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Team McConks album

Team McConks photowall

Team McConks photowall

We get lots of photos sent from our lovely extended family – holiday photos, fun photos, photos of kids growing up.  We love getting them, and we love seeing our kit being used around the world. It makes all the late nights and hard work worth it to see those smiles!

But some of you have asked if we could create a gallery of the photos you’ve sent, even asking if it’s possible for you to upload them directly. and the answer has always been no, because we’ve not been able to configure the website securely enough to allow this to happen.

We did it!

Guess what… We’ve finally found a secure way to do it 🙂 You can now use a simple form to upload photos to the Team McConks photowall.

And even better, you can write a short note or short article. as part of the upload! So you can provide some words to set the scene or to promote your favourite cause.

Team McConks photowall
Feature on our photowall.

Map your photos and footage

We’re also implementing a way that you’ll be able to add a pin to a map to locate the photos, which will then open up the post and photos.   It’s in beta at the moment, but you can try it here.

Map your challenges and travels on McConks Map. This video is of Roger Chandler being the first person EVER to circumnavigate Menorca on a SUP. And he did it on a McConks Go Explore 12’8

Upload from your phone or tablet

But the best bit?  You can do all of this direct from your phone or tablet. The upload has been optimised for mobile. So snap away with your snazzy new waterproof phone, and upload on the go. No more waiting around ’til you get in front of a laptop!

The small print

You retain full copyright of your photos, and if McConks ever would like to use the photos in any of our marketing, we will of course ask for permission.

The only rules about submitting a post and photos are:

  1. Keep it clean and legal
  2. You remain responsible and liable for the content
  3. Make it fun
  4. You agree that we can share a link to the post you’ve created on social media (Facebook, Insta, Twitter, Pinterest)

p.s. There might be short delay between submitting your post and photos and the post going live on the website. Sorry about this, but we do need to check that the content is suitable for our webpage, and not spammy.  The posts will appear here, and we will (eventually) put a link to the feed on our homepage.

p.p.s If you want to promote your SUP related business through this feed, you’re welcome to do so as long as you feature our products as part of the photos/feed please.  You can add a URL, so you can use this as part of your SEO strategy.

p.p.p.s   You will also be able to view all of the photos in a photo gallery, but we’re still working on that! 

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Finding your nearest SUP litter pick with SUPhubUK

Find your nearest paddleboard litter pick

Maps and events planner

Find your nearest paddleboard litter pick
SUPhubUK map showing litter picks happening in the next 4 weeks

SUPhubUK is a great resource for all things SUP.  Whether it be finding your nearest race, finding the nearest SUP club for your holiday in Scotland, or whether it be finding out when the next SUP retreat is going to happen, SUPhubUK has it covered.

And now there is a new event category of SUP litter picks.

SUP litter picks

Litter picks can be arranged by individuals or clubs, and are a great way of meeting other SUPers whilst doing something to protect our rivers and seas.

This weekend – 4/5th February – there are two litter picks happening, one in the South West with Waterborn SUP, and one in the South East on the Thames with Bray SUP .

Find your nearest SUP litter pick
Litter picks w/e 4/5 February 2018

Head over to SUPhubUK to find out more details.

If ever you want to arrange a litter pick, but are short of boards, the contact us at McConks. We have helped club events and litter picks in the past with the loan of boards. We’re event sending our MegaSUP to the Stroudwater litter pick over Easter weekend!

Happy paddling

Team McConks

p.s. If you want to get your events added to SUPhubUK, whether this be litter picks, SUP yoga session, social paddles or any other kind of SUP event, just email suphubuk@gmail.com and they’ll help.  You can also get your club, school, shop or business added to the SUP maps or even add them yourself!

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The four stages of Santa

So how do paddleboarding Father Christmas’s, Santa SUPs and festive elves fit into the four stages of life?

First, you believe in Santa

Secondly, you stop believing in Santa

Thirdly, you are Santa

And finally, you look like Santa.

We’re not sure what stage all of these Santas are at.  But they’ve certainly raised eyebrows and drawn lots of crowds across the UK.

And it looks like Father Christmas has been busy delivering McConks boards and paddles in the last twelve months.

Well done to Bath paddleboard centre, Bath SUP, Jay SUP Manning, SUPer Whale ,  Mid Cheshire SUP, Bartley SUP and B-ROW for getting so many Santas out on the water over the last two weekends!

