Bray Lake Watersports

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Organising biggest UK SUP racing

What it takes to put on the biggest SUP race in the UK?

A lot of hard work, endless cups of coffee / tea (with biscuits of course).

On the 30th September, 224 paddlers took part in the British SUP Club Championships at Bray Lake Watersports making it the biggest competitive paddle board race in the UK.

Now in its 5th year, the Club Championships have shown to be one of the most popular events, with participant and clubs consistently growing year on year.  This year saw 16 clubs from around the UK including 6 attending for the first time, descend on Bray Lake with paddlers aged from 5 to 70 years old.
Below is a guide listing the top 10 items to think about when putting on an event of this size.  The key thing to remember, is that you are delivering a service and you need to keep in the back of your mind, what would you expect? This may seem strange to say, however people are paying to attend and you need to deliver the event seamlessly.

3 P’s - Planning, Project Management, Preparation

Whatever time you think you need, double it, if not triple it! The Club Champs takes around 9 months of work to put on and requires a lot of attention to detail and effective project management.  This is to ensure no items are forgotten, dates are not missed and information is available on time.  There are also a lot of inter-dependencies between items, meaning it is important to get them all sorted in good time.

A number of documents were produced from the beginning and maintained throughout, which included roles and responsibilities along with the schedule.

All results sheets (one per race, 10 in total), whether that is for recording who is coming over the line or for the category prizes or the overall positions are created in advance and printed out for the day.  Every volunteer is also given a paper copy of the schedule in addition to it being emailed out in advance.


For the schedule you need to decide on the categories and to ensure you have time for everything.  Expect to re-do this a number of times.  
If you have a set format, then it may be possible to use details from the previous year however with the Club Champs this had to be re-done in the final week.  You also need a number of different versions – one for the paddlers containing the high level detail and one for the volunteers, broken to potentially to every 5-10mins with names against each item.

Club Packs & Team Captains

To help Clubs plan their training, we produced packs detailing the categories and format for the day which was sent out in April. This took a number of different versions based many conversations with Sam & Simon over the course of many weeks, keeping a close eye on the detail to ensure nothing was missed out. It is important that information is shared early to allow Clubs and paddlers to read through, particularly when there are lots of categories.

I was also regularly in touch via email to update the Team Captains as well as chasing via social media messages to either get teams registered or answering queries.  You also need to be available via the phone to answer questions from the Team Captains – particularly for new clubs.

Club registration packs containing bib numbers, pins, team sheets can’t be forgotten either.

Communication & Social Media

This year a dedicated email address was set up to help communicate with each of the clubs and over the course of the build-up lots of emails were sent - 200 in Sept alone over.  Having a dedicated account allows those looking after the organising of the event to receive the communication directly – however remember, you are still delivering a service meaning any emails should be swiftly responded to.  Even if it is a case of “we will get back to you soon”.
In addition, you cannot forget social media and for the Club Champs you can find this on Facebook.  This means providing regular updates, responding to messages from paddlers at all times of the day (remember you are delivering a services) and using it as a way of communicating to paddlers.

Ideally you need a couple of people to share this responsibility and using the ability to schedule posts is a great way to save time. 

Red Paddle Summer Road Trip

Join us on 29th July for our latest SUP event.  Red Paddle are stopping off at Bray Lake as part of their Summer Road Trip.  Loads to do, SUP sessions for beginners or advanced paddler. SUP Yoga, SUP fitness classes and more... And what's even better its FREE!  All welcome. 

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N1SCO Demo Evening

We had a great evening on 21 June, trying out the One Design boards from Naish as a prelim for the inland N1SCO Championships next month. Great opportunity to put those paddling techniques to the test!

Paddle skills

Practising some paddling techniques

Coming into land

Summer SUP Series 2017

Continuing our Summer SUP Series, check out the latest results…

2017 Naish UK N1SCO Championships

Fanastic result for Team Bray at the N1SCO Championships on 11 June where Andrea took 1st Place for the Ladies.  All the training during the week is paying off!  Well done all who took part… keep up the good work.

