What time do I need to arrive?
When you book with our partners at Eola you will be given specific information for your paddleboard session. However, if you arrive 5 minutes before your scheduled arrival time then you can't go wrong! Unfortunately we cannot accommodate late-comers as our all-important safety briefing happens at the very begnning of the session. If you have not attended the safety briefing, you will not be allowed on the water.
How far will we go?
This is very much dependent on the prevailing weather conditions, the state of the tide, and the strength of the group of paddlers. At Richmond, you will usually start by paddling downstream towards Richmond Lock, and then upstream towards Glovers Island, Ham House, Eel Pie Island and Teddington. On most sessions we reach Eel Pie Island before turning back to Richmond, and on High Tide sessions expect to get to Teddington Lock and back in a two hour session.
At Hampton Court we would usually head upriver towards Molesey Lock, and then depending on the prevailing wind head west towards Hampton, or east towards Surbiton. All trips start at Ditton's Beach
How hard is it?
Nearly everyone is standing up within 10 minutes of getting on the water. We use really stable boards that make it easy for everyone to get started. It’s a brilliant all-body workout, and you’ll certainly feel it the day after (in a good way), but as we use the tides / sheltered water, your physical ability on a beginner’s session shouldn’t be something to worry about.
Is the water clean?
The Thames is currently one of the cleanest rivers running through a major city in the world, and recognised as a massive environmental success story. It currently boasts about 325 species in its tidal stretches, including; cormorants, herons, seals and salmon, some of which you’ll be sure to see on your trip. You’ll also find lots of people using the river for recreational activities, especially rowing and kayaking.
As a precaution for paddling in any open water, open cuts should be covered with plasters and tape, and you should wash your hands with soap / antibacterial gel before eating any food. Take a shower if you fall in.
How likely am I to fall in?
Not very likely - but there’s a small chance. We will teach you techniques to help you feel more stable, and get down onto your knees if you need a break from standing. We will also make sure you know how to get back on a board in the unlikely event that you do take a dip.
Do sessions even get cancelled?
We occasionally cancel group trips with 24 hours’ notice if we do not have the minimum number of participants to run the session (this is rare between spring – autumn). We also very occasionally cancel if we deem conditions to be unsafe (e.g. very strong winds, risk of lightning, fast fluvial flows, etc.), but we are not put off by a bit of rain. In fact it’s lovely on the river in the rain! If your session is cancelled by us, you will have an option to reschedule or obtain a full refund. If you’d like to cancel or rearrange your session you must inform us 48hrs beforehand.
How to find us
For Richmond sessions: Meet outside the boathouses just downstream of Richmond Bridge. We are temporarily based in the arch underneath the bridge, whilst our Pontoon is being repaired.
Train/Tube - Richmond Train Station is a 10 minute walk away. There are frequent overground trains from London Waterloo and Clapham Junction, as well as Underground trains on the District Line. You can check train times and destinations on the National Rail Enquiries website.
Bike - you can cycle along the tow path to Richmond Bridge and chain your bike up to the railings next to our pontoon.
Bus - Richmond Bus Station is 5 minutes walk away. For routes and times please visit the Transport for London website.
Parking - Easiest parking is at Friars Lane Car Park 5 minutes from Richmond Bridge.
For Hampton Court Sessions: Meet at Ditton's Beach, at the end of Aragon Avenue. Hampton Court and Thames Ditton stations are both a 10 minute walk away.
Bike - Turn left out of Hampton Court station and follow the cycle path. Take the first left over the railway crossing, and then turn left at the mini-roundabout to enter Aragon Avenue
Bus - The R68 bus from Richmond via Teddington terminates at Hampton Court station
Parking - There is free parking in the area around our start point, but please be considerate to local residents and use pedal power where you can.
What is your cancellation policy?
You will be entitled to a refund under the following circumstances:
If your booking is cancelled at least a full 5 days prior to the activity start time you will be entitled to a full refund. You may reschedule your booking at no cost.
If your booking is cancelled between 5 days and 48 hours prior to the activity start time you will be entitled to a refund less a 25% admin fee, or you may reschedule your booking at no cost.
If you cancel your booking between 24 hours a 48 hours prior to the activity start time you will not be entitled to a refund, and we charge a 25% admin fee for rescheduling your booking.
If you cancel your booking less than 24 hours prior to the activity start time you will not be entitled to a refund, and you will not be able to reschedule your booking.
If we cancel your booking at any time, you will be entitled to a full refund.
Note that if the conditions on the day aren’t ideal, but the activity still takes place, you will not be eligible for a refund. We never cancel for rain, so if wet weather is likely please bring a waterproof jacket. If really extreme weather is forecast we will contact you to rearrange your session or refund you. If you don't hear from us, the session is going ahead!