Wacky new sport of paddleboarding could be set to take off in the Fens
By ADAM LAZZARI THE fun, exciting and occasionally bizarre new sport of stand-up paddle-boarding could be set to take off in the Fens. The sport may be more common in Hawaii and California than Fenland. But Roland Gurner, from Ely, is looking to utilise
By ADAM LAZZARI
THE fun, exciting and occasionally bizarre new sport of stand-up paddle-boarding could be set to take off in the Fens.
The sport may be more common in Hawaii and California than Fenland.
But Roland Gurner, from Ely, is looking to utilise East Anglia's unique waterways to make the region a centre of excellence for the sport.
He said: "The great thing about the rivers in the Fens is that they are slow moving. This is ideal for stand-up paddle-boarding. People can go off on their boards and explore an area and easily move in both directions.
"The boards are also very buoyant so people can move along with their child standing in front of them on the same board."
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Stand-up paddle-boarding involves balancing on a board on the water, steering with your feet and propelling yourself along with a long paddle.
Gurner, 35, has organised three competitions.
These will be in Peterborough on August 1, Norwich on August 18 and Cambridge on July 25.
Competitors will race through obstacle courses, hurdles, limbo courses and a slalom course.
Gurner is also introducing land paddle-boarding to the region where the boards have wheels.
He said: "Some people will take paddle-boarding incredibly seriously and others will just do it for fun.
"Hopefully some people from Fenland will want to get involved in these competitions and there is a lot of scope for developing the sport in this district.
"I'm always looking for new people to train up as instructors and I'm going into schools and encouraging youngsters to take it up as an extra curricular activity.
"I will look to get hard to reach teenagers into it and the sport is very good for fitness so some older people may also want to take part.
"Games on the Wii have got people into balance-orientated sports and I believe this will really take off.
"Stand-up paddle-boarding looks a bit strange but feels really natural when you're out there doing it."
Anyone wishing to register for the events or try out paddle boarding can get more information at www.fenpaddle.co.uk