Standup paddle boarding, or SUP, is relatively new to our waters but is growing in popularity as yet another way to explore our rivers, lakes, bays and canals. This ancient form of surfing originated in Hawaii and is an ideal way of relaxing, keeping fit and enjoying some spectacular surroundings.
The scenic locations of Foyle and Carlingford provide for an exhilarating experience. Because it usually takes place on flat water, SUP is suited to a wider range of people than more adventurous forms of surfing. It’s a sport that can be enjoyed at any pace, even by traditional surfers when tides are low and waves are small.
Visitors to Benone who haven’t tried SUP before can avail of lessons on the River Roe where they’ll begin by learning basic flat-water skills as they wind their way along secluded stretches in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The calm flat water of Newry Canal is a perfect destination for standup paddle boarders. The seven kilometre stretch from the quays at Albert Basin to Victoria Lock is ideal for beginners. The route from the Lock to Carlingford Harbour can prove more of a test for paddlers’ balancing skills as they glide along the water surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Mourne and Cooley Mountains.
Like all water-based sports, there are risks involved in SUP and it’s advisable to learn about basic paddling and manoeuvring techniques, water conditions and safety procedures before trying it.