Dittons Paddle Boarding

By Brett Scillitoe 21 Nov 21
Photos: Diana Thorne, Glenn Clifford & Brett

It’s been a long time since our last Hot Tub Session. The world is a very different place in many respects. But one thing is still the same, having fun whilst training on a warm swimming pool, that hasn’t changed. Just as good as it used to be back in early 2020.

We are back for a series of winter training. We will be running various sessions, including Taster Session for those who can’t wait for the summer to try the wonderful sport of Paddle Boarding.

Pron paddling
Warm-up race – Charge of the Paddle Brigade

Saturday’s session started with an advanced class of Step-back Turn tuition. After a quite warm-up, I took the beginners and Tim Scott, the coach that walks around his board like it’s his living room, took the group that had managed it a couple of times, but wanted to build their confidence.

The first thing on the agenda was jump into the lovely warm water. After that it was getting the students to start spinning. In the end we all were jumping up and down the boards, doing pirouettes and generally walking about the boards without a care. We did fall in a lot!

Falling in
Falling in

After the spins came the race paddling that some of us had been taught by Emily King and we were now passing on the others. We were racing up and down the pool.

After the Advanced Training, it was time for the Dittons Dolphins to practice their SUP Polo skills and drills. We aim to beat BlueChip one day. It is a fantastic sport and very fast paced. Some of the Student from the earlier session stayed on to have a go. All loved it.

Moon lit SUP Polo Training
Moon lit SUP Polo Training

Finally, it was off to The Prince of Wales for one of our Winter Social Socials where regardless of whether you have paddle or not, we meet up for a drink and a chat. All Paddle Boarders are welcome to these Socials. Look out in the calendar for the next Hot Tub and Socials we have over the Winter.

Some of the gang
Pub Fun

If you would like to come and have a go in the Hot Tub and Support the club, why not Become a Member.

Already Ditton Beach was busy by the time we arrived. Although it was only twenty past nine, it looked like it was mid afternoon with the numbers on the beach. So, for safety reasons, we set up in a less popular spot on the beach.

All set up

As with our Weybridge sessions yesterday, there were 3 classes, one Beginner Improvement class and two Taster Sessions, this time. The Improver session was taken by Martin, who is one of our Racers and arrived on his Starboard Sprint board. Very lovely it was too! He was going to teach better paddle stroke techniques and board control.

Martin takes the class

The Students who had recently purchased their boards where keen the get the most out of them and their new sport. All were moving their boards more efficiently at the end and some were positively flying along!

A coaches discussion, what could they be talking about?

We then had the Taster Session. As with these session there is a mix of abilities. After outlining the risks of the river, we got onto the fun stuff. Getting the students to play with their boards on the water before moving off and to start to stand up.

How long?

Some got straight up and were naturals, others needed to be given more guidance as to how to get from kneeling to standing, when on something as unstable as a paddle board. We managed to get everyone up, even if it was for a few seconds. It take a lot sometimes to teach the brain what you are standing on. Especially if you haven’t done much sport for a few years. It’s a lot to take in.

Playing with their boards

All the students, had a great time, if the smiles and chatting afterwards, was anything to go by. Most were interested in buying boards and wanted information as to cost and what is best. Social Distancing with our smaller groups is easy to maintain.

Training by Hampton Palace

We will be setting up our next sessions this week for next weekend. We will also be running sessions during the week for family groups and groups of friends, upon request.

Head Coach, Coco, heads for home

If you like what we do, have a board, and what to get involved and join our growing community of Paddlers, why not become a member.

13 June 2020

We had a great weekend of training. Firstly at our Weybridge Training Base and then at our Thames Ditton Base, Ditton Beach.

We had two groups of Beginner Improvers and one Taster session. We are also training coaches. This means that our groups were smaller than normal due to the Covid-19 regulations. Strict distancing was observed , which as most paddlers know is easy to do out on the water.

We also had a 1-to-1 session with Coco, our chief coach. She was concentrating on improving the stroke technique of one of our more experience paddlers.

The Beginner Improvement class are for those how might have been on one of our Taster Sessions and have bought a board of their own. Learnt how to fall in and self rescue and are now looking for the next bit of guidance, to help turn them into better paddlers. These skill included improved paddle stroke, braking and turning. Along with improved safety and conditions awareness.

The four Taster Session student, got a good introduction to the sport, one learnt how to self rescue and the importance of staying calm in the water. All stood up and two liked it so much they have gone out and bought a couple of Red Paddle Co, 11’3″ Sport boards. That’s dedication for you!

Whilst we were out on the Taster Session, one of our trainee coaches rescued a baby pigeon from the water that had fallen out of its nest. It was take to the local wildlife rescue centre. I hope it is ok?

