Dittons Paddle Boarding

By Jacky Fenton 11th February 2023

Photo’s by Brett

We returned to the Hot Tub for a series of Winter training in the luxurious warm waters of Hampton Pool.

Lovely 28º pool

7 lovely people joined us for the Taster session, some complete beginners and some with a little experience. The session started with a brief run down of the board, leash and paddle set up. Basic turns were shown on dry land before everyone got in to put it to practice. After about 10 minutes of turning and trying to paddle straight, it was time to try standing.

Learning how the paddle fits together.
Practicing turning.

Some looked worried about this prospect but after we showed them the basics everyone was standing and paddling up and down the pool. Some fell in a little, some a lot, but the pool is so warm it really doesn’t matter. Near the end of the session everyone was asked to jump in and practice self rescue. This is such an important skill to learn and unfortunately one that gets neglected, “How do you get back on when you fall off”? Again everyone mastered the basics. We all wear floatation devices too so no need to worry if you are not a strong swimmer.

Mastering Standing

A great evening was had by all and everyone did amazingly and most of all it was fun!

We also ran our Dittons Dolphins SUP Polo training with drills and skills. It is great fun and great to be able to train in a warm pool as there is a lot of falling in! Anyone can join so why not come along and try it. You will have loads of fun!

Running around the board to get the ball.

Our next taster session is on April 8th at 6pm, if you want to join us follow this link Booking Hot Tub SUP Taster 🏄🏻‍♂️🏄‍♀️ for 4/8/23 – Dittons Paddle Boarding – Club (fareharbor.com)

If you want to try SUP Polo the next session is on 11th March at 7pm follow this link to book Booking Hot Tub SUP Polo 🏄🏻‍♂️🏄‍♀️ for 3/11/23 – Dittons Paddle Boarding – Club (fareharbor.com)

After a month of too much rain or freezing temperatures, finally the first weekend in February delivered a stunning Sunday. There was only a small group who met up at HQ (The Albany Pub) and headed out, upstream before lunch.

Helen just passed Molesey Lock
Helen just passed Molesey Lock

Apart from a couple of Skiffers from Ditton Skiff and Punting Club, we had the river to ourselves up to Molesey Lock. We headed up over the lock and continued passed a few junior ladies crews out of Molesey Boat Club.

When we got up towards Hampton Church and the location of our local AquaPaddle, we saw, I assume the local group of BlueTits out for their regular swim.

Quroc Squad
Quroc Squad

If you haven’t had a go at AquaPaddle, it’s a Free 5k Timed Social Paddle, a bit like “Parkrun”, open to anyone who paddles. You just need to sign up. Some of the Volunteers on the local one are from Dittons Paddle Boarding. If you haven’t tried it, you should , it’s great fun.

We paddled up round Platts Eyot and picked up a bit of a head wind on the way back down stream. By not the River was ours. No one else on the water. It was idyllic to be out on the water. Even the head wind dropped.

After a pitstop for a coffee from the Coffee Wagon in Hurst Park, we headed back towards Molesey lock via the other side of Taggs Island.

Over the lock, by the rollers and passed Hampton Court Palace, looking beautiful in the late Winter Sunshine. I wonder what Henry VIII would of thought about Paddle Boarding. I think the younger Henry would have loved it. Not so sure about the older on???

Paddlers By Hampton Court Palace
Paddlers By Hampton Court Palace

Finally back to HQ for a well earned Recovery Drink. They had Hogs Back Tea on tap. A lovely pint 😁

Why not check out the Calendar for our next Social. All Paddle Boarders welcome. There is a very small booking fee if you are not a member.

by Anya Williamson

Tonight we paddled the Bowers Lock loop. Big black clouds were gathering, we watched them and looked at each other said Oh well and off we went.

Last time I did the loop a few trees had fallen across the river which made it difficult to pass. We took a chance not knowing how far along the loop we would get. The threatening black clouds cleared and it turned out to be a perfect paddle evening.

We were in luck, somebody had taken the trouble to cut away the worst of the fallen trees and we were able to complete the loop. In places we had to duck, lay down due to obstacles and paddle very fast in parts of the river where the flow was very strong.

We said ‘if feels like paddling in a mangrove’. We spotted TWO kingfishers, a heron, swans, ducks and a pigeon. Paddling off the beaten track, away from traffic, people and other sounds is so peaceful.