If you’re stil struggling for Christmas present ideas, why not buy the gift of paddleboarding?  We’ve got lots of ideas, from experiences, to gift cards to accessories.  Check out our blog articles below

 

Aloha Birmingham🤙🎄You have welcomed us with some challenging weather today 🌬🙈, but hey we embrace the #yearroundstoke💪❄️😜 Mahalo to B-Row: Rowing and Canoeing in Birmingham Bartley SUP Ben Julian Coaching for bringing these many Santas together🌟 Check out the cutest #SUPpup 👀🐶Merry Christmas y’all 🎅⭐️🎄 #coldwaterSUP #SantaSUP #jointheSUPtribe #sharetheSUPstoke

Geplaatst door SUPer Whale op zondag 17 december 2017

’tis the season to be merry – gift ideas – from £10 to £200, there is something in here for every paddler

Give a little pleasure for Christmas – why experiences make the best gifts, and how to choose the best experiences

 

 

 

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Boardin Skool & McConks | McConks SUP

McConks sup Boardin akoo?

We asked a few of our bigger customers (number of boards not weight or height of customer) for a couple of words about McConks – why they choose us, if they were happy with our service, with our kit etc.  We were only really expecting people to complain. After all, it’s a given that the customers most motivated to respond to surveys are those who have an axe to grind. So we were expect lots of comments that would help us to improve our kit and our service.

What we weren’t expecting was the outpouring of, dare we say it, love.  We can’t post all the comments because it just appears self indulgent. And following the “if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably a subject” school of thought, then it probably would be rather self indulgent and boring.

But, this review from the lovely Adam and Jenny of Boardin Skool, was too lovely, and we thought you would allow us to indulge ourselves just once with a self congratulatory pat on our back. Of course, when you’re based in a beautiful part of the world, as Adam and Jenny are, and when you’ve got a dream business making people happy, it’s a lot easier to write positive happy reviews! But it’s fair to say Adam really knows his paddlesports. One of the most qualified British Canoe instructors in the UK (one of the very few level 5 instructors), Adam also sits on the newly inaugurated technical panel for SUP at British Canoeing.

But enough introduction, this is what they had to say:

Hi. My name is Adam Williams and my Wife (Jenny) and I are the proud Directors at Boardin Skool. We are a family run business that grew from passion for the sport of Stand up

Boardin skoolpaddleboarding and a healthy love for windsurfing, and paddle sport too.

Boarding skool has been in full flow for 3 years and we have been sup’in our way around the scene on most boards out there. We have moved from solid based boards, to some other makes of ISUP but found our feet 18 months ago we used our first Mcconks board. We used the 12’8 Go Explore board as a part of our source to sea expedition, which covered over 140 miles of Norfolk Broads, Sea and estuary, on, an out and back expedition. Our boards were loaded for a full 5 days and I had the McConks ISUP on this expedition. The boards were fantastic. it tracked well, effortless paddling with fast releasing rails and stern, and the board turned really well too both loaded and unloaded . We found the board to be extremely well balanced with expedition gear and without. the soft deck panel was substantial enough to manoeuvre around on and !!!! never lost grip however wet the board become.

Equally without being loaded Jenny (the real boss) paddles the McConks boards with our 3 year old on the front with ease and comfort, (even though wriggling around is his favourite past time). From a ladies perspective, they are light to carry, easy to transport, and well balanced for women with and without buoyancy aids on to get back on to.McConks sup Boardin akoo?

This made purchasing our new fleet of 9 boards for boarding skool an easy task back in the summer. I contacted Andy and was greeted with the same passion we share for board sports and an interest of who we were and what we do. Boardin Skool placed an order for 9 boards pre season and we have not been disappointed. The customer service has been quick, reliable and honest, and most important for us was we could talk to McConks on the phone as well as emails. This ensured we had the right product for the right purpose.

The boards have had a HEAVY summer, we have paddled WW, Surfed, countless taster sessions and Hire…. And they McConks supstill look as good as new. We have just taken delivery of the new Windsup and as soon as the wind blows jenny and I cannot wait to get out to give it a thorough blast across Norfolk’s finest coastline and Broads.

We have not been disappointed at all with our fleet, the performance or the durability. Totally proud to be supporting an British based product and excited about the future for our relationship with McConks. There are plenty of boards out there that people ride and have found there own serenity on it. but we have too and thanks McConks for it being your boards. Well done on creating a fantastic brand.

To find out more about Adam, Jen and Boardin Skool, check out their Facebook page.

 

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Anything is possible if you just believe. If you believe, you will achieve success.

This is a blog takeover by Lucy Jackson, who is fundraising for a volunteering trip to Fiji. Good work Lucy!

Two weeks ago I paddled down the river Tay on my stand up paddleboard in order to fundraise for my volunteer trip to Fiji next month. In Fiji, we are going to help teach English to pupils, painting the walls of the school and building rainwater catchments. I am also going to be helping out at a turtle sanctuary.

