What is Stand-Up Paddleboarding?
Originating in Hawaii as an adaptation from surfing, Stand-Up Paddleboarding (or SUPing) is an extremely fun and inclusive sport of which anybody can try. As a combination of kayaking and surfing, it is a great activity that you can do to explore waterways whilst exercising your core. Most paddleboards are inflatable and easily transportable in a bag, which provides ease of movement and no need for a car roof rack.
Who am I?
My name is Estelle Hunter, a Business Management student at university and a keen 'SUPer' from Norfolk. I use my paddleboard on the Norfolk coast in places such as Wells-Next-The-Sea and Burnham Overy, where many others have also joined the craze.
Since seeing an increase in the use of paddleboards on beaches, harbours and waterways, I have realised how inclusive this sport actually is. It's great seeing anybody from couples, friends to families, less sporty people to sporty people partaking in this. However, with a paddleboard being upwards of a few hundred pounds each, it's easy to see why some people don't choose to buy them.
SUPing is typically a seasonal sport, done in the summer or spring time (however, avid SUPers enjoy it all year round by wearing wetsuits) and therefore many people don't see the point in spending a lot of money for paddleboards they will only use a few times during the year.
This is why I decided that it would be a good idea to offer a hire service for these, hiring out all equipment needed such as the paddleboard, leash, pump, paddle, buoyancy aide & a bag for it all to go in. I aim to buy different sized paddleboards and buoyancy aides so that absolutely anybody can get involved. However, after working at a boat hire myself, I plan to extend my services' product-range to inflatable kayaks and other water sport options once we have made the revenue to do so.
I have worked for a Cycle Hire & Boat Hire business for a while and believe that I have developed a strong set of knowledge on how to execute this type of business. I understand what is required, such as waiver forms & insurance to cover the safety of my customers, and how to provide them with an excellent service. From this, I have accumulated good contacts and friends in the industry that can help me (and have already helped me) begin this journey that I am fuelled with determination to do correctly.
How will I use the funds that are raised?
I will use the funds to purchase the correct paddleboarding and safety equipment to ensure that my customers can have an enjoyable hire and hopefully feel inspired to return to my service in the future. This will include the paddleboard, pump, leash, paddle and easily-transportable bag. Safety equipment will include a range of sizes of buoyancy aides and an insurance policy that will ensure that my customers are covered if anything were to go wrong. In the long term, I intend to reinvest the revenue that this business generates and put it towards buying a range of wetsuits (for all year round use) and inflatable kayaks.
I plan to use my time to demonstrate the use of the equipment to those who are less familiar, and educate every customer on how to stay safe and the rules of the waters (regardless of if they're experienced or not). I would also like to include a print-out in each paddleboard bag stating these instructions, safety tips, rules and my contact details so my customers always feel informed. Therefore, every customer will be provided with a briefing on the use of the equipment and an explanation of safety and of the rules of the water. Once my business grows, I hope to employ a number of people who are determined to help do this with me and value customer service.
As of recently, there's no doubt that the environment has been on our minds. The impact we have on the environment is extortionate, and it's small communities coming together to do things such as beach litter-picks and ocean clean-ups that can make an impact. Once I have established this business, and begun to get a customer-base, I would love to organise beach litter-picks with those working with me and the wider community. I would also like to spend more of my time, on my paddleboard, on the waters, with a good old fashioned net picking up the rubbish that pollutes our waters and harms our wildlife. With your funding - I will be able to spend more of my time doing the things that matter.
Thank you so much for reading!