SUP Armada is a day festival of activities based around the aqua sport of Stand Up Paddleboarding at Bewl Water lake in Kent. It was an hour train ride from Charing Cross station to Wadhurst station where we took a 15 minute cab ride to the location. I'd recommend Elba Cabs, Clive our driver was very friendly and accommodating for us!
We pre paid our entry fee of £15 a while ago but we then on the day made a £10 donation for board hire and £2 for buoyancy aids which goes towards their charity. This led us to believe we could just pick up a board and paddle to take to the waters, this was not the case. As we were queuing up for registration we told there were "plenty of boards for all of us to use." It wasn't until we got to the lake we discovered that most activity slots were already booked up, if not till late afternoon.
Some of the instructors could see were a little miffed by the situation so one of them very kindly made time for a slightly shorter introductory session for our group.
It was the first time SUPing for the six of us and we all managed to stand up and get paddling fairly quickly. The more advanced turns which required us to move our feet had us taking plunge before figuring out our stance. I'd say it's a little more advance than kayaking but as we were on a fairly calm lake it wasn't too much trouble to get going, Just the head wind made it more challenging to paddle against.
After watching a race I could see people were using a bit of knee bend with their strokes to gain more power. So on my next session it did prove to be advantageous. (Knee bending seems to be a cross subject of a lot of sports!). An occasional wave from a passing boat gave the board a rock which stopped my confidence from getting too far ahead of myself!
The most exciting part of the day was the group paddleboarding. A massive board could hold eight of us for a fun but somewhat competitive race. We didn't come close to winning but it was great having a more unifying activity.
The final event was the World Record attempt for the most stand up paddleboarders on a circuit at once. Although it's one of those records which is more about organising a huge amount of people rather than an individual talent it was still a fun challenge getting around the 2km course. The wind certainly picked up for us which made it feel like I was on a treadmill, paddling right in front of the finish line for a couple of minutes! Well the organisers managed to pull the record off. 390 SUPs.
SUP Armada was a good event, although the individual activity sign ups could have been done a lot better. They should have known the volume of people who would show up! Would have liked to have done the SUP yoga.
Bewl Water is such a lovely area that I'd definitely like to come back again either for SUP Armada or as a place to make a long weekend of. We'd like to hire some bikes to tour the whole lake and hopefully we'll have more of that summer sun we were blessed with!
"Any tips, reviews and advice are my own opinions and are not to be taken as professional view points. The information on this site is what has worked for me and is here for guidance only, but I hope you gain insight into the various activities I partake in." Jonathan Chen