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.
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.
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: https://www.aandeplas.be/sporten/suptours/, or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. The tours are generally available from May to October.
Follow their Facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/SupTours.be/
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Other organisations organising SUP boards and lessons
What is your experience?
Have you SUPed? Tell us about your experience in the comment section
About the author:
Jenny is originally from Finland and moved to Ghent in 2009. Now she works as self-employed organising events, supporting businesses with marketing and helping people starting their own businesses by being a community manager of Entrepreneurs Anonymous & co-organiser of Freelance Business Day. Find out more and connect with her on LinkedIn.