Frequently Asked Questions
What should I wear?
We usually ask people to wear the kind of clothing that they might wear to the gym. That's quick drying t-shirts, shorts, or leggings – not cotton. In cooler weather bring a fleece, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof jacket is always a bonus. We usually paddle barefoot, but it would be a good idea to bring an old pair of trainers or flip flops to strap to the board, in case we stop for coffee/ice-cream! Definitely bring sunscreen and a cap, put sunglasses on a strap if you can.
What time do I need to arrive?
When you book with our partners at Eola you will be given specific information for your session. However, if you arrive 5 minutes before your scheduled arrival time then you can't go wrong! And if you’re running late, please call us on 020 3488 1785 to let us know. Unfortunately, if you miss our all-important 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. From Richmond, you will usually start by paddling downstream towards Richmond Lock, and then upstream towards Glover's 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.
From Teddington, if we are staying on the tidal Thames we would usually do the above, but in reverse. If we head on to the non-tidal river we may get to Kingston town centre before heading back.
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, and tried and tested techniques to help you feel comfortable standing on the boards. It’s a brilliant all-body workout, and you’ll certainly feel it the day after (in a good way).
Is the water clean?
The Thames is currently one of the cleanest rivers running through a major city in the world, and is recognised as a massive environmental success story. It currently boasts about 325 wildlife species in its tidal stretches, including; cormorants, herons, seals and perch, some of which you’ll be sure to see on your trip. You’ll also be sharing the river with lots of people who also use the water, especially rowers, kayakers, motor boats, and the occasional open-water swimmer!
As a precaution for paddling in any inland 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 stable on your board, and how to get down onto your knees if you need a break from standing. We will also make sure you know how to get back on your board in the unlikely event that you do take a dip.
Do sessions ever get cancelled?
We occasionally cancel group trips 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 on the day to be unsafe (e.g. very strong winds, nearby thunderstorms, fast river flows, etc.), but we are not put off by wet weather. 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. See our cancellation policy below.
How to find us
For Richmond sessions:
Meet outside the boathouses just downstream of Richmond Bridge. We are based in an arch underneath the bridge, next to Tide Tables cafe.
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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, and Overground trains from North London. You can check train times 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.
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 Teddington Sessions:
Sessions start from the garden of The Anglers Pub, Teddington.
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Train: Teddington train station is a 15 minute walk away
Bike: There is ample room to lock bikes on the railings outside the pub.
Bus - Bus routes 33, 281, 285, 481), R68 and X26 all go through the Kingston Road/Manor Road/Ferry Road crossroads, which is just a 2 minute walk down Broom Road to The Anglers.
Parking - There is a small car park at the pub, but this fills very quickly, however you can usually park free of charge on Ferry Road on Teddington village side of the crossroads.
For Hampton Court Sessions:
Meet at Ditton Beach, at the end of Aragon Avenue, Thames Ditton, KT7 0PX
Train: Hampton Court and Thames Ditton stations are both a 10 minute walk away.
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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 public transport or pedal power where you can.
What is your cancellation policy?
England has a warm and wet climate, and it can often rain, even on summer days. As an outdoor business we operate year round in all weathers, and only cancel a session if we deem conditions to be unsafe due to high winds, high river flow or thunderstorms nearby.
The following outlines our policy regarding cancellation and rescheduling:
If your booking is cancelled at least a full 7 days prior to the activity start time you will be entitled to a full refund. You may also reschedule your booking at no cost.
If your booking is cancelled between 7 days and 24 hours prior to the activity start time we will issue you with a voucher, valid for 12 months, to allow you to reschedule your booking to another time.
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. However if you know someone who could fill your slot, please contact us by email and we’ll try to accommodate them.
If we cancel your booking at any time, you will be entitled to either reschedule your booking to another time, or to a full refund.
Just to be clear, 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 regarding your session. If you don't hear from us, your session is going ahead!
If you are diagnosed with Covid-19, please advise us as soon as possible. Our normal cancellation terms and timings will still apply. If you only advise us within 24 hours of your booking we will only consider rescheduling your session if you can provide adequate proof that you have been asked to isolate or have had a positive Covid test. Apologies if this sounds harsh, but we are a small business and still have to pay our staff if you cancel at the last moment.
To cancel or reschedule your session please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0203 488 1785.
Richmond Bridge Boathouses
3 Broom Rd