Frequently Asked Questions
What should I wear?
We have fairly basic changing facilities, so 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 glasses or sunglasses on a strap if you can - we have them for sale for £5 if you don't have one.
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 usually paddle down to Eel Pie Island and back. If we head upstream on to the non-tidal river we will paddle round the beautiful and hidden Trowlock Island, and may even 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). Note that kneeling down on the boards for a long time can be uncomfortable. And don't worry about your core muscles - if you paddle enough they will become super-strong!
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 flow, 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.
what3words: /// give.tolls.rich
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 - Please allow plenty of time if coming by car, particularly on summer weekends when the car parks in Richmond fill up, and the traffic can be very heavy. Closest parking to us 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. You can usually park free of charge on Ferry Road on Teddington village side of the crossroads.
For Kingston Sessions:
Meet in the car park of YMCA Hawker, Lower Ham Road, Kingston, KT2 5BH
Public Transport: From Kingston or Richmond train stations you can get the number 65 bus to the Tudor Drive stop.
Bike - Lower Ham Road is a quiet road for cycling. Alternatively there is a cycle lane along the A307 running from Kingston to Richmond
Parking - YMCA Hawker has a large car park. There are usually lots of free spaces in the week, but it can get busy at weekends.
What is your cancellation policy?
Of course we all love it when it's sunny, but rainy days are part of living in the UK, even in summer. As an outdoor business we operate year round in all weathers, and don't cancel sessions when it's raining - in fact it's beautiful on the river in the rain! We suggest you come prepared with a waterproof jacket if rain is likely. If extreme wind, high river flow or local thunderstorms are forecast we may need to postpone, but we will be in touch with you to let you know. If you don't hear from us, the session is going ahead!
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, less our booking engine / payment provider fees of 7%. You may reschedule your booking at no cost.
If your booking is cancelled between 24 hours and 7 days 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, subject to availability. We charge a £10 admin fee for rescheduling your session.
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. Note that we still have to pay our staff and booking engine costs if you cancel at the last moment. 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!
To cancel or reschedule your session please email us on email@example.com
Richmond Bridge Boathouses
w3w /// give.tolls.rich
Lower Ham Road
Kingston upon Thames