Ke Nalu Standup Paddles Ireland & UK
Ke Nalu Standup Paddles Ireland & UK
The world's best SUP paddles
It’s not every day you find yourself floating backwards on the river while an extremely toned woman shouts “Spear the fish with that paddle!” at you. As she glides ahead, those metaphorical fish are being stabbed more and more as part of the latest fitness trend: stand-up paddleboarding (or SUP for short). Created in Hawaii, SUP lets you paddle around, race, do yoga or even commute. Not only is it great exercise, it also offers a rarely seen view of the city and helps you de-stress.
According to the British Stand Up Paddleboard Association, SUP is the world’s fastest growing watersport, with famous fans including Cameron Diaz, Tom Hanks, Pierce Brosnan and Rihanna. Made in Chelsea’s Millie Mackintosh was spotted doing SUP yoga while in Ibiza this summer and co-star Andrew Jordan once paddled the length of the Thames (200 miles) to raise money for charity. Just this week Kim Kardashian was photographed paddleboarding in Punta Mita, Mexico.
The US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, tried it with his family on his first trip here, while more Londoners are switching for a more interesting commute. It certainly beats the Tube and there are health benefits. Paul Hyman, from SUP school Active 360, says paddleboarding offers “a body workout with a focus on core muscles”. He has taught people aged three to 73. Jason Bergin, from watersports centre WakeUp Docklands, adds: “Studies have found people who exercise outside feel less anxious, angry and depressed than those who exercise in gyms or not at all.”
I certainly felt rejuvenated after my paddling and SUP yoga sessions with Nichola Cummiskey in Royal Victoria Docks, while my legs, arms and abs felt like they had been worked hard. It’s meant to be hard to fall off but I did within the first five minutes. After I listened to the advice “don’t look down” I found it easy and fun. You don’t feel like you’re exercising — you feel more as if you’re playing around. Although after drifting and taking in the views you have no option but to paddle back against the current, which is taxing.
It’s also good for toning up. You use different parts of your body from normal yoga and are forced to keep your core working hard on balance. Jennifer Cordero, a SUP yoga teacher from Pure Yoga Zone, says: “It takes your regular practice and heightens it. There’s no getting away with laziness or the board will correct you pretty quickly.”
But at the end when you go into savasana (the lying down bit), floating in the breeze and dipping your fingertips into the water makes all that bending and balancing worth it. Whether you fancy paddling in Paddington or doing downward dogs in Docklands, this new trend is certainly worth sampling.
SUP & SUP Yoga Schools
Paddington Basin or Kew Bridge Arches.
SUP hire from £15, SUP lessons from £40, SUP Yoga classes daily from £20.
Royal Victoria Docks.
SUP hire from £20, SUP lessons from £30, SUP yoga classes daily from £20.
Surf SUP Fit Yoga
Various locations daily
SUP & SUP yoga, groups classes from £20, private lessons from £50.
Just the other day I was lucky enough to get my hands on a new paddle. Not any new paddle but the KeNalu Konihi 84 with it special little winglets and promises of all sorts of special things like increasing your speed and reducing the effort required.
So, what was it actually like? In a word – AWESOME and let me tell you why.
Firstly, let me say initially I wasn’t allowed to buy one of these paddles unless I had tried it (that is the benefit of having a long relationship with your local shop, they look after you). So last Monday night I got an initial paddle in with my local shop owner. Initial impression when I saw the paddle up close the very first time was that someone had mislabelled the blade size because simply put, it looks frigging tiny. I actually thought this is not going to be a whole lot of fun seeing how I do like to swing a decent sized blade and I’m, well, lets say I graze in the healthy paddock. So we set off and immediately I knew I was wrong. The blade is powerful, it pulls through the water like a much bigger paddle and the swing weight is minuscule. Right there and then I put my order in right there and then.
So Friday roles around and what should lob at my house but my very own paddle. So I organised a few of us to do an 8k paddle on Saturday. This would be the first time I get to do a reasonably long paddle with this new toy.
I have read all the literature on the paddle, I have read about how the little winglets on the blade do all magical things. I watched the discussions in the forums on hydrodynamics and aeronautical theory and you know what I don’t understand any of it. What I do understand is how the thing worked during a paddle.
To fully qualify the my set up, I am using a 70% carbon shaft (cause the shoulders are getting a bit older) and a T handle.
During my shorter paddle I found the swing weight of the paddle to be minuscule and over the longer trip this was abundantly evident. The smaller blade also allows a much quicker cadence to be maintained for a longer period of time. This all leads to a pretty pleasant paddling experience. The feeling that you are paddling with a much larger blade also evident. I read something from the importer that said that to get the best out this new type of paddle we actually need to have a longer shaft then we would usually use.
I came back from the paddle absolutely stoked with my purchase. So if you are in the market for a new paddle I can highly recommend the new Konihi from KeNalu. They are not at all a cheap paddle, but they are still considerably cheaper than the QB equivalents, and they are worth every penny.