This summer’s staycation boom has seen more people taking up paddleboarding while on holiday at the seaside or inland in Mid Wales where they have been exploring rivers, canals and lakes.
Paddleboarding is now the world’s most popular watersport which has encouraged an entrepreneur to launch a new business teaching people how to safely get a close up view of the River Severn between Welshpool and Llandrinio aboard a paddleboard.
Rich Brook, 37, of Long Mountain Paddleboarding - https://longmountainpaddleboarding.com - is using 10 years’ experience as an outdoor activity and watersports instructor to run standup paddleboarding courses.
The courses are designed to suit all skill levels, ranging from complete beginners to those who already have some paddleboard experience.
He is hoping for a busy autumn, with courses scheduled until mid-October, river and weather conditions allowing.
To help promote his new venture, Rich has joined MWT Cymru, an independent company representing more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and the Meirionnydd region of Gwynedd.
Impressed by how many quality places to stay there are in the Welshpool area, Rich features some of them on his website.
“I enjoy teaching people new skills and found that there was not a lot going on in the Welshpool area in terms of watersports,” said Rich. “Paddleboarding has been growing for a number of years, but it has hit the headlines more this year and it’s now the world’s fastest growing watersport.
“I think that’s because it’s so accessible and there are varying degrees of technical skills required depending on whether its flat water or white water.
“Everybody has been on staycation this summer and looking for something to do. Paddleboarding has allowed them to discover the beautiful inland waterways of Mid Wales. It’s amazing the amount of wildlife that you can see when you are out on the river.”
He stressed that his courses and coaching sessions focus on the safety aspects of paddleboarding to enable his customers to assess whether the conditions and environment they are planning to paddle in are suitable for their skill level.
All paddleboard courses must be booked 24 hours in advance and Rich can take between two and eight paddlers, with prices ranging from £25 for 90 minutes’ instruction to £35 for three hours. He also offers two-hour, one-to-one coaching with a video review session for £50 for those wishing to improve the efficiency of their skills.
The minimum age for paddlers is eight and those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult on the water. All paddleboards, wetsuits and buoyancy aids are provided.
“I aim to tailor bespoke courses and trips in order to meet individual training aims and objectives,” explained Rich who is considering running weekend courses in different parts of Wales next year if he can find the right locations.
Rich Brook on his paddleboard.
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