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  • Scottish paddleboarder completes her first endurance race and raises more than £4,000

    Emma Hepplewhite, owner of Paddlefast based in Central Scotland, completed her first endurance stand uppaddleboard (SUP) race raising a total of £4,200 for two special causes. The Wave Project Scotland will receive £2,600 and the Forth Valley Chorus will receive £1,600.

    The 38-year-old mother of two was one of 33 paddlers (one of 11 females) competing in the two-day race and completed the 70 km course in a total of 12 hours 46 minutes 22 seconds.

    The Norfolk Broads Ultra, part of the UK Paddle Endurance Series, is a flat-water paddle challenge that takes competitors a total distance of 70 km on the canals and rivers of the Norfolk Broads. Completed over two days, day one is 40km and day 2 is 30km. There is also the option to complete the full distance in one day. The race can be done solo, as a team or as a relay and race categories include SUP, canoe, kayak, surfski, OC1 and prone.  

    It typically takes competitors between 8 and 15 hours to complete the race over two days with checkpoints every 10km.

    “It was definitely tough, one of the toughest things Ive done, but the thought of the funds I had raised and the people it would help, kept me going, along with my aunt’s flapjacks and the vision of a hot bath at the end of the day, said Emma Hepplewhite, competitor and owner of Paddlefast.

    I only decided to take part in the race in January, so I didn’t get the longest time to train. Given this and the fact it was my first endurance race I’m pleased to have finished. The event was really well organised and Id definitely recommend it to anyone else looking for a new challenge.”

    Emma trained along the Union canal between the Falkirk Wheel and Fountainbridge in Edinburgh. Her longest training paddle was 24km and she completed it four times, each time taking about 4hrs. Her main goal was to sustain a speed of 6km per hour to meet the race requirements for the check points and cut off times.

    Having never attempted a race like this before, Emma discovered a few challenges during training that she hadn’t expected.

    “Similar to marathon runners and cyclists, endurance paddleboarders have to be prepared for a fair bit of chafing. I discovered that my hips were the area most prone to chafing due to the rucksack sitting on top of my waistband and rubbing as I paddled,” she explained.

    “During one of my training sessions I encountered some rather aggressive swans. They were particularly defensive due to the time of year. I also became the subject of a few rescue attempts by an over-enthusiastic retriever. She launched herself at me trying to save me which came as a bit of a surprise as I had my headphones in. Besides that, my only other training challenge was juggling childcare.”

    During the race, staying hydrated, keeping energy levels up and spirits high were the main challenges.

    “You’d be surprised how difficult it is to breath and drink at the same time as paddling. Drinking from a hydration rucksack while continuing to paddle, required a bit of engineering to get the tube in the right place. Then there was the issue of drinking without losing tempo paddling while avoiding choking. It definitely requires some practice,” Emma explained.

    “My amazing playlist got me through some really low points. I had asked people for song suggestions and was able to see the funny side when songs like I’m Still Standing (Elton John) and Sit Down (James) came on during the race.

    The race hasn’t put Emma off paddleboarding or racing, in fact she was back on the water within 48 hours of the race and even started to consider her next challenge, which is a far cry from paddleboarding.

    “My next challenge will be a musical one. While the Great Glen challenge is on my doorstep and I’m tempted, I’m hoping to be in New Orleans that weekend competing in the finals with Forth Valley Chorus. So maybe in 2020!”

    Alison Young from The Wave Project Scotland said: “We were delighted to learn that Emma was undertaking this mammoth paddle to raise funds for our charity. The Wave Project relies heavily on funding and we are so grateful to Emma for this donation which will allow us to continue to provide surf therapy in Scotland. This month we have welcomed 24 new surfers ‘on board’ and their time in the water with a surf mentor is literally life changing, boosting self-esteem and happiness and building resilience. Thank you Emma.

    The Forth Valley Chorus management team commented:“We are in awe of Emma’s wonderful paddle boarding feat and delighted that she chose to help raise funds for both the Wave Project and the Forth Valley Chorus international fund. Emma has been a valued singer in the tenor section for 10 years and she knows the hard work it takes for the chorus of our size (over 100) to organise and fund the International trips which put Forth Valley on the map in a cappella singing circles. This September, Forth Valley Chorus will be representing the UK and the Netherlands in New Orleans, Louisiana and are pinning hopes on breaking into the hallowed Top 10 among over 600 Sweet Adelines International choruses around the globe. Emma’s fundraising helps add to the target which will make registration and hotel costs a little easier to bear for the singers. Thank you Emma and congratulations!"

    ENDS

    For more information, interviews or experiences please contact:

    Stephanie Melrose, Smell the Roses PR

    smelltherosespr@gmail.com

    Mobile: 07944 865925

    About Paddlefast

    Paddlefast is based in Central Scotland and sells stand up paddleboards, paddles, spares, clothing, nutrition bars and dry bags online. Paddlefast also run demo days and events for paddle boarders in Scotland.

    www.paddlefast.co.uk

    About The Wave Project Scotland

    The Wave Project Scotland is the most Northern project of this award-winning surf therapy programme and is based at Belhaven Bay near Dunbar. It has been running since a successful pilot in 2014 and delivers surf therapy programmes to over 100 young people a year. Through surfing the charity helps young people improve their wellbeing and supports them to change their lives, enabling those who are struggling to believe in themselves.

    www.waveproject.co.uk

     

    About Forth Valley Chorus

    Forth Valley Chorus is an all-female barbershop choir with around 110 members based all around Scotland. They are currently raising funds to ensure that all members get the chance to go to New Orleans to compete in the International Competition finals.

    www.forthvalleychorus.org

     

  • Union Canal Litter Pick Paddle

    Paddling up and down stretches of the Union Canal near to Paddlefast HQ, it saddens me how much rubbish can be found floating around. As a result, I decided to do something about it and organised a litter pick paddle.

