AquaPaddle is a charity, Paddle Sport’s own charity, created and founded by passionate paddlers for the benefit of the whole community. The charity has built a growing network of delivery partners to run paddling sessions dedicated to improving mental and physical health called AquaPaddle – BlueSpace. The BlueSpace sessions are aimed at those in need who would greatly benefit from the healing and calming effects of being out on open water. AquaPaddle is the national charity to fundraise and provide the structure for these sessions to take place and regardless of location.
AquaPaddle is also the name of the free timed 5km social paddle run by volunteers for all paddling abilities on different craft and waterways across the country. Meeting on ideally, Sunday mornings of the location’s choice, the timed social paddle provides an opportunity for those who want to improve their fitness and wellbeing, meet other like-minded paddlers and have fun!
When on an AquaPaddle there will be safety volunteers marshalling the route. Still, if someone falls in near you, you are expected to help and alert the volunteer Crew, not just paddle past. The safety of other paddlers is more important than getting a ‘time’; you can come back another day and do that. If there is a medical emergency, the First Aid Trained Safety Volunteers are on hand to step in – Let us build a community of kindness and a passion for water sports.
The concept is similar to Parkrun, albeit with some significant differences. We are building a community of regular paddlers, or “AquaPaddlers”, who will also help fundraise and support the Charity in its work.
It is cyclical in nature as the funding that comes from the AquaPaddlers allows BlueSpace sessions to take place. Participants of the BlueSpace sessions then have a goal to aim for in being able to take part in AquaPaddle 5K. Thus, empowering them and building self-esteem. For others it will be something that they can get involved in and become a paddle leader and AquaPaddle Captain and run their local AquaPaddle.
The benefit to the local club is that it brings all paddlers together, plus it brings paddlers who are not necessarily part of a club or haven’t even thought about joining a club or taking part in training sessions. Since it is free to sign up and register for an event, the barrier to entry is very low.
The benefit to the paddling community, is that through other paddlers example of best practice, and gentle persuasion, we can educate the wider paddling community of the benefits of wearing a buoyancy aid, carrying a whistle and mobile in a waterproof case. If on a board the best practise and benefit of wearing a quick release waist leash belt. Without the need for heavy handed rules and requirements, that form a barrier for people taking part. We, much rather they take part, and we look after them and they come back next time with the complete set of equipment, than we turn them away and we never see them again. And they continue to paddle in an unsafe manner.
The Discord comms system is a great multi-channel communications system like WhatsApp, but a lot better as you can set it to be notified about the locations and AquaPaddles you want to know about and “Mute” the ones you don’t. There is also a great Desktop app available to have on your Laptop or Pad.
If you would like to help the charitable work of AquaPaddle, please click the button below to make a donation.
If you want to see what AquaPaddle is all about and the community that has been built, we have a YouTube Channel where we regularly post videos of our events.