An ‘experience voucher’ could be the perfect gift for a loved one who has everything this Christmas. Denbighshire has a wealth of adventure sports and outdoor activities on offer and this winter you can treat someone to a present with a difference or get them kitted out with all the equipment they need for the new year.
Caroline Dawson, who set up SUP Lass Paddle Adventures, an accredited Water Skills Academy SUP school based in Loggerheads, offers stand-up paddle board tuition, river adventures, coastal trips and safety sessions. She also paddles competitively and recently came second in the GB SUP Series Great Glen Challenge in Scotland.
Caroline said: “My passion is adventure and I like to offer customers more than just a basic lesson, I often serve up hot chocolate or a mug of soup on the water's edge. To see people attend sessions has been wonderful, especially after the pandemic, seeing paddlers laughing and having fun again was fantastic.”
Paddle boarding involves participants using a paddle while standing or kneeling on a paddle board.
Caroline said: “Paddle boarding has grown hugely over the last 12 months, it is really popular. Denbighshire is a really good area for adventure sports, they are popular with locals and visitors and there are so many businesses offering a wide range of adventure sports. “It is very important to support local businesses and to shop local this Christmas, it helps support the economy in Denbighshire and there is so much on offer.” She added: “This is the perfect time of the year to get a loved one who has everything something different. You can’t put a price on a memory with a loved one, a new experience or learning a new skill. It is something special and magical.
Like a lot of adventure businesses we sell vouchers on our website and are able to customise them to fit any of our sessions.” Caroline and Llangollen’s ProAdventure are amongst a number of independent businesses supporting the #LoveLiveLocal campaign being run by Denbighshire County Council to encourage more people to support local businesses and shop local this winter.
ProAdventure opened in 1991 and is a specialist outdoor adventure retailer selling everything from tipi tents, bush-craft equipment, outdoor clothing and equipment for cooking and living comfortably in the great outdoors.
Peter Carol runs the business with his wife Lesley who is a trained mountain leader, a qualified canoe river leader and a Nordic walking coach. Peter, who has more than 30 years of experience of working in outdoor adventure training and holidays, said: “Adventure sports are very popular in Denbighshire and we are seeing it grow.
There is also a wealth of beautiful countryside for people to explore. “Now is a great time to get kitted out for the new year, or for those who are experienced in the outdoors you can repair, wash or reproof kit with the supplies we carry in the shop. The products we sell reflect our love of walking and camping, Scandinavian culture and back garden living. “We also make careful buying choices while taking account of the environmental impact products make and this includes choices on what we sell and who we buy it from, sourcing renewable electricity and using LED lighting throughout the store.
“We have a very sportive business community here in Llangollen and we would encourage shoppers to look at their local high streets this Christmas and to think outside the box when looking for presents.”
Shoppers can help by sharing great experiences and products on social media to let people know you have shopped local this winter and encourage others to #LoveLiveLocal too.
You can get involved by visiting www.denbighshire.gov.uk/en/business/business-support/love-live-local.aspx
Firstly, a huge thank you for supporting the first summer of SUP Lass Paddle Adventures - it’s been a pleasure to meet and coach so many of you.
What’s coming up.
With summer moving into autumn over the next month or so, we plan to wrap up SUP Club for 2021 but continue to offer short courses and one to one and group sessions through the cooler months - we paddle all year.
For the latest SUP Lass updates please follow us on Facebook or Instagram.
Here to help.
If you’re unsure about anything SUP, then we’re always happy to offer professional advice and support - please just ask. Board set up, clothing, safety, paddle locations…we've answered lots of questions and queries throughout the summer.
Share with us how we did.
Your feedback is important to us - if you’ve enjoyed your session with us, we would be incredibly grateful if you could leave us a Facebook or Google review.
We are in the process of becoming a Water Skills Academy accredited SUP school, which means we will soon be able to offer certified courses and further increase our professional SUP offer. We have plenty of ideas to ramp up our adventure offer, promote skills and safety, and of course bring back the hugely popular SUP CLUB.
Quick release waist leashes are a hot topic at the moment and one I get asked about most often by clients….
