We’ve put together a simple grading system for our trips to help you decide which are for you. If you’re not sure what stage you’re at please get in touch and we’ll be able to help. Due to weather conditions, we can’t always be 100% sure on trip location until the last minute but if we can’t paddle at our first choice we’ll pick another that falls into the same grade. SUP Bristol grading is loosely based on the brilliant iAM band system.
■ Yellow – Beginner: An intro to SUP in a safe, sheltered and fully qualified environment. You’ll develop an understanding of the key safety aspects of SUP. No paddling skills, experience or fitness is required. Skills learned: Paddling safely prone, kneeling and standing
Duration: 2 hours, e.g: Harbourside Adventure
■ Orange – Improver: These trips will take your paddling out of the harbour onto local rivers and canals. You can still expect sheltered conditions with easy landings but we’ll be on the water longer so some SUP experience and moderate fitness is required. We’ll discuss planning adventures, sustainability in the outdoors and you’ll develop your confidence and awareness of SUP safety. After this you’ll feel ready to put your skills into action on the sea! Skills learned: Improved paddling technique and control
Duration: Half day, 10 km, e.g: Aqueduct Adventure
■ Green – Intermediate: Discover Britain’s spectacular coastline by stand up paddleboard. These day adventures offers the perfect introduction to coastal paddling. Our exact location will depend on the weather as we’ll be searching out sheltered spots away from ocean swell for your first taste of the sea. We’ll paddle in small groups, making full use of expert coaching and guiding. You’ll further develop your paddling skills, safety skills and build up knowledge on weather and tides. Skills learned: Improved paddling technique and control
Duration: Half day, 10 km , e.g: Pembrokeshire weekend
■ Blue – Independent: These journeys are more exposed to the weather so expect choppier conditions and ocean swell. Whilst you’ll still be guided in small groups, you’ll be able to make independant judgements now too. We’ll be on the water up to a full day and you can expect to experience awkward landings and tidal flow. You’ll need good general fitness and experience of coastal paddling to make the most of these journeys. We’ll look at predicting weather and tides – aiming to improve your SUP independence. At this stage you’re well on the journey and thinking about planning your own adventures.
Skills learned: Moving towards independent decision making, Duration: Day
■ Brown (Skilled): By now you’re now confident paddling with peers in a range of conditions. Experience overnight-self supported journeys, exposed coastal trips, racing, downwinding, (foiling!?) and more. A world of opportunity opens up on the water!
■ Black (Expert): You’re confident consistently, safely and independently paddling in a wide range of conditions. You may be regularly downwinding, racing, touring or inspiring the next generation of paddlers.