My husband has been hinting that he wanted his own paddle board ever since had a SUP lesson in Studland Bay with Fore Adventure last year, so I surprised him with one for his birthday.
We knew the kids would be keen to give it a try too, so decided to head to the river as we knew it would be a bit calmer for their first try.
Eye Bridge, on the Kingston Lacy estate in Wimborne, is the perfect location for paddle boarding, as the River Stour is wide and gentle at this point, there is a small car park where you can inflate your boards and a short walk to a shallow slipway for you to launch them. We were soon out on the water, with our new inflatable paddle board and our inflatable kayak.
Although there is a small weir nearby, the shallow water was perfect for practicing on as the current was light and the river was lovely and calm.
This stretch of the River Stour is beautiful with interesting bird life and plenty to see in and out of the water and Sebby played with his net and bucket whilst the older ones got their confidence on the water.
Once my husband had found his confidence to stand on the SUP board, he took Eliza for a spin a bit further up the river and back.
Whilst Isaac took Sebby out for a spin in the kayak.
It was then time for Isaac to have a turn on the paddle board and in typical, kid fashion, stood up straight away and started flossing on the board!!
Our paddle is adjustable, however, even on the shortest setting it was a little to big for the kids, so we will need to invest in a smaller one, but apart from that Isaac did brilliantly.
Like her brother, Eliza was confident to stand up straight away, but the paddle was just too big for her to control, so she stayed in the kayak or as a passenger on the SUP board.
We were on the water for a good two and a half hours and as we got braver, headed further upstream to explore, with some working harder than others!!
Top Tips for Kayaking and SUP Boarding at Eye Bridge
Wear wet shoes as the river bed is stony underfoot and can be uncomfortable to walk on.
If sharing a paddle board / kayak, make sure you bring something to amuse the kids – a bucket and net are perfect as there are plenty of minnows to catch!
Although mostly shallow, the river gets quite deep in places, especially under the bridge and beware of teenagers jumping off Eye Bridge into the river below – give a shout before passing underneath.
Take a picnic, all that paddling is hungry work and there are no facilities at this location.
Invest in a portable electric pump, makes inflating and deflating SUP Boards and Kayaks so much easier. Ours is from Decathlon.
Treat the kids to an ice cream at Barford Farm afterwards – it is less than a 5 minute drive away, has a lovely garden to relax in and does some amazing flavours.
Paddle up stream, as if you try to head downstream there is a weir fairly close to the bridge. You can explore around 4 miles upstream.
We cannot wait to go again, although think we may have to invest in another board!!
Have you been stand up paddle boarding before?