case of emergencies. Being able to pinpoint exactly where you are to rescue services will ensure you have help as quickly as possible.  Ideally leave a copy with someone bankside who knows your planned route and timings.