We reached the weir and found the perfect place to bypass it. With all this in mind next time this one has to be done in reverse so we can go with the flow, fast.🏄

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

July 7th 2020

Moochy Mondays‘ with Phil Christ – regular outings organised by Phil and his wife Tara through their Paddleboard Maidenhead website

We jumped on the Thames at ‘Boulter’s Lock’ (there is a car park opposite – SL6 8JN – £1 evening charge) and headed upstream passing Cliveden Manor House – home to the Profumo Scandal Affair. 5.86 miles.

If you do this route note you cannot get past Hedsor weir just left of point, 3 but you can portage Cookham weir at point 4 – and then go to the Ferry pub on the river bank by the bridge of Ferry Lane 🙂

Anyone is welcome to join Moochy Monday’s trips – no charge – paddlers need to be able to self rescue and have appropriate SUP skills to join as this is not a lesson outing. Must have a licence and a leash.

The white house Spring Cottage at Cliveden – Lord Astor used to rent it to Stephen Ward for a £1 a year; now it fetches £2500 a night complete with a butler!

Hedsor Water iruns to the north of Sashes Island. Hedsor Water was once the main navigation of the Thames but was by-passed by the construction of Cookham Lock in 1830.

Cookham Lock opened in 1830, but no weir was built at this time. In 1837 a weir was found necessary and built across Hedsor Water, leading to further litigation from Lord Boston for loss of trade to the wharf he owned there.

Hedsor Wharf, on the upper reach of Hedsor Water had been an important trading post. The paper made at nearby Cookham Paper Mill was shipped from there and the stone used to build Shardeloes was brought from Oxford to Hedsor Wharf. This was removed when the lock was rebuilt in 1869, as Lord Boston had built eel bucks in the stream in the meantime.

Hopefully I will get some better photos going forward – my first blog!


John Lloyd

7 June 2020

The Paddlers of Maidenhead have been making the most of the recent warm weather. Exploring the back waterways of the Thames around Maidenhead and Cookham.

From The Ferry at Cookham and the stream running along side John Lewis’s Odney Country Club, the white house Spring Cottage at Cliveden Lord Astor use to rent it to Stephen Ward for a £1 a year, now it fetches £2500 a night complete with a butler. We get to visit the garden for free each day.

Each weekday evening during the summer we will be paddling every Monday and Wednesday from Boulters Lock. All board owners are welcome to join us. At the moment, there will be strictly groups of no more than 6. If more people arrive, then they will be asked to form a separate group and be asked to keep more than 8 metres away from the first group, and so on. Since Social Distancing is easy to maintain when out on the water, the only issue is when we head out onto the water or return. We ask all paddlers to be caring of others and to take their time.

If you are interested in joining one of the weekday evening paddles, please email us for details.

Finally, we have been training on the sailing lake in Maidenhead and also having our yoga session. These can bee booked through out links on the Training Base page. We have various classes throughout the week.

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

30 May 2020 by Brett Scillitoe

It’s been a while since the last post. There we were having fun in Hampton Pool. How different the world is now. We as a club did brilliantly and you can be very proud of yourselves as we stayed off the water, until “They” said we could go back out for a paddle 😁

Then, there was no holding back. The WhatsApp groups lit up and members were buddying up all over the waterways of Surrey and Berkshire. Our Maidenhead base was quick off the mark and loving the empty river.

We all soon followed and loved having the river to ourselves. No rowers or pleasure craft.

But then we noticed lots of new people out on their boards. So, in the best traditions of DPB, we welcomed them to join our growing community of Crazy Paddlers.

New friendships have been made as people find kindred spirits in other paddlers. Some even bought themselves some lovely new kit!

Soon we will be able to paddle in bigger groups and then the fun will begin. Stay safe and if you see a newbie, ask if they have heard of us.

If you are not already a member, why not click here to become a member.

By Ed Milnes

1 March 2020

After nearly a month of wet and windy weekends, we finally had one that was just a bit windy – but also sunny! 6 of were keen to get out again and find our sea(canal) legs again.

After a slightly delayed start (note to self – always check if it is meeting time or launch time that has been agreed!) we set off from the Basingstoke Canal Authority Centre near Mytchett, heading west into the wind.

It was a bit breezy but that is all good practice, and nothing like the previous few weeks. The sun was finally starting to feel a bit warmer too. The red flags were up on the shooting range and a few loud reports were heard!

During a short stop and rest in the large basin near Ash Vale train station we were surrounded by tandem race kayaks from a nearby school club – plenty of room for everyone though.

