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The Urban Paddleboarder – London

Posted by Jess Davies

London is a lively city full of endless history, culture and live entertainment where you can do anything from sitting in the theatre with thousands of people to enjoying a rooftop cocktail out in Soho. The desire for nature can be minimal among the city folk, however, for those that crave an element of escape and connection with the outdoors, there is some great paddle boarding locations right on the city’s doorstep. London is full of pockets of places to paddle and hidden gems that are waiting to be explored and quench that thirst for adventure.     

Rachel packed up a board and took a trip to the big smoke to test out and uncover one of the best urban spots for paddle boarding in London.

Transportability is key when in the Capital. Jumping on the tube with the super portable 9’6’’ Compact on my back, I was excited to see where my mini city adventure would take me. The Compact board is super lightweight and with an ergonomic bag with a lumbar support system, so it is easily adjusted to my height for exploring the sights of the city. 

Arriving just outside Paddington, I decided to take my adventure to the next level and grab a Brompton Bike to navigate my way through the hustle and bustle of the city. I saw the city in a different light and with the lightweight board on my back, it was easy to get around and take in the sights and sounds of London’s typical attractions. Back underground, I jumped on another tube before arriving at my paddling destination – Hackney Canals with Paddleboard London - a paddleboard group that is pro at adapting to this urban environment.

Walking towards the Hackney canals, I felt a real buzz when I caught my first glimpse of the super flat water which was surrounded by untouched canal boats & trendy pubs. Seeing the city in its raw form from the water’s edge, I couldn’t wait to hit the water and view the city from a new perspective.  

Unrolling the board and unpacking the bag on the dockside was a quick easy process. Seeing the pure interest and curiosity from passers-by when unravelling the board showed me how adaptable and versatile this board can be.

I’d arrived just in time to join the SUP Club, with a group of passionate inner-city paddlers on an evening paddle to the pub – my kind of trip! 

''We love our urban locations and being able to share the peaceful experience of paddle boarding in some of London’s busiest neighbourhoods''

We drifted away from the docks and floated through the grungy waters of Hackney Canal, passing high-rise buildings and pub drinkers as the sunset arrived just in time. It was a unique and sociable way to explore the outdoors and leave the fast pace of the city behind while soaking up the urban setting from a unique perspective. As our group of like-minded paddlers explored the canal waters, we popped our head torches on to paddle back up to the dock indulging in people's fine dining experiences as we passed their canal homes.

Hackney certainly has a buzz to it centres around Mare Street which plays host to iconic music, comedy & drama and is home to a cultural mix of creatives, students and families. The idyllic surroundings of post-work runners, and beer drinkers mixed with music blasting from home windows & popping street art – this truly is a diverse urban SUP spot for the senses.  

If you’d like to try a spot of SUP when you are next in London, then there is no shortage of places to enjoy a quick paddle. There are also some great Red retailers located around the city that can help you choose the right board for you and offer demos in the urban waters. Head to our Demo events and stores page to find out more.