We will be running regular training from out Weybridge Base. Please check the Training page for details. We are booking week by week during the Covid Crisis, to make sure we can deliver all course.

If you like what we do and would like to help us, why not become a member.

7 June 2020

And so group training is back, all be it on a reduced scale. We had 3 groups today. Two beginner Improvement Classes and one Taster Session.

Brett leading the class

Under to current Social Distancing rules only 6 people are allowed to go out in a group together. So we had 4 Students, 1 coach and 1 helper. We stayed close to the shore and concentrated on improving paddle stroke, safety and turning. Getting the student more comfortable with their boards.

This way please

We even for some had some self rescue training. If you’re not Wiping Out, you’re not trying hard enough. Still they had lots of fun.

The first group, who had never met each other then went off for a practice paddle together after the lesson. New friendships being made. New Paddle Buddies getting to know each other.

New Boards

The second session was taken by Sally and followed a similar course. Again with some keen on practicing self rescue. It is great to see very new in experienced paddlers, with their new boards, learning new skills and really beginning to control and enjoy their boards. Even if some were a little damp.

Paddling past the Palace

Finally, it was our first Taster Session of the season. The students were keen to try this new sport and very soon Claire had them practicing Prone Paddling and getting up and down from the kneeling position. Here again the keenness of the students came to the for as they were determined to push themselves, until they needed to self rescue. They were pleasantly surprised that the water wasn’t too chilly.

Looking confident

Finally we had happy students, eager to get their own boards and join the club.

If you would like to join in the fun and help support us, why not become a member.

By Brett Scillitoe

7 March 2020

With this being our third visit to Hampton Pool, we are getting the hang of the place and our set up. This session was by far the most successful. We had 9 students, two beginners, four intermediate and three advanced.

Coco was taking the Advanced, Martin and I were shearing the Intermediates and Claire had Kate and Benit to introduce to the wonderful world of paddle boarding.

The lighter evenings were noticeable with the whole session taking place in daylight. Coco’s Advanced group were doing some amazing things. Anya and Tina were standing on the tale of their boards and paddling them up and down and through the other classes. It was very skillful.

Martin and I were getting our students to move around the boards more, getting confident to walk up and down, step-back turns and cross step forwards and back.

There was lots of falling in and self rescue. The student, were very tired at the end, but most importantly they were very happy with themselves as they were all moving more easily on the board.

Finally, we finished off with a few races, with the students showing off their newly learnt skills. Kate one of the beginners even did a step-back turn. This was her first lesson! This is why I coach, I love to see people do things they never thought they could.

Finally after packing up, we headed to the Prince of Wales for a well earned drink. If you want to get involved, why not become a member.

8 Feb 2020

We were back at Hampton Pool again today. We had a couple of novices and 8 experienced paddlers wanting to improve their paddle stroke skills and yes, step back turns.

It is amazing the confidence a very warm swimming pool does for walking about on a board.

This time we were more efficient with pumping up and getting everything set up. It’s a good workout pumping up 10 boards. OK, I didn’t do them all myself. There was lots of help. That’s the benefit of the DPB community, we all muck in and get things done. It helps keep the cost of our training down, thus helping the membership.

We started this time with everyone doing a quick warm up, by paddling up and down the pool in different ways. The the group split and I took the experienced paddlers whiles Sally and Lauren looked after the Novices.

It is great the see at the improvement the members make in an hours lesson. Especially with step-back turns. Everyone is eager to try out their new skills on the river, if only it would stop raining!

We finished up the session with a couple of relay races, which at always great fun as you really need to know who to stop and turn a board. There were lots of members using the improved paddle stroke and step-back turn.

Finally, after we all dried the boards and packed them away, it was off to the Prince of Wales pub for a few recovery drinks. We were also met my some of our other members just our to join us for the social.

If you would like to get involved, why not become a member.

27th July 2019

We had some great training sessions throughout July at both our Training Bases, Ditton Beach, Thames Ditton and D’Oyly Carte Gardens (Elmbridge Canoe Club), Weybridge.

The Taster Sessions have been well attended and have been lead by our growing group of Coaches and helper. With small groups of 8 people, complete novices are able to stand-up and control the paddle board safely at the same time having lots of fun.

Both of our Training Bases are well suited to the initial land based training and then easy access to the river, via a gentle slopping beach at Thames Ditton or a purpose built jetty at Weybridge.

Entering the water

Below are some pictures from our recent courses. If you would like to try Paddle Boarding and would like to join in a course with a friendly members club bases course then check out our Training page. If there isn’t a course available, please check back in a few days to see when we are running them.

If you already have a board, why not become a member and join in the friendly SUP Club.

© Dittons Paddle Boarding 2022