Posted: Thu, 24 Mar 2022 11:00
A Leicester club is heading into the new season with a bumper membership following a boom in paddleboarding and families looking for new ways to enjoy the outdoors during the pandemic.
Leicester Windsurfing & SUP Club, which is located at Watermead Country Park, now has more than 60 members after recovering from having just five in 2019.
A growing interest in Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) and then a season of staycations, with people spending more time at home than away, led to the club proving popular with new members who have been keen to discover watersports on their doorstep.
The club offers affordable and safe windsurfing and paddleboarding and has regular Club Sundays from April to October, plus Thursday evening sessions in summer. There are also camping weekends and excursions on local rivers and canals.
Spokesperson Ricky Driver said: "We had gone down to just five members and we were thinking of winding it up but about three years ago, paddleboarding saved the club. We managed to build the club back up and ended up with some lovely people joining us.
"The club then continued to grow through summer and in 2021 alone, we added about a third onto our membership, with an extra 20 taking us up to 65 members. We have a lot of families and half our members are mainly SUPers, which goes hand in hand with windsurfing.
"There is windsurfing kit for people to borrow and we give taster sessions, so a lot of people try it and most who try it, love it! Then when there's no wind, I'm a windsurfer but I can jump on a SUP and enjoy paddleboarding - it's good fun and good exercise and it's sociable.
"We're really looking forward to the new season and we're starting to receive enquiries already from people who are interested in getting on the water with us this year."
From 1 May, venues nationwide will be offering 'have a go' taster sessions as part of the Royal Yachting Association's annual Discover Sailing campaign, giving all ages a chance to get on the water at little or no cost. Explore how you can get out on a boat or board at: www.rya.org.uk/start-boating/discover-sailing
Source and Imagery: Leicester Windsurfing and SUP Club