Let’s start with what to expect. Yow will arrive at the location and park your car in a safe and sensible place. If arriving by public transport, you will head to the meeting point as given using the What3Words location.
Once you have prepared your boat or pumped up you paddle board, you will wait for the safety briefing to begin. If you are a Newbie, then please make yourself known to the Crew and AquaPaddle Captain before the Safety Briefing. Please take note of the safety advice and any obstacles. The safety briefing is given by the AquaPaddle Captain, who has overall charge of the local AquaPaddle Event.
You will then head over to the launch point and carefully launch your craft and head over to the starting line. The Time Lord will take over and the AquaPaddle Crew will help guide you and make sure everyone is safely in position.
Once the Time Lord or AquaPaddle Captain starts the AquaPaddle, you will head off along the route. Remember this is a Timed Social Paddle and not a race. You are just trying to do the 5 kilometre route as fast as you can. There are no prizes. Also, the ethos of AquaPaddle is you help other paddlers if they fall in near you. Your fellow AquaPaddlers are more important than your time.
The idea of AquaPaddle isn’t to beat a previous time as a one off, but to see an improvement in times over a season. Wind and water conditions can speed you up or slow you down, but over time you will see an improvement. Hence not worrying if you have to stop for a few minutes to help someone back onto their craft.
The marshals will be on hand to help and take over, but they can’t be everywhere and alongside every AquaPaddler.
When you come up towards the finish, make sure your personal AquaPaddle Number is easy to see and if you can, shout out the first 3 letters. Once over the line, what seems to be the tradition is that the AquaPaddlers wait to cheer the last paddlers home. It’s not a problem if you have to head off either.
AquaPaddle is a big community here to encourage others to be the best they can.
The most important thing is that you register on this AquaPaddle website and have your AquaPaddle Number with you. The number is in your Profile and is 3 letters and 3 numbers. We aim to be able to buy personalised numbers in the near future, so keep a look out for news on this.
The number can be printed on a bib or T-shirt available from the AquaPaddle Shop. The bibs cost £15.00.
You can create your own if you have a printer or black marker pens. Remember it has to be visible from the bank by the Time Lord and their Assistants.
If you are making your own please print the numbers as big as possible on A4 paper. You can download a printable version from the My Profile page when logged into the website. Look for the DOWNLOAD TAG Button.
Once you have your number printed you will have to protect it from getting wet. The best way is to put it in file pocket and tape the end up.
Then you just need to attach it to your boat or your body. Ideally you should have one front and back.
Once you have your AquaPaddle Number you will need your craft, either a Paddle Board or Canoe or Kayak. It needs to be in good condition for a 5K paddle and not liable to sink. If the AquaPaddle Captain thinks that your craft is not suitable and there isn’t an alternative for you to use, then your AquaPaddle Number will be removed from that day’s AquaPaddle. Safety is paramount at AquaPaddle and if you go out in what the AquaPaddle Captain considers an unsafe craft, that would put other AquaPaddlers at risk, especially the AquaPaddle Crew Marshals who might have to rescue you.
Paddle boards need to be properly inflated to the manufacture’s guidelines. AquaPaddle Crew will be on hand to advise where these details can be found. However, AquaPaddle takes no responsibility if you over inflate your board and it ruptures.
You will need a Paddle suitable for your craft.
A Buoyancy Aid is essential. Ideally a standard Buoyancy Aid or Personal Floatation Device. If you are an experienced paddler, the an inflatable one that is worn on a belt would be allowed. Ideally, it would be a self inflating type, but manual ones would be allowed.
All Paddle Boarders must have a waterway appropriate leash. If in doubt, wear a quick release wait belt leash. Ankle leashes should be avoided at all times. Safety first. Even a lake on a windy day can be dangerous with an ankle leash.
And always carry a Whistle that works in water with you.