Are you planning your 1st SUP Expedition? Let Barrachou Paddle help you plan your 1st SUP Expedition with this comprehensive guide. What are the first steps in planning your first SUP expedition?


How do you plan? The factors that you need to consider for your first SUP expedition would be

  1. Time
  2. Safety
  3. Skills
  4. Weather
  5. Comfort level

1. Time

We are all not blessed with a huge amount of leisure time. So your first SUP expedition does not need to be a 2 week affair. It can be a micro adventure that starts in the late afternoon and ends the next morning. However when you are planning your first SUP expedition allow yourself time to change the plan if does not all go to plan.

2. Safety

This is linked to skill level and time. When planning your first SUP expedition stick to a familiar site, perhaps scope it out on a day paddle. Have a look at where you can put in safely and get out, especially if the conditions change, particuluarly the wind and waves.

Kit is also a consideration. It keeping safe make sure that you have the appropriate kit. But you do not need to go all out if you are staying one night. A tent, a sleeping bag, thermorest, dry set of clothes, a cooker  (a means of lighting), and some food are basically the minimum. With added bonus items such as first aid kit, a mobile phone, a small stool, a tarp for sitting upneath (and lets not forget a midgie net if you are in Scotland).

3. Skills

With instagram and other social media we may feel compelled to go for it on our first SUP expedition. But stick to within your skill levels. Why not plan an expedition that is only 3 KM. This would decrease your stress level and make it more fun.

When planning your first SUP expedition the first thing to do is look at map. Use google maps, online OS maps or the old school paper mpas. This gives you a good outline of the terrain. Using maps you can have a great overview fof the river, loch, lake or sea that you would like to do your SUP expedition. Normally your first SUP expedition should be a short distance, you can play a distance of  5 KM there and 5KM back. This will give you the confidence to progress onto other distances.

Don’t feel ashamed in only going round the corner, especially if you are Scotland, it only takes a few KM and you are in the peace and quiet.

4. Weather

This would be one of the most essential areas to focus on. I use Windguru and Windty to plan my SUP expeditions. You can find out more about this in my SUP weather planning blog .  It is esential that you get this right so that you don’t find yourself marooned or in a situation where you can not get out.  Another consideration is the tides, but if you are paddling on inland lakes and lochs then you do not need to worry. I have touched upon tidal planning in a previous blog. 

5. Comfort Level

Some people feel at ease in not showering for a few days. However if this is an issue then perhaps think of just a micro adventure. Brushing your teeth is sometimes as deep a clean as you can get. Though sometimes we find ourselves in areas where we can swim post paddle.

Getting your period is not great, there are scented sanitary pads that help. Going for a swim can also help with hygine. Generally what I do is just try to change regulary and carry out my pads in a bag.

Going for a wee is not problem but going for a number 2 I normally dig a hole, or if I am on a beach I have it in the tidal zone.

How do you plan?

Where to start? You may feel it is too much, but keep it simple.

  1. Start with a map, google or an OS map. Look at an area that you are familiar with. Once you have picked your spot. Look for a suitable place to camp, this may not be visible froma paper map, so use google maps to get a good idea.
  2. Then pick a date.
  3. Keep an eye on the weather using windguru or other apps, leading up to the day making sure that no low pressure systems will fly in.
  4. The next part of planning your first SUP expedition is to assemble your kit together. Remember you don ‘t need to take everything you own, you are only going for the night!
  5. Then get paddling!

Remember once you have done your first SUP expedition then you will become addicted!

Need more advice or ready to go on a SUP expedition then sign up for the wild women SUP symposium to get your SUP expeditions up to speed! What something abit more longer and wilder? Then sign up for the Knoydart SUP Expedition happening this September!