Blog

  • Paddlefast's top 10 paddling gifts for Christmas

    In the run up to Christmas, there is an overwhelm of amazing things that you could get the paddler in your life as a present. Paddlefast have rounded up a top 10 gift list of useful paddleboarding presents with a price tag for every budget.

    Stay dry, on the move, on the beach, on your paddleboard or in the changing room.

    Zhik quick dry towel

    Ultimate product, changing on the move, the beach or in the car park without revealing more than you mean to!

    Zhik hooded towel poncho

    100% waterproof, the perfect size for car keys, wallet and a phone, this nifty gadget can be velcro'd to your board or your belt. It has an interior padded pouch to protect your phone.

    Red Paddle Co Original Pouch

    The perfect solution for those looking for a flotation device but don't want the bulk of a buoyancy aid. The Glide from Palm is compact, but there when you need it. Comes in Red or Blue.

    Palm Glide PFD

    Sick of bending down to grab your phone for a photo? This handy waist pack keeps everything within reach in this 100% waterproof dry bag from Overboard. (NB. we use ours for snacks!!)
    Comes in black (shown below) or yellow.

    Overboard waist pack dry bag expanded

    Our best-selling, bang-for-your-buck paddle comes from Naish.

    A cheeky wee stocking filler - there's nothing worse than finding lots of rubbish while you're out, wanting to pick it up and not wanting to get freezing, cold, wet hands. Here is the solution...

    Starboard Trash Picker

    If you like to find new places to SUP, you will want to look after your paddle while travelling. This Travel Paddle Bag from Red Paddle Co allows you to chuck your paddle in the car, without worrying about scrapes and knocks. This is the 3 piece paddle version - other types also available from Red, Starboard and Naish.

    Looking for a whitewater adventure in 2020, maybe signed up for the Trent100? You may need a river fin for your board. This one from Starboard fits a US box.

    Starboard River Fin

    Made specially for us by Alison and the team at Wonky Woolies, the Paddlefast hat is handmade in the Scottish Borders and is super duper warm.

    Paddlefast bobblr bst

    Still not sure what to get the paddler in your life? We would be very happy to talk you through some options based on the type of paddleboarding they do and your budget. Just drop us a line via email emma@paddlefast.co.uk or by phone on 01324 861 756.

  • Paddlefast's Paris SUP Nautic Top Tips

    What were you thinking?!

    Some time ago, you put your name down for the world’s biggest SUP race down the Seine River, Paris in the middle of December. Then in October, you get the email back – you got a place!

    I was lucky enough to get a spot quite late on in 2018 so with only a couple of weeks to go, frantically started some early morning training to replicate the conditions of hitting the water in the dark around 7am. Let’s face it, Scotland is going to be colder at that time of the morning than Paris so good training, I thought.

    What's involved?

    Two very lucky members of SUP Central Scotland, Jayne Valentine and myself, had both been selected to take part. Jayne was on the Leisure course and I was on the Pro course. The Leisure course involves a 10km SUP downriver with another 650 or so paddlers. The Pro course takes in an extra loop round the Isle de la Cité so you do a section upriver finishing at 13km of distance.

    Champagne in departure lounge
    Bubbles on the way to Paris - departure lounge 6am!

    So, what do you need to know? Jayne and I compiled some notes at our last meet up (which had relocated to the pub as the weather was so awful) and came up with the following Paris SUP Nautic Top Tips.

    What to wear?

    Most people are 'fair weather' paddlers, but this is December, early morning and on flowing water. Given how many paddlers will be on the Seine, the water will be choppy so there is an increased risk of falling in. To be safe, I would wear a good wetsuit, with something windproof over the top. My personal choice was the O'Neill Ladies Psychofreak wetsuit, teamed with the Rooster Aquafleece. Don't forget of course one of our fabulous Wonky Woollies Bobble hats to keep your noggin toasty warm.

    In Advance

    SUP travel with inflatables
    SUP Central Scotland on Tour!
    The Face off
    Emma & Jayne face off
    1. Travel – we flew out with Air France as there was a sneaky discount code on the SUP Nautic page. Assuming you have an inflatable board, just make sure your paddle is well wrapped, you have your fin in your hand luggage to keep it safe. Sorted!
    2. Hotel – Stay as close to the Salon Nautic as you can. This is a big venue like the SECC, or Earl’s Court and they are hosting a Boat Show which the SUP race is part of. On the day of the race, you need to get yourself to the Salon Nautique for about 5:30am so either stay within walking distance, or set yourself up an Uber account. We would strongly recommend staying the night after the race so you can get a post-race shower… (no, it hadn’t occurred to us!)
    3. Registration – on the Saturday, get yourself registered ASAP. You will need 60 Euros cash for the tracker. You will get this back at the end when you hand the tracker back in.
    4. Enjoy the Boat Show – in 2018 there were indoor pools where the pros were doing short races back and forth. Very entertaining! You will also see various shops on their stands with the latest boards, go and have a nosey.
    5. Food prep – grab a couple of bananas or cereal bars for your breakfast/after the race tomorrow.
    6. Briefing – from memory this is a compulsory attendance on the Saturday evening. You will be shown the map of the course, the timings explained and it’s an opportunity to ask questions if you have any. Get some nosh down you then get an early night.