Here at SUP Lass Paddle Adventures we use quick release waist leashes with all of our own boards when used in sessions - I particularly encourage their use on rivers and estuaries - basically any water that moves or flows.
A quick release waist belt has the potential to save your life in the event of a situation when you need to separate from your board quickly e.g becoming held by the water against an obstacle. Here is a SUP Leash demonstration by Barry Hughes Paddle Sports. And as you can see, reaching to your waist to release is much easier than your ankle.
A quick release waist belt should always be used in conjunction with a curly leash.
What to buy:
If your relatively new to SUP and you’re looking to purchase an affordable, entry level one, I can recommend one manufactured by Panda Board Sports. This can be used in conjunction with your existing curly ankle leash.
As you advance your skills and paddling environments, I’d certainly consider looking at the offer of other reputable brands: Peak, Palm, HF......to name but a few. Prices range from between £15-£45
~ You can use your cuff from your existing curly ankle leash (the ones that come with most standard board packages) to fit onto the quick release belt system.
~ Cut any excess webbing - this keeps the belt tidy and neat, and will help to speed up the release action when activated.
~ Give your belt a trial run - practice using your quick release system in a safe environment to give you the confidence in how it works.
~ Check your belt and leash regularly for wear and tear, replace if fatigued in anyway.
Further advice and mini videos on SUP Safety, kit and equipment an be found on the Water Skills Academy website.
A fellow paddler asked me the other day - what is in your little blue bag?!
On my own or with clients - I ALWAYS carry the following items:
My SUP #safetyessentials:
- Explore and develop ‘on the water’ catering concepts for clients
- Up-skill the CBK team
DAY 1: The theory - food safety, legislation, equipment and concept development.
DAY 2: The practice - road testing equipment, record keeping and trialing recipes - breakfast, lunch and dinner using a range of kit: Wolf and Grizzly grills, Kelly Kettles....
Over the two days, I was able to draw upon my extensive experience of working across the food and drink supply chain, which includes running my own award winning event catering business and sell out outdoor dining experiences. Plus share my passion for ‘scratch cooking’ and sourcing local, sustainable products that support independent suppliers.
SUP Lass Paddle Adventures can offer adventure catering consultancy and bespoke training for individuals/groups/businesses. Plus road test kit and concepts - both on and off the water.
I’d like to thank Simon and Dave for the opportunity to work with the CBK Adventure team and I can’t wait to see how they utilize their skills and knowledge within their business.
Building on overnight experiences from last year, I have spent time over winter to research and invest in lighter weight kit, along with improving my knowledge through reading good old fashioned books: ‘Scouting for Boys’, Lord Baden Powell and ‘Canoe Camping’, Tim Gent. Plus signing up to the Water Skills Academy excellent 'Leave No Trace' webinar.
What worked well....
• Sleeping kit - my new Sea To Summit mat worked like a dream, even on river shingle and my trusted Snugpak sleeping bag stood up to the lower temperatures of -4c. All in all a very comfortable and cozy nights sleep.
• Food - Look What We Found boil in the bag chilli worked a treat (£1.69 from most supermarkets). Its an ambient and shelf stable product - super tasty and wholesome, made with 100% British ingredients.
• Fire - access to vast amounts of dry ‘flood wood’ which burnt very hot. Providing valuable and much needed warmth.
• Dry bags - 60l, 30l, 10l all performed well - q mix of OEX and Aquapac.
• Boards - My 11'6 Fanatic touring board handled well with the additional weight, the addition of river fins helped with the negotiating the shallows.
And less well...
• Camp shoes - I overlooked them as not a necessity.....they were! Wet shoes are as much fun as no shoes.
• Defrosting kit - challenged with limited storage options and a tiny tent. My dry suit succumbed to a heavy frost.
• Hands - further research into finding warmer and more paddle friendly gloves. My neoprene ones simply didn’t cut it....particularly when paddling at 6.30am.
• Feet - I struggled with cold feet in my Palm dry suit during the early morning paddle. Further research and speaking to fellow paddlers has introduced me to Rooster Hot Socks - a game changer!!!
I’d love to hear your tips/tricks/recommendations for overnight adventures, especially during the cooler shoulder seasons.