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Getting on the SUP board in Gent

This is an image showing 4 people on a SUP board in Gent

Looking for a unique way to experience Gent? Stand Up Paddleboarding, or SUP, might just be what you need!

On a sunny Saturday we, the Square.Gent contributors, had a chance to try SUPing in Gent. In this post we share our experience. Read on to find out what it is about, who it is for, where you can do it, tips for routes, how it works and what to bring.

Image of woman stand up paddle boarding in Gent
Jenny SUPing in Graslei ©Mike Louagie

What is Stand Up Paddleboarding?

Stand Up Paddleboarding is an offshoot of surfing which likely originated in Hawaii. Unlike traditional surfing where the rider sits until a wave comes, stand up paddle boarders stand on their boards and use a paddle to propel themselves through the water.

For who?

A SUP tour is ideal for when friends and family visit you in Gent, for a company’s team building, a birthday or bachelor/bachelorette party!

This is a great workout so it’s suitable for sporty people, but beginners will have a good time too. It can be a bit challenging to start standing up, but if it’s not possible it’s also enjoyable to kneel or sit while paddling.

Children can also join – but then it’s best to go to calmer waters – and not to go to the Graslei.

Where can you do it in Gent?

Suptours organises tours all around Belgium and also in Gent. You can reserve a tour and find out more information about them via their website: www.suptours.be, or by contacting thierry@suptours.be. The tours are generally available from May to October.

Follow their Facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/SupTours.be/

Other places

They also organise SUP activities in Bruges at the Sint Pietersplas, where you can rent material and have fun with friends together with an apero at the bar! You can also try SUPing in the sea with them in Zeebrugge. Or travel all around Belgium with them or even to Amsterdam or Wissant (Cap Griz-Nez and Cap Blanc-Nez) in northern France.

Prices & extra information

The 1 hour tour with a guide costs 25€ per person and includes the rent of the board, paddle, life jacket, wetsuit and bottle of water after the tour. If you are a group of more than 15 people, the price goes down to 20€ per person.

Reservation is mandatory and SUP tours are possible from 10 people. If you are less you can join another group. There is a maximum group size of 20 people, in order to always guarantee safety. It IS possible with bigger groups, but then divided into groups of 20 persons. It is mandatory to wear a life jacket. Longer tours are always possible on request.

What to bring and how to dress

This of course depends on the weather. If it’s warm wear shorts and a t-shirt, or swim wear. If it’s chilly or rainy wear a rain jacket and fast drying clothes. Normally people don’t fall in the water, but it can happen, as it did with us! You will also get a bit wet by the drops from the paddle.

Image of a man who fell from a SUP board
It doesn’t happen often, but it did happen to our photographer Mike Louagie. He fell into the water; Luckily he was using an under water camera! ©Mike Louagie

Don’t forget to wear sunscreen if it’s sunny.

Do bring an underwater or water protected camera if you have one – there are many “kodak” moments during the tour.  

SUPing is done with bare feet – bring sandals or flip flops which you are comfortable leaving by the shore if you don’t want to walk from the car to the water barefoot.

How it works

After the reservation you meet the tour guide by his car at the set time at the meeting point likely to be near the Bijloke. You will get a board and a paddle to carry to the dock/pier by the water. You can leave your bag (with wallet/phone etc.) in the car of the tour guide.

This is an image of two girls carrying stand up paddle boards in Gent
The inflated boards are carried to the water ©Mike Louagie

At the pier the tour guide will explain how to get on the board and how to stand up and paddle. One by one each SUPer enters the water.

This image shows two girls hadning a stand up paddle board to a guide in Gent
The tour guide gives instructions on how to get on the board in the water ©Mike Louagie

Picking your route

Every time a boat passes (which happens often towards the centre) it is tricky to stay standing due to the waves. This created a bit of a dilemma when choosing the route. The start is by Bijloke, and you can choose to go to iconic but busy Graslei, the greener Coupure or towards the nature and calm of Blaarmeersen.

Image of a girl giving thumbs up for doing a SUP tour in Gent
Lilas Huez is highly recommending everyone to try out SUPing in the canals of Gent. It is a unique experience and a super cool thing to do. ©Mike Louagie

 

 

Other organisations organising SUP boards and lessons

https://www.legrandhuit.eu/nl/vrijetijdsactiviteiten/gent/stand-up-paddle

City of Ghent: Lessons at Blaarmeersen – find more info here.

What is your experience?

Have you SUPed? Tell us about your experience in the comment section

 

Updated last: August 2018

 

 

Jenny
Jenny moved to Gent late 2009, and stayed for a Gentenaar she met at a party in the Charlatan. She combines her interest in entrepreneurship and her love for unique experiences and works as an event organiser and is the Community Manager of Entrepreneurs Anonymous. Please connect: https://be.linkedin.com/in/jennybjorklof
https://be.linkedin.com/in/jennybjorklof

One thought on “Getting on the SUP board in Gent

  1. Hi, we’re coming to Ghent in the first week of September, and I’d love to have a go at paddle boarding with my son. we’re both beginners. Please could you tell me whether we need to book in advance. Many thanks, Tracey

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