When asked what he wanted for his 7th birthday my son, Max was adamant that he wanted a Stand up Paddleboard (SUP). Before parting with a wedge of hard earned cash I wanted to make sure that he really was going to use it as he’d only really tried it for about 10 minutes on last years holiday to Croatia.
With a little bit of help from Mr Google I came across Outer Reef Surf and SUP Centre based in Pembroke who offer a range of activities including Surfing, SUP and coasteering from absolute beginner level to instructor. After a quick email conversation with Dean the Centre owner to check they were happy to take a seven-year-old we booked a £35, 2-hour SUP tour through their smooth online booking system. We then received an email telling us what we needed to bring and asking us what size wetsuits we would need. Outer Reef run their courses and tours from several locations all around the Pembrokeshire Coast depending on conditions all easily accessible from the central location of Hungerford Farm Touring Caravan and Motorhome Park so we were asked to ring their office on the day prior to our tour to find out where to meet.
On the day of our tour we were met by our instructors Tom and Jack and the other 5 members of our group at Stackpole Quay 10 minutes before the start so we could get kitted up with our wetsuit’s paddles and boards. The session started with a run through of the basic paddle strokes on dry land and then it was time to hit the water!
After a bit of time to get used to manoeuvring the boards around the harbour it was time, under Toms expert guidance to put the ‘stand’ into stand-up paddle boarding. Amazingly this was easier than we first thought however after a short time a few of us did get a bit of a speed wobble on and inevitably get a little wet.
As soon as we were all happy and comfortable on the boards we made our way slowly out of the harbour and around the headland towards Barafundle Bay. As you float past the amazing Pembrokeshire Coastline it’s easy for the boarding to become second nature. Tom and Jack where quick to put me at ease where Max was concerned and gave him a lot of attention so that I could concentrate on not falling in.
Although I have lived in the County all of my life Pembrokeshire always seems to surprise me and throw up something new. This trip was no exception. Tom and Jack showed us some inlets that I never knew existed and we even paddled though a cave.
The halfway point was marked with a short rest at Barafundle Beach which has been voted one of the best beaches in the UK if not the World. This gave Max a chance to have a splash around in the water (he hadn’t fallen in yet) whilst some of the group just took a rest on the sand. Before getting afloat again the instructors offered a few more tips on our technique (or lack of) and then we were off. The trip back seemed a lot easier as we were all a lot more relaxed on the boards. To make sure we all got our full 2 hours Tom and Jack took us a bit further around the coast before heading back into Stackpole Quay.
All in all, this was a great experience that is accessible for all al ages from 7 years. Its a great way to explore the Pembrokeshire coastline from vantage points that you would normally get too from the Pembrokeshire Coast Park. www.outerreefsurfschool.com offer a professional and knowledgeable service with high quality equipment. We’ll certainly be returning to Outer Reef for our next Father and Son bonding session!
If you want to try out this great sport or any other that Outer reef offer get in touch with them at www.outerreefsurfschool.com, give them a call on 01646 680070 or call into thier great surf shop on the Lower Lamphey Road, Pembroke.
And are we buying a SUP?