Earlier this year we decided to make an investment in some paddleboards. We’d seen their increased use this year whilst in Cornwall and Devon on holidays and weekends away, and we were intrigued! The thing was, whilst I really wanted to try paddleboarding, my husband wasn’t sure whether a kayak would be better as he likes to kayak.
Much to our surprise, when we visited a surf shop in Cornwall, they had the perfect solution – the SUP-YAK!
This amazing board is a stand-up paddleboard that can be converted into a kayak with a seat attachment! Amazing!
We were sold and with our pending move to Cornwall at the time, we couldn’t resist. They also only had two left in stock and their paddleboards were selling fast, with their rise in popularity, so we just had to have them.
Moving to Cornwall, we knew we’d use them loads and with a lifespan of at least ten years, they seemed the perfect introduction to both paddleboarding and kayaking on the sea for me.
Read on to see how I got on with my first SUP-YAK outing at beautiful Harbour Cove in Cornwall.
Oh how I’ve missed the sea
I honestly haven’t had this much fun for what seems like years! I felt so happy out on the sea on the SUP-YAK using it as a kayak with the seat attachment and kayak paddle. Years ago, as a child, you couldn’t get me out of the sea. But then, something changed and I wouldn’t get in. I was scared of what was around me and I’m pretty sure I watched jaws at a friend’s house and it petrified me! For over 20 years I haven’t swum in the sea, but with the move to Cornwall, I decided this has to change and I’d just swallow my fear and get in!
This was at first in a full-on wet suit to cover as much of me as possible, but once I did that with a bodyboard, I was more than happy to venture out further and give the SUP-YAK a go.
This day was particularly hot, so I even wore my bikini and shorts and skipped the wetsuit. Being on the board meant I didn’t feel the need and I even plucked up the courage to jump into the water a couple of times for a refreshing dip to cool off.
I had an absolute blast!
After almost a year of being stuck at home with Ben and the kids and walking around the same area again and again, I really needed something different in my life and this satisfied that urge! I felt so free and so content on the water. It was the happiest I’d felt in such a long time.
The benefits of the SUP-YAK
I’ve been on the board a few times since and I am really impressed with its design. Here are some of the benefits of the SUP-YAK:
- Not surprisingly, the biggest benefit is its ability to be both a paddleboard and a kayak. The board comes as a paddleboard with appropriate paddle, but you can buy extra attachments such as the kayak seat, footrest and kayak paddle to convert it, meaning it has two uses on the water. Perfect!
- It comes in a range of sizes, so you can actually buy a larger one than ours and fit two adults on it for kayaking with two seat attachments.
- The smaller size we bought is perfect to have the kids on. They loved sitting on the front and enjoyed the ride.
- It’s not too labourious to pump up and down with the provided hand pump, plus it’s great exercise.
- They are blow up, so they fold down reasonably neatly for storage.
- They come with a large backpack to make carrying to the beach from the car a bit easier… but we are thinking of attaaching some wheels somehow or getting a cart of sorts for those longer walks.
- It’s easy to learn how to do, especially the kayaking, providing you have a calmish sea, you can teach yourself. I’d recommend a calm, large patch of water so you can learn how to steer the board as you’ll need to know what you’re doing when it gets a bit windy or wavey. Ultimately you push the paddle backwards to turn, but I’m sure there are loads of YouTube videos which teach the steering. Ben told me what to do and I just practised and worked out the best way for me to steer the board.
Harbour Cove in Cornwall is perfect for paddleboarding
You wouldn’t believe it, but we were on this beach at the start of the summer holidays and it was so empty!
It’s a great find for a quieter location, so long as you don’t mind zero facilities and a bit of a trek.
Here’s Reuben at the waters edge:
We parked in a farmer’s field and paid £3 cash for the day. He only took cash, so this helped to reduce the number of cars as card only vehicles were turned away.
Then it’s a short trek through some woodland to the beach.
The beach comprises of Harbour Cove and smaller Hawker’s Cove which link together at low tide, but separate at high tide.
It was a bit of a mission to drag the heavy paddleboards from the car to the beach in the sweltering heat, but we made it, albeit with a stranger behind me untangling me from some branches I had to crouch through and the paddleboard backpack got stuck and I couldn’t get free!
Once out to sea on the paddleboards, it was totally worth it.
The sea here is actually the estuary of the River Camel and on the day we visited it was so calm. The water is also rather shallow for ages, so perfect for practising on the kayak, or even on a paddleboard, to get balance and learn how to steer with plenty of space and few people.
Just watch out for the jellyfish! There were loads of compass jellyfish in the water the entire summer in Cornwall this year.