Stand-Up Paddle Boarding in Great Britain
Beautiful places to paddleboard in England, Scotland and Wales
A bit about the author – Jo Moseley
Chatting with Jo on the phone, I was immediately captivated by her enthusiasm for paddleboarding, a sport that started as a hobby but which then catapulted her into SUP Stardom! I could sense her excitement about that and her book. I had to wait for a copy to be sent to me because sales had exceeded all expectations and sold out in 8 months and it was waiting for a reprint!
Jo is a very busy lady. Apart from paddling the UK to research for this book (sounds like a tough job) and subsequently writing it, she hosts a regular podcast called ‘The Joy of SUP – The Paddleboarding Sunshine’ and is often travelling all over the UK to speak at events. Prestigious watersports events such as the Boat Life Event, National Outdoor Expo at the NEC as well as giving talks at WI meetings, and she has given a presentation to the Royal Geographical Society. The overriding feeling from this book is just how much joy she has found paddle boarding and how she is inspiring others to feel that joy too.
If that wasn’t enough, she has also made 2 films; ‘Brave Enough – A Journey Home to Joy’ which documents her challenge of being the first woman to paddle board Coast to Coast raising funds for The Wave Project, and The 2 Minute Foundation (available to watch on Vimeo On Demand) and has been shown at many festivals, plus ‘Found at Sea’ which won a film festival award in 2020.
Jo also shows that you can take up the sport at any age, having taken it up at the age of 51 years young, which resonated with me as I started paddle boarding at 50, and that it is accessible to all. She describes herself as a ‘joy encourager, midlife adventurer and beach cleaner’ enthusing about her passion for maintaining the health of our waterways and coasts, encouraging us all to do a #2minuteclean
“This is the most wonderful book for all of us obsessed paddleboarders” – Carol Vorderman
“A joy to read, inspiring yet practical”
On checking Amazon, where at the time of writing (March 2023) you can buy the book(click here) (on paperback) for £12, most people give it 5 stars, and rightly so, if I could, I’d give it a 6. But one 3-star review said… “Where the book is less helpful, is as a *guidebook* – it directs you to lovely places to paddle, but predominantly gives qualitative rather than quantitative info – you’ll learn how lovely the scenery is, you won’t learn what time the tide changes or how fast the flows are, etc. The only consistent specific information for each section is where to park and where to eat/ drink. To be fair to the author, she is completely honest that she does not fully understand ocean tides and river currents, and for each route simply directs you to local commercial guides or experts who *will* know this information and can take you out paddling there, or sometimes to other guidebooks which contain the necessary information”
– I felt this a little unfair and unnecessary to mention since tides and weather change daily, annually (sometimes hourly, it is the UK, after all!) and there are apps for that (or an ‘Almanac’ if you are of a certain age…!) If she documented every tide for every location, you wouldn’t be able to lift the book, there would be that many pages, and to be honest, how dry a subject is tides?!! Jo does point you in the right direction to find the information, stressing that you would need to check the tides, etc. I, for one, would flick past those pages and head straight to the ‘where to park and get a coffee and cake’ section and sort out times of tides if I was actually going to plan a paddleboarding adventure at that location.
The reviewer also mentioned guidelines to do with access to rivers, but this again can change….so whatever is mentioned at the time of writing, could become out of date later on and therefore be rather unhelpful.
The aim of the book is to encourage people to enjoy the sport and provide inspiration using beautiful descriptions of the places she has paddled and recommends, and most people who took the time to review on Amazon were delighted with her writing and the beautiful photos. Anything more technical can be investigated before you paddle, by various means, but this book at least leads you in the direction of beautiful locations that you may otherwise have not known about or considered.
Thanks to this book, I have been inspired to head off to Cornwall and West Wales this year! In Wales, Oxwich Bay might offer glimpses of dolphins, as well as a famous wreck and the awe-inspiring Three cliffs Bay, offering quiet beaches and a sea dip. Another wonderful-sounding trip is from Lostwithiel in Cornwall into the picturesque harbour at Fowey for a spot of lunch and also investigating the little islands of Looe and Mullion.
What’s inside the cover?
There is an extensive introduction including a detailed section on The History of SUP plus how to get started with equipment, safety, planning and weather. Jo is very passionate about cleaning up the riverbanks and beaches from rubbish and so there is a section dedicated to being environmentally aware.
The rest of the book is split between Wales, Scotland and then England, the majority of the paddles being in England. As a Welsh girl I was always going to head to that section first, and as luck would have it, it was the first section!
In each Country section are chapters of the places she recommends, linked to a UK map. In each chapter, there is:
* a map of the route with entry and exit points labelled, as well as car parking & public transport
* a detailed description of Jo’s paddle at that location
* technical information, such as distances, what to look at for with tides, currents and where to find these – which should be checked for the day you are looking to paddle
* the level of difficulty plus details of local tour guides, instructors and equipment hire
It gives you all the information you need to plan your trip, with further points of contact for local information and there is bound to be a paddle easily reachable from most locations.
Who would it suit?
My personal view is that it would suit a confident paddler wanting to venture to new places, wanting inspiration for planning a holiday around paddle boarding, or finding places in their local area that they either didn’t know existed or wanted some confidence to try out. There is some information on getting started for riders new to SUP but some of the routes seem to be a bit challenging for inexperienced riders, but they are definitely something to aspire to. For any rider, it is a lovely read.
Worth a read?
Definitely! This book is hugely enjoyable; for the story behind Jo’s entry into paddleboarding, what it means to her, and how she is encouraging others to find the joy in SUP, and look after our coastlines and waterways by collecting rubbish we see en route. What I found enjoyable about the book is the very inspiring travelogue and stunning photos of places that are very accessible to us in the UK, and how Jo’s sunny personality comes across. I sincerely hope that one day, I get to paddle with her. Maybe we can add some more places in Wales together!! …. 😉
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review by Helen Louise Davies
Response from the Author..
Thank you so much for taking the time to review my book and think about it so thoroughly. I hope that it will encourage new and more experienced paddleboarders to explore our beautiful waterways safely and with the information they need to make it a really enjoyable outing. I hope too that it shows what a welcoming and kind SUP Community we are. Please let me know where you go and what you experienced. Thank you! Jo x