What is SUP? +

Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) has now become a very popular activity out on the water and is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK. Not only is it a fantastic form of exercise, it is also heaps of fun and we are here to show you how you can get on board and join in! Once you have mastered the basics you can take paddleboarding anywhere, from inland rivers & canals, and even out to sea. However, if it’s a paddle on a lake you are wanting, then there is no better place to explore than here in the beautiful Lake District National Park.

What is included when I hire a board? +

We will provide you with a board, paddle, safety leash and buoyancy aid.

Wetsuits are not really required in the warmer months, but if you do wish to wear one at the beginning or towards the end of the season in slightly cooler months, please note we only have a limited number of adult wetsuits available. If you have your own then please do bring it along, as well as any other useful additional items you may need (see our 'What do I need to bring?' question below).

What do I need to bring? +

You will need to plan for all weathers and ultimately expect to get wet! You may or may not fall into the water, but it is always better to be prepared. Always bring a towel and a spare set of dry clothes and shoes. If you have your own wetsuit then you can wear that (particularly in the cooler months when the water temperature is a lot lower) or wear clothes suitable for being on the water, i.e. a swimsuit, shorts and t-shirt.

Footwear, such as swim shoes or old trainers are also a must as many of our lake shores are very rocky underfoot making it an unpleasant walk into the shallow waters in barefoot.

Suitable additional items depending on the weather e.g. warm hats, layers underneath waterproofs, sun hats and sun cream, etc. may also be required, although please note items such as sunglasses may be lost if you fall in the water!

Your valuables, such as car keys and phone, will obviously need to be protected, so a dry sack/waterproof bag and waterproof phone case is needed. If you do not have a bag then we will happily look after your items, but all valuables whether kept on land or on board are left at your own risk.

Drinks and snacks are also a great essential to take with you, especially if heading out on longer expeditions and guided tours.

Can I hire a board if I’ve never tried paddleboarding before? +

Yes, of course, but you must be able to swim 50 metres. If you are hiring from our Paddle Hut, we will happily give you a brief introduction to paddling to ensure you feel confident and safe before heading out on the water. Alternatively, you can have us with you for the entire duration if you wish to pre-book a Master the Basics session on our website at least 24 hours in advance. This is something we definitely recommend for those wanting to conquer their nerves or improve technique.

Anyone under 18 years old wishing to hire a paddleboard must have an adult accompanying them out on the water.

Where can I hire a board from? +

Our Paddle Hut is based at The Swan Hotel & Spa at Newby Bridge (at the bottom end of Lake Windermere) where you can come and hire boards on a first come, first served basis or head out on the water with one of our Instructors. Our most popular rental option is the 2 Hour Board Hire, which is recommended to be able to reach the lake and back along the river at a leisurely pace. Hotel and non-hotel guests are welcome to come paddleboard with us from The Swan, so why not enjoy and make a full day of it with a relaxing drink while you wait for a board, or a meal afterwards to round off the perfect day!

Any sessions from the Paddle Hut that require an experienced paddleboarder to join you will need to be pre-booked with at least 24 hours’ notice here on our website to ensure availability.

How do I book? +

Please go to the SUP Packages page here on our website and click on the ‘Book Now’ button of your chosen session. This will take you to the booking page where you pick a date and time slot and pay by card upon booking. You will then receive a confirmation email and have the chance to read our policies before you arrive and sign and return an online waiver form agreeing to your participation in the activity.

Any bookings larger than groups of 8 will need to email us at admin@paddleboardthelakes.co.uk to arrange their booking.

You can also hire boards from us direct from the Paddle Hut on the day you’re wanting to paddleboard, but please bear in mind this is on a first come, first served basis and you are not guaranteed equipment straight away – you may have to wait for boards to become available if they are all out on the water.

Do I need to be a strong swimmer to hire a SUP? +

No, but you do need to have basic swimming skills and you must be able to swim 50 metres. We do not advise paddling alone, always have somebody else with you to assist if needed. Our rental equipment includes a buoyancy aid and ankle/leg safety leash which you must wear at all times when out on the water. Before entering the water, we will give a safety briefing covering safe paddling conditions, hazards to look out for in the area and demonstrate how to fall safely & get back on your board. If you have fallen in the water and the ankle leash is trapped or wrapped around the board there is a quick release strap that you can pull to stop further entanglement and can be re-attached to your ankle once you are safely back on your board. If you are unsure about your ability or the conditions on the day then please speak to one of our staff members as your safety is our number one priority – if in doubt, don’t go out.

What do we do in bad weather? +

The Lake District is known for often having all four seasons in one day, so always be prepared for a change in conditions and head back to the shore if you do not feel safe. When starting a session, look at the direction the water is flowing and always start by paddling upstream against the current where possible. This means that when you are turning around to head back you are paddling with the current and it will be easier to get back to the shore, especially if your body is tired at the end of the session. In the event of bad weather (where conditions are too windy, for example) we may have to close our Paddle Hut. Any customers who have pre-booked sessions will be contacted via phone with as much notice as possible. You will then be given the opportunity to rearrange your booking. If conditions change and you are already out on the water and are struggling to get back to base, please head to the nearest shore and call us for assistance where we will come and meet you with our water rescue craft. If you hear thunder or see an unexpected flash of lightning, get off the water and onto dry land as quickly as you can – water will transmit strikes from further away, so the quicker you can get off the water, the better. Seek shelter where possible (not under tall or isolated trees) and wait inside your shelter away from the water until at least 30 minutes past the last clap of thunder. Contact us for advice or assistance if you are unable to safely return to base after the storm has passed.

What Lakes can we paddle on? +

If you choose to hire a paddleboard with us then you will be paddling along the River Leven and out onto Lake Windermere. If you are bringing your own board to the Lake District, please bear in mind that not all bodies of water within the National Park are accessible. See below the list of dos and don’ts from the lakedistrict.gov.uk site:

Guide to lake activites