Beginners Guide Stand Up Paddling Photo Luke Gartside 1

You've probably seen people stand up paddling when you've been on holiday, right?

It's where you stand up on a giant surfboard-like board and use a tall paddle to propel yourself - and it's become really popular in the UK in the past few years.

Whether you're six or 80 years-old, the beauty of stand up paddling is everyone can give it a try.

We went down to Newquay to meet with Gordon Ingram from Ticket To Ride to take us through the basics of learning to stand up paddle.

All photos taken by Cornwall based photographer Luke Gartside

Beginners Guide Stand Up Paddling Photo Luke Gartside 2

Stand up paddling originated in Hawaii, but its popularity has seen the sport spread all over the world.

Most people will give it a go as a hobby - whether on holiday for the first time or just cruising around their local lake or bay.

However, stand up paddling goes far beyond something you rent at the beach. You can surf, race, go touring - there are even stand-up paddle yoga classes around the UK, if you fancy giving it a try.

Beginners Guide Stand Up Paddling Photo Luke Gartside 3

"You can go stand up paddling in any body of water that is safe and suited to your ability - whether it's a lake, river, ocean or harbour. As long as safety is covered, there is little in your way," says Gordon.

That's the great thing about stand up paddling - it works both inland and at sea, even on the River Thames.

Rivers and lakes are perfect places for beginners as there is no swell or tides to think about.

However, it's great to give it a try on the sea. We had our lesson in Newquay with Ticket To Ride - it was a gorgeous day and the water was perfectly calm and clear.

Beginners Guide Stand Up Paddling Photo Luke Gartside 4

Stand up paddling is a relatively 'easy' and safe outdoor activity.

However, as Gordon points out there can be some hidden dangers, so it is a good idea to get a lesson before you go out. You need to know what to do if you got into trouble at sea, for example.

It will cover how to paddle properly, cruise along without falling off as well as basic safety and introduction to the sport.

We had a two hour introductory lesson with Ticket To Ride which cost just £40 including board, paddle and wetsuit hire.

They also offer a great package for people looking to catch and ride waves for the first time.

We would definitely say it's worth having a lesson to get you off on the right footing.

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There is relatively little equipment for stand up paddling.

You will need a stand up paddle board. Choosing a board will depend on how skilled you are and where you are paddling. There are so many different disciplines - from racing to touring.

"The trick is to try before you buy," says Gordon. "Get input from a reputable source - whether it's a friend or a good shop - to ensure you buy the right board for you."

The price for a SUP board ranges from £400 second-hand to £2,000 for a high-end racing board. We had a go on an inflatable Naish board and it was excellent.

"They are not cheap you should try as many as you can before you make that investment," says Gordon.

It's important to also buy a good paddle. "Using an inappropriate paddle can make learning harder and possible injury."

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It completely depends on where you are paddling. If you are in the middle of Greece on calm warm water, you could just wear a swimsuit (although sunburn is always a potential issue!)

Here in the UK, our waters are a lot colder than the Mediterranean. Most stand-up paddlers tend to wear wetsuits - 5/4mm in the winter and 3/2mm in the summer. It just depends on the water temperature.

Some places require buoyancy aids to be worn at all times on the water - particularly if it is a supervised lake. Make sure you check what the local rules are before heading out.

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Have a lesson. You will build invaluable skills from your very first go.

Join a club. If you go with a friend or a group, you're more likely to continue throughout the year.

You don't have to stop just because it's winter. "There is nothing better than going for a paddle in the winter on a calm body of water and ending the session dry but exhilarated due to having a great workout!" says Gordon.

You're never too old. Gordon told me a great story about a man in his 70s that lives near Newquay. He paddles from one town to the next on his inflatable stand-up paddle board, deflates it and jumps on the bus to go home!

You'll see plenty of local wildlife. We saw a giant seal when we were out paddling. Sightings of dolphins and basking sharks is very common, particularly off the coast of Cornwall.