    On the day

    SUP Central Scotland On Tour and friends
    SUP Central Scotland & New Friends
    1. Transport – get on the first bus you can with your paddle and your fin. Take your snacks with you as there is quite a wait on the quayside while everyone arrives.
    2.  Backpack – this goes into one of the lorries while you race. I would recommend using your board bag rolled up as a rucksack so you can pack up at the finish line instead of having to do it later on. Towel, dry clothes, snacks, water.
    3. Find your board – your board has your race number on it so should be in a pile with a load of similar numbers. Take your board to the water’s edge and get organised (I sat my board with the tail over the edge so the fin didn’t get damaged).
    4. Kill some time – keep warm, do some stretches. Enjoy the atmosphere, take some photos! There will be fancy dress of all kinds and we would recommend a brightly colour hat so you can find yourself in any official videos or photos.
    5. When the time comes – JUMP. It’s quite a way down to the water so jump before you are pushed by the 7-800 other paddlers trying to get on the water behind you. Head upstream so you don’t get swept down over the start line. There is quite a current.
    6. Keep your eyes open – the start last year was delayed as the weather was so windy. Keep an eye on the pros, when they start lining up it will be nearly time to go.
    7. GO – the water will be choppy with so many folk on it at the same time. Bend your knees – look up, enjoy the scenery. You’ve got this! There will be paddlers of all abilities and boards of all shapes and sizes so watch out as they zig zag all over the place.

    After the Race

    1. Hand your tracker back (get your 60 Euro back). There is usually a queue for this, so get it done!
    2. Pack up - Grab your ‘rucksack’ or board bag and sort yourself out. If you didn’t take a board bag, then put your board back on one of the lorries and get yourself a coffee – you have earned it.
    3. Survivors’ photo!
    SUP past the Eiffel Tower
    Making new friends on the Seine

    They Paris officials shut the river down to boat traffic in order for you to do this race and they re-open the river at 9.30 so you HAVE to get past the cut off bridge in time. If they start late as they did last year you will have your work cut out! Keep an eye on the time at the start and then you will know what you have to do to get past the bridge.

    I’m delighted to report Jayne completed the race after only falling in 3 times. At the time she had only been paddleboarding for 6 months – epic achievement. Since then, she has paddled in Spain, Hawaii, across Scotland and possibly a few other destinations I don't know about!

    As for me, I was scooped up by the Loser/Party boat (depended on your perspective) having just completed the upriver section round Notre Dame! This has only motivated me to do better and since then I completed the Norfolk Broads Endurance Ultra in May 2019 and I am signed up to do the Great Glen Paddle in 2020.

    Party Boat on the Seine
    Party Boat on the Seine

    The Paris SUP Nautic is a great experience and it will, hopefully, give you an opportunity to meet other paddlers from around the world (keep their phone numbers, you never know when they could come in handy!). We have a number of the SUP Central Scotland members going this year and I would like to wish you all the very best of luck, especially if this is your first race. Please come back and tell us how it went.

  • Paddleboards prove a hit at Scotland’s Boat show

    A 12’6 Red Paddle Co Voyager paddleboard on display attracted a lot of visitors to the Sailingfast stand at the 33rd Annual Scotland Boat show at the weekend.

    Thousands of people spent the weekend at the country’s premier boat show at Kip Marina in Inverclyde at the weekend.

    Sailingfast and sister company Paddlefast were among the exhibitors in the Royal Yacht Association (RYA) Scotland Marine Pavilion at the three-day show. They caught the attention of visitors with the display of two Red Paddle Co paddleboards. The 12’6 Voyager board and 10’8 Ride board from the 2020 range were available for sale.

    Duncan Hepplewhite, director of Sailingfast based in Central Scotland explains:

    “Despite the typical Scottish weather, we’ve had another successful year at the show. This was our third year taking part and with the growing interest in paddleboarding, it was the perfect platform to showcase some of the 2020 paddleboards. Given their size, they were quite the attention grabber.

    “Most people who visited us on the stand were asking about the paddleboards. They were interested in what they were and how they might give paddleboarding a try if they hadn’t already.

    “It was really encouraging to hear that some people had seen our social media activity and knew about the special offers available and the fact we have the new 2020 paddleboards in stock already.”

    Visitors could benefit from a special container offer when signing up for a WASZP to be delivered in early spring, saving massively on the shipping costs. The deal is still running for orders placed by the end of October.

    Additionally, as the retailer for Topper and Laser Performance in Scotland, Sailingfast is well positioned to provide advice on dinghies to sail.

    Duncan comments: “We have an excellent understanding and experience of the various dinghies available in both ranges. So, we were able to provide advice to those interested in a dinghy to sail in terms of what will or won’t suit someone’s local sailing area and their crew set up – be it with kids or single handed for example.”

    In total, about 50 visitors to the stand entered the prize draw and the winner received a Zhik z-cru jacket and other sailing goodies.

    While on the standDuncan’s wife and business partner, Emma Hepplewhite spoke to people about the buzz she got when she tried foiling recently and her plans to do it again soon:

    Emma says: “Some say foiling is the future of sailing - it’s fast, exciting to sail and makes for edge of your seat viewing. There’s a reason the America’s Cup teams are doing it, and the Sail GP guys are using the WASZPs for training in the various ports on the tour. The WASZP is a one design foiling dinghy which means it hasn’t been retro fitted for foiling, as is the case with a couple of other classes. And the latest carbon foils are also affordable.

    “Scotland’s Boat Show is a key event for both of our businesses each year, raising the profile of sailing and paddleboarding and making it more accessible to everyone in Scotland. With 2020 being Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, we are looking forward to an even more exciting and memorable event next year.”

    ENDS

    About Sailingfast and Paddlefast

    Sailingfast was established in 2002 and the business expanded and launched Paddlefast. The business is owned and run by husband and wife team, Emma and Duncan Hepplewhite.

    Visit the website for more information and to see the range of products and services.

    www.sailingfast.co.uk

    www.paddlefast.co.uk

    For interviews and further information please contact:

    Stephanie Melrose, Smell the Roses PR

    smelltherosespr@gmail.com

    Mobile: 07944 865925

  • 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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