    Who came along

    A few hardy souls braved a cold evening at the SUP Central Scotland 2nd session at Tesco Redding Road. In addition to the 6 paddlers, we had a shore crew of kids and a group of Tesco employees who very kindly came to help armed with gloves and litter pickers. Some of the under 18s may have been bribed to attend with fish suppers from Benny Ts...!

    What we found

    An odd assortment of trugs and even a baby bath were used to collect the rubbish collected from the water. The majority of the rubbish collected were plastic bottles, crisp packets and cans. However, some of the more unusual items included jelly bean memorabilia, a tv, a fishing lure and a sodden and disgusting piece of foam.

    Educating and sorting

    The enthusiastic shore crew could be heard shouting ‘litter’ for miles around! It was a great opportunity to teach the kids about plastic pollution and how long it takes for rubbish to biodegrade, or not as the case may be.

    We sorted the rubbish into glass bottles, plastic, cans and general waste. In the end we filled two trolleys with sorted rubbish. The lovely Tesco team took this to be disposed of with the store’s recycling.

    A job well done

    I cannot begin to tell you how satisfying it is to have paddled past that stretch of canal since, to know that our SUP Central Scotland team are responsible for how good it looks. Needless to say, we all enjoyed our biscuits (after a thorough hand wash!) as we packed up!

    If you would like to join us next time, you can like the page Paddlefast on Facebook, follow our events page or drop us a line in the office 01324 861756.

  • Paddlefast to attend RYA Dinghy Show

    The season is fast approaching and first on the calendar is the RYA Dinghy Show. Both Sailingfast & Paddlefast will attend this great event in the historic Alexandra Palace in London. Lots of special offers will be in place so it’s the perfect time to spruce up your board or boat or even treat yourself to a new one!

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  • Spring Demo days 2019

    Red Paddle co 2019 boardsJanuary has passed us by in the blink of an eye and I can barely believe we hit February this coming week! It must be time, therefore, to announce the dates for the Spring demo days with Paddlefast in 2019.

    We will be visiting a couple of different venues on the canal, taking advantage of our central location to hopefully encourage people across Scotland to try our range of demo boards, paddles and other gear.

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  • How to fly with an inflatable paddleboard

    Many posts have come before this one about how to fly with an inflatable paddleboard. How do I pack my SUP kit? Is my bag too heavy for flying? Do I need to book my SUP gear on as sports gear? However, until I had actually packed a board and taken it abroad, I felt I couldn't comment!

    The journey - Paris SUP Nautique

    So I should preface this by saying these tips are from my experience flying Edinburgh to Paris with Air France. Other airlines may have different policies when it comes to outsize baggage and weight allowances.

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  • Santa SUP 2018 breaking the ice at the Stables, Kirkintilloch

    Despite a less than promising forecast, an intrepid group of stand up paddleboarders met earlier today. The aim was to bring 2 paddleboard groups together (SUP Glasgow and Paddlefast’s Paddleclub Group – Central Scotland) for a social stand up paddle (SUP) in fancy dress in honour of the season.

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  • Opt Outdside

    This coming Friday sees the world go mad for so-called bargains online and in shops across the UK. With names like Black Friday and Cyber Monday emphasising the apocalyptic nature of these flash sales, Paddlefast are jumping on the Red Paddle Co bandwagon and suggesting we #optoutside instead.

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  • Pumpkin Adventure to the Narrowboat Farm by SUP

    Boy on paddleboard with red paddle co kiddy paddleOn the last day of our half-term holiday I promised the kids a pumpkin adventure. Not content with your average ‘drive to a pumpkin patch’ scenario, I decided to use this as an opportunity to get the paddleboard out in mid-October.

    The paddling team

    Now admittedly my 6 year old was very enthusiastic of a paddleboarding trip and even better if there was a pumpkin and carving at the end of it! However, my nearly 1 year old is still on the young side for paddleboarding adventuress of more than half an hour. She did not look overly impressed at being bundled into layers and lifejacket but was unfazed on the water which I take as a good sign!

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  • Authentic kid’s Review of Red Paddle Co kiddy paddle

    On a recent paddle, I asked Alexander (aged 6) for a review of the Red Paddle Co kiddy paddle which he has used for the last couple of years. Now 6 years old, it finally is the right size for him.

    The paddler

    Alexander has been paddleboarding since we started the business 4 years ago now. Initially just a passenger, he has gradually become more involved in our paddle adventures at Loch Lomond and beyond. We got him his own paddle when he was 4 but it wasn’t really until this summer that he used it properly.

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  • Naish Product testing for 2019

    This week has been a busy time heading all the way down to the south coast to do a little product testing. We spent a very productive couple of hours with Alex from Naish SUP trying out some of their hard boards.

    Conditions were perfect at Weymouth with light breeze and sunshine. We launched in the harbour for a quick shot of the following boards:

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