Stand-up paddleboarding is the new cool thing to do so Jack grabbed a board and saddled up an Axopar 37XC to see what all the fuss is about...
One of the more positive byproducts of the restrictions on travel we’ve experienced in 2020 has been a boom in watersports. People, hamstrung by not being able to enjoy their usual foreign holidays, have taken to the waterways and shorelines of the UK like never before and a pastime that has experienced a particular boom is stand-up paddleboarding.
It is the hobby of the moment, so much so that back in July you’d have had more chance of happening upon some rocking-horse excrement than you would a paddle board in stock. MBY editor Hugo, being a finger-on-the-pulse sort of chap, thought it a good idea that I join the masses and see what all the fuss is about. I agreed, naturally, because how hard can it be?
Okay, this journalist’s physique may be more suited to rugby scrums than SUPs but if my 63-year-old father can make it look so easy, surely I’d be able to master it? With a plan in place to break my paddleboarding duck we needed the right boat for the job and there aren’t many better than the second generation of Axopar’s 37.
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Axopar fancies itself as an adventure brand as much as it does a boating brand these days, so much so that it’s just struck a partnership with Dutch watersports equipment manufacturer Jobe. Such is the popularity of SUPs that Jobe had to supply a 2021 board for the purposes of our little adventure as worldwide stock of 2020 boards had completely sold out.
No chance of this workman blaming his tools then, unfortunately. My plan was thus: pick up the boat from Hythe Marina, Southampton, head to the Needles to see how the boat performs, take to the water on the board – swan-like, of course – to get some pictures of the board, boat, and iconic landmark together and, in the process, hopefully, gather some understanding as to why so many people have fallen for scooting themselves across the surface of the water on a thin strip of rubber.
Read our full review of the Axopar 37XC in the December 2020 issue of MBY, which is out now.