55K Ultra Thames Endurance Race

Congratulations to those of our Bray SUP team who took part at the recent 55km Thames Ultra race in May which was the first ever race in a series of UK SUP's Endurance events.  Starting in Marlow and finishing just upstream of Hampton Court.

Club SUP Race Series

SUP Club Series 2016

This winter series will see a total of 5 races, and your best 4 results will count towards your overall score. Each race will be a mixture of distance, sprint and technical races on the lake or river. There will be prizes for each race as well as overall series prizes.

New to racing? Don't worry, there'll be a novice class for you to join!

There's also a junior SUP series running on the same dates, so get your young SUPers involved!

Races will be held on the following dates, starting at 10:00:

Sun 16th October  - Technical race around Bray Lake
Sun 20th November  -  Hurley Classic
Sun 17th December  - Night Race *4.30pm Start*
Sun 22nd January
Sun 19th February

If you're interested but still unsure come down and have a chat with one of the team.

Source to Sea

Wednesday 26th August, 09:00-12:00

Calling all SUP-ers!! We’re helping the source-to-sea relay which carries a canister of water taken from the Thames source all the way to the sea using various forms of river transport. Join us for a morning paddle starting from Bray Lake Watersports before paddling to Bray Lock then Romney Lock.

Bring your own board or hire one of ours, meet at the centre at 09:00.

For more info on the Totally Thames fesitval, see their website.

Night Swim and SUP

When? Saturday 1st August, 21:00-23:00

Join us as the sun goes down for a night of swimming and SUP-ing! Enjoy a social atmosphere as you experience the Lake in the dark, we will have the bbq fired up too so why not make a night of it! Swim the course for just £10.

Swimming spaces are limited, so book yours today.

Want to try stand up paddleboarding?

Give SUP a go at our social evening, with Intro sessions at 19:30, 20:00 and 20:30. The Intro will include free kit hire for the rest of the evening too. Book your spaces for just £20 (normally £30) by calling us on 01628 638860.

BBQ & Beers!

The bbq will be available from 20:00 until around 23:00, with a BBQ Meal Deal available on the night.

In case of any adverse weather conditions, the team will rearrange the swim for another day or refund the cost of tickets.

We’ll need a minimum of 40 swimmers booked onto this event to go ahead.

Children over 10 years must be accompanied by an adult and purchase a ticket to take part.

Event now closed

SUP Board Demo Days

STARBOARD / RED PADDLE - SUP DEMO 14th/15th/16th June

With the ever increasing popularity of this fast growing sport, there is equally an ever increasing range of boards, paddles and accessories to be sampled and discovered.  And what could be better than a demo day where  a couple of top SUP board manufacturers  bringing along their full range of kit just for you to try out.

Over the 3 days in June  you will  have an opportunity  to try out lots of  lovely new kit and  also have a chance to improve your technique or perhaps even try out SUPing for the first time.

Here are the highlights for the weekend:

  • Race training session – learn how to compete and be strong and fast
  • Intro to SUP – never tried the sport? Give it a go, with our keen and enthusiastic instructors it’s really easy to get a hang the basics
  • Fun Races – try your hand at a bit of competitive but fun racing
  • Treat yourself to some new kit – special offers will be available on the day
  • Conversion courses
    • if you’re a Windsurfer cross over to to SUPing for those non windy days (2hrs for only £20)
    • If you already SUP why not give windsurfing ago the perfect option for a SUPer on a windy day (2hrs for only £20)
  • Sunday evening – chill out BBQ by the club house

Come down to the Lake between 10am – 5pm and enjoy a day of  SUP

Head of the Dart SUP Race

There is a team of Bray Lake SUPers heading down to Totnes in Devon on Sunday 12 April to take part in the Head of the Dart SUP Challenge race which follows the River Dart for almost 9 miles to the finish line at Dartmouth.  After an amazing response to the race last year, the number of entrants for this year’s race has been increased to an impressive 300 participants, so if you think you might be up for the Challenge, get in touch and join in the fun!