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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Stand-up paddleboarding

What’s SUP? Walk the boards and make a splash in a stand-up paddleboarding adventure.

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Try this activity at one of our adventure centres

Stand up on your paddle board and propel yourself through the water. Go fast, take it slow, either way it's a great way to take in the stunning landscape of Kielder.

Go stand-up paddleboarding with Scout Adventures

What to expect

Stand-up paddleboarding, also called SUP, involves standing on a board similar to a surfboard or windsurf board and using a long paddle to move yourself around. SUP can be done on rivers, lakes, the sea or even white water.

SUP is a great way to get into different paddlesports as it’s just you, the board and the paddle to contend with, and if you fall off you can just climb right back on. As SUP boards are usually quite light (and often inflatable) and easy to carry around, they can go anywhere and are a great way to explore the outdoors without eroding the riverbanks or making lots of noise.

Giant SUP boards are also available, allowing teams to share this experience, learning the skills and to manoeuvre as a group.

What you’ll learn

How to work on your balance and composure on different kinds of water, which helps improve your core strength and should help you keep your balance on boats and other watercraft.

Fun facts

Paddleboarding is thought to date back thousands of years, and was practised as far afield as Hawaii, Peru and Italy. 16th century Hawaiian paddleboarders used boards that were up to five metres long! Room for one more?

Handy hints

  • Start with SUP. Stand-up paddleboarding is a great intro to different paddlesports and can be more easily accessible too. Try SUP if it’s your first time on the water.
  • Make a splash. Everyone falls off, so don’t be embarrassed! Always bring a change of clothes and make sure to run this adventure when the weather’s a bit warmer.


You must always:
Be safe outdoors:
  • Check the weather forecast
Be safe in water:

Everyone should be able to swim 50 m wearing the clothing or equipment for the activity. Non-swimmers will need additional support.

Water can be dangerous - be aware of the risks.

The category of water depends on how safe the water is. Use our waterways directory to check.

Be sure to manage the group when near water, keeping everyone safe. 


Make sure that all equipment is fit for purpose and in good condition:

Everyone must wear a life jacket or buoyancy aid.

The instructor must make sure boats are seaworthy.

There are regulations you must follow if you are hiring a boat.


Joint activities with other organisations:
This activity can be led by you or someone else in Scouts:
  • The activity leader must have an adventurous activities permit with the right level and permissions for your group.

    • You don't need a permit for activities on Class C waters (safe, inland water less than 100 m wide).

    • Where the group is entirely members over the age of 18 the permit scheme does not apply, please follow the rule 9.8 adult groups.

You can go to a centre or use an activity leader who is not part of Scouting:
You must find a suitable provider who meets the following requirements:
  • The centre/instructor should hold one of these: (If the provider is AALA exempt)
    • British Canoeing - Coach Award (level and discipline specific - with appropriate endorsements for the waters being used)
    • Adventure Mark - centre
  • The provider must have public liability insurance.


Activity Permit Scheme

Class C Waters

Stand Up Paddleboarding


Stand-up paddleboarding is a great way to get active and go and explore the outdoors. The gear is also easier to carry around than kayaks or canoes, and some things can even be folded away for easy storage. Because paddleboards are lighter, they’re often less damaging to the environment, as they cause less erosion to riverbanks and destroy fewer aquatic plants. What different ways can we reduce our environmental impact when we do different paddlesports? These could be things like launching from the water so we don’t damage the bank, or picking up rubbish as we go, or even choosing somewhere closer so we don’t have to drive as far. Protecting the environment will let us enjoy activities like stand-up paddleboarding for years to come and help us think more about how we impact our environment every day.

  • Stand-up paddleboarding can often be adapted so more people can give it a go. Many outdoor centres have facilities that cater for people with additional needs and experienced instructors to help everyone achieve their goals. Get in touch with your local provider to chat through the needs of people in your group – make sure you give them plenty of notice.
  • SUP is a great adventure for everyone to get involved in because of the simplicity of the board and paddle and the range of ways that they can be used. Stand-up paddleboards can be adapted in a variety of ways to make sure everyone has the opportunity to get involved. As adaptations may need to be made, get in touch early with your provider to discuss any additional needs and make sure they can provide a session that works for you and your group.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Stand-up paddleboarding is a great introduction to lots of different watersports. Test out your balance by going surfing or harness your paddle power and give canoeing a go.