A few months ago I gave the sport of Stand Up Paddle Boarding ( SUP ) a go and fell in love with it.
However I am not here to talk about that today. Today I am here to share my thoughts on my stand up paddle board. If you fancy knowing about how I got into paddle boarding then check out my blog post first experiences with the world of paddle boarding.
I spent a lot of time researching various boards and companies in the UK that provide start-up packages. I had decided that an inflatable board was the best way to go. They are easy to pack, can fit into a car boot and be transported by rucksack to wherever you wanted to paddle.
I stumbled across Sandbanks SUP Style through a google search and was instantly attracted to their range of boards. They were colourful, inflatable and affordable, they do boards for kids and adults including their elite range and a touring board. A business ran by water sport enthusiasts who want to make paddle boarding accessible to us all. You can find them at www.sandbankssupstyle.com
The Yoga Elite Paddle Board
Choosing your paddle board is hard, there are so many factors to consider. As a beginner I didn’t want to spend lots on a board for me not to use it much however I didn’t want to spend too little and receive something that would break easily!
After having a look around on the website I decided I was going to have one of the Elite board packages. Trying to order online, none of the order was going through. So I rang the company to explain what was happening and to order over the phone. The guys at Sandbanks were very friendly and helpful on the phone, even though they had just sold the last of the boards that I was originally interested in. However that they had 1 of the Elite Yoga boards in stock. This board had pipped my interest because I was just starting to get into my yoga. So to be able to give SUP yoga a go interested me. The online store said they were out of stock so it is always good to ring up and ask what’s in stock or if there have been any changes to the stock.
They were fast to process my order and got it shipped just in time for our North Devon SUP Weekend. First thoughts on the boards when unpacking was the design and colour of the board. It is a light blue and white, with a black dolphin, person in lotus pose and a yin and yang symbol on the top of the board going down the middle. Very in keeping with the yoga theme. The board itself is wider than a standard paddle board at around 87cm wide (inflated width). This is to give it a bit extra stability. Not only ideal for those yoga poses but also a beginner who’s a bit wobbly. A thick yoga mat is built into the top of the board. It is really soft on your feet but has great grip when getting into that downward dog pose
The board was part of a package that included a removable fin, leash, paddle, pump and rucksack. This is the perfect starter pack as it gets you all set up and ready to paddle. Just inflate and go. Note to anyone who hasn’t pumped up a board before, it is harder than it looks! A good workout before you start paddling is one way to look at inflating the boards. The rucksack is a handy addition to come with the board. They are large to store so having the bag just keeps it all tidily together. It can fit the board and all accessories in it including the pump. To carry it the bag has strong straps and a waist strap so it stays secure and evenly distributes the weight across your back.
Price is a big factor to what board I bought, Sandbanks SUP Style sold their boards at around half the price of other retailers. After talking to them I found out that this is because they are an online store and have no overheads to add to their costs. As well as only distributing from their base in Poole so no retail distribution costs are added to the total price. There are many new SUP brands out there which are producing budget SUP boards, I find the Sandbanks SUP Style boards to be a decent quality product for a decent budget price.
Having had a few adventures on my SUP board I know there are many more adventures to come!
After having my board for a year I felt it was time to give you an update on it. Looking at the pros and cons of the Elite Yoga board and the adventures I got up to with it. After my weekend in North Devon, it has been mostly paddling local. Exe Estuary was a nice place for me to learn the art of standing up on the paddle board. The conditions I had been in before were sea paddling. So not the calmest. However if you go to Exmouth at high tide, the estuary is a good calm spot to master getting to your feet. The extra wideness to the board came in handy here, as I wobbled with nerves while learning. You can get use to a whole range of situations paddling around this area, as when the boats are around they create small waves. This was great for building my confidence in wavier conditions. You also deal with the tides and various wind conditions around the estuary too.
A Few Niggles
Another place we visited to paddle was Exeter Canal. Getting on the water at Turf Locks we headed down towards Topsham. Perfect sunny day with calm still waters. Perfect paddling. However this was where I came across a slight problem with my board set up. The fin that comes with the Yoga Elite board is longer than the other fins (I know this as we ordered a different elite board at the same time as the Yoga board). Where it was weedy, Joe was gliding through a bit faster than me, I was getting slower, no matter how much effort I put into paddling. Reaching under my board we discovered I was towing half the canals weeds with me! I have since ordered a slightly shorter fin. However this was hard, I have struggled to find removable clip in fins online. Any suggestions on where I can get some would be great.
Recently I have been paddling around Exmouth again, along both the seafront and the estuary. Something else this board is missing is the bungee storage at the top of the board. Joes board has these bungee’s which have been helpful when attaching bags to the board and for carrying water. As my board doesn’t have these, I have a waterproof waist bag to carry the essentials. I am on the lookout for a bungee attachment we could put onto the front of the board, especially as we would like to go further afield with our paddle boards.
I love this board, yes a few accessory adjustments might fit my needs a bit more. The board though is comfortable to ride on, and the thicker matting makes it nice to kneel on too. Even if it’s manoeuvrability is a bit clunker as the board is wider, it can build up speed quite well. Also it’s built my confidence up with its little extra stability, and I have taught my younger sister to paddle board using the board too. I have done a tiny bit of yoga on it and on a calm water it is easy to manoeuvre into new poses. I still believe it is an ideal board for a beginner and anyone interested in yoga. The board has been on a range of waters and conditions. A good all round stand up paddle board
I really enjoy my time out stand up paddle boarding and cannot wait to see how much I improve with the board over the next year.
Do you have a SUP board? If so who did you get it off and why? It’s always interesting to see everyone’s favourite paddle board brands/companies.
P.S if you want to see what Sandbanks SUP Style have available their website is www.sandbankssupstyle.com! Also be sure to mention you were referred to Sandbanks SUP Style by Joanna Cale.
See you next time and happy adventuring!
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