Setting off again we paddled on to the Aquaduct next to the Lakeside nature reserve (and across the A331 near Ash). We stopped there for a drink and to snack on some excellent homemade energy bites made by Claire and Alex (the recipe is available if you ask them nicely!!)

Then we headed back to the Canal Centre – with the wind mostly on our backs we made good paddling time. Strangely halfway there we came across a bat flittering around by itself, and an interested (and very big) Red Kite circling overhead. We did not hang about to witness the final outcome of that drama.

This is a great ‘go-to’ paddle that is interesting and never feels as long as 10k. Also no locks needing to be walked past (yay!). The Basingstoke Canal generally is a great winter paddle because it never seems to be flowing fast (in fact there is hardly any flow at all) – water quality actually seems to be better in the winter too, and it is quite sheltered most of the time.

Total distance – just over 10k – total time approx. 2.5 hrs
Falling ins – 0
Wildlife spotted – Bat, Kite, Swan, Dogs (multiple), Ducks
Snacks eaten – Yes, excellent ones.
Photos by Claire Turner and Ed Milnes

If you would like to come along of one of our paddles, why not become a member.

25 Jan 2020

It’s amazing how a conversation in a bar can lead to an afternoon of training and FUN!

We decided to run a couple of sessions, one novice, one advanced. The Novices were learning board skills and getting comfortable moving around the board. The Advanced Paddlers were learning Step-back Turns and lots of self rescue!

All the paddlers were loving the conditions of being outside, but with really warm water to fall into. It meant that everyone was able to push the envelope and not worry about getting wet or falling into cold and at this time of year, fairly dirty water. We even had one member try and emulate SpaceX and launch their board vertically out of the pool.

Once the main sessions were over, it was games time. Relay races and step-back turn races. All great fun and good to test the drysuits to see if they really are dry. Fortunately, they still are!

After we had dried off and packed away. We headed for the Pub and another DPB Social ensued. Not sure when the last person got home!!

If you would like to join in the fun, why don’t you Become a Member.

31 Oct 19

Our 3rd Halloween Paddle was our best yet, considering the conditions this Autumn. We met at our Thames Dittons winter base, The Albany Pub in Queens Road and prepared for an evening of fun.

Some had new costumes and others (me) had forgotten the batteries to some lights 🙁

Once on the water the fun started, gently gliding up to moored boats and peering in to see who was inside. Some we gave a gentle fright to, but most took it in the spirit it was meant.

We practiced our wolf howls under Hampton Court Bridge, which has one of the best echos anywhere. Although some were more Chihuahua. Still it amused the commuters on their way home crossing the bridge above.

Then it was back down passed the Albany to Thames Ditton Island and the Olde Swan Pub. Normally there are quite a few people and children around, but this year it was quite, apart from us nutters paddling around in the dark howling.

Finally, back to base and a beer and food and a chat with the gang of ghouls. A Fun evening to be out on the water.

If you want to join us on any of our paddles, why not become a member.

12 Sept 2019

September is a wonderful time to go for an evening paddle. Even on the most unpromising evening the paddler can be rewarded by some stunning vistas.

Wednesday we were out from our Weybridge Paddle Base. Anthony came along for his first paddle with us although this was his backyard, we still managed to show him some fresh water he hadn’t paddled before.

Up round past The Old Crown and towards the weir with the Wey Navigation. The Old Crown has spent some money on it jetties and now is a great place to stop off for a refreshment. The jetties are at a good height for Paddle Boarders.

Then it was back downstream, passed the open water swimmers at Sheppeton Lake, where we were treated to a lovely sunset. We left Anthony as he headed for his home and we had a session back to our Paddle Base at Elmbridge Canoe Club.

Thursday Evening we were Paddling from our Thames Ditton Paddle Base. For the evenings, this is The Albany Pub. There were 6 of out, with Julia out on her Tiki board. New to her and it was great to have her along as she has been coming occasionally since we started. But now she has her own board and is getting fully involved.

We headed upstream, stopping off to say hello to our Chief Coach Coco who was stay on a boat moored next to Hampton Court Palace. We hopped up the portage ramp at Molesey Lock and headed round the Hampton Islands.

At this point the clouds cleared and the we were treated to a lovely after glow of the setting sun. Then the Full Moon came out from behind the clouds.

We turned for home and followed the rising Moon. Stunning colours from all the lights from the road and the Paddlers head torches. We ended the evening as we do most evenings chatting over a beer in the garden of The Albany.

If you would like to come on one of our paddles, why not get in touch and become a member.

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