The total length of this journey is 70 miles, each day we paddled on average 25 miles. Early Friday morning we set off from Kenmore andvpaddled down to Dunkeld. This was challenging, as I had to overcome several rapids on my journey.  The paddleboard was very stable and I managed to complete most of the rapids.  Shortly after the rapids we all capsized, and our clothes unfortunately got wet. Nevertheless, we could not fault the weather, as it was a beautiful day. When we arrived in Dunkeld we sat out and enjoyed our fish and chips, and then found some flat ground for us to set up camp.

On the second day we paddled from Dunkeld to Perth, even though this may not seem far on the road, it was a real trek down the river. Again it was another sunny day, and there was a lot of fisherman about on the river. We also passed Campsie Linn waterfall, although we could not paddle through this due to safety risks. When we arrived in Perth later that evening we had a BBQ and camped on the grounds of Perth sailing club.

Finally, on the third day we travelled from Perth to Tayport. Again, this was also challenge as this is where the river meets with the sea, so the water was more difficult to paddle through. At the start of our journey that day, we were paddling alongside the sailing boats, as they were having a competition from Perth to Newburgh. Going under the Tay road bridge and the railway bridge was tricky, as the winds were very strong. However, we managed to reach our destination at Tayport later that afternoon.

The McConks paddle played a great part in enabling me to complete this journey smoothly. The fact that this paddle is so light to hold made the paddling a lot easier, and cut through the water with little struggle.

What I have learnt from this trip is that you really can do anything if you put your mind to it. I had done a little training for this trip, however I am in no way an expert on paddle boarding. Therefore, anything is possible if you just believe and then you will succeed.

Lucy Jackson

p.s. If you’ve been inspired and want to donate to Lucy’s fundraising, you do so via her fundraising page here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Whitstable SUP & McConks

Whitstable SUP
Whitstable SUP

They say you can you choose your friends but not your family.  So the friends you choose say more about who you are than your family do.  And as a SUP brand, although anyone can buy and use our products, its the companies that we choose to call our partners that say a lot about us as a brand.

And on that note, we’re totally excited and thrilled to say that Whitstable SUP is our latest partner.  Like McConks, Whitstable SUP is a small, young company filled with a passion for SUP and sustainability.  For who. having satisfied customers, and enjoying time on the water is more important than more mundane things like making money.  Based, (unsurprisingly) in the beautiful Kentish coastal town of Whitstable, the company provide instruction and guided tours on the Swale and the River Stour.  Both locations, being protected by the Isle of Sheppey are perfectly safe environments for beginners to learn SUP.  And stunningly beautiful.

Lucy Boutwood, the founder of Whitstable SUP, is a qualified SUP instructor, and is often seen on the water with Elmo, her trusty Daschund.  When Lucy was looking for a new SUP provider in 2017, McConks were one of a few possible brands to consider.  After a test paddle on a wet and very windy February day on the River Thames, it became apparent that McConks and Whitstable SUP were a partnership made in heaven.

What does our partnership mean?

Well for Lucy and Whitstable SUP, a fleet of new boards allowing more people to learn to SUP and to explore the beautiful environs of Whitstable.

For Lucy’s customers – great learning and development platforms and paddles.  And a refund of the instruction fee if they buy a board from McConks

For McConks the knowledge that we’re working with a great company that we admire. And of course, the chance for more people to get to try our boards.

Find out more about Whitstable SUP here.

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Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly
Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly

We’ve just been listening to the back catalogue of an old friend of McConks.  Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.

Not a friend as in someone we know personally, but a friend in the sense of someone who we’ve known for a very long time, whose advice we admire, and who makes us smile whenever we experience them.  Sam Duckworth, the brains behind Get Cape now goes by the name Recreations, and the music is just as great.  But we’ve been following and listening to Sam for many, many years, and some of the early stuff really brings back memories.

And really makes us think.  One song that really chimes with us is the eponymous song Get Cape. Wear Cape.  Fly.  And this lyric sums it up:

“Open your eyes and you don’t need to buy.  You don’t need to be a coathanger for a corporation in a market that’s lost the plot”.

Consumerism can be the enemy of the environment, of social justice, of equality.  Especially if companies are driving change for change sake – changing fashions, changing colours and pushing consumers to buy a new product every year.  When this year’s product is exactly the same as last years, just a slightly different colour or style.  Or when products are made to fail at the end of their warranty period.  Or with cheap products that companies know are not good enough quality, and most people will only use for a short period of time before buying a product that actually works.

All of these things are rife in the world of SUP.   And that’s what different about McConks.

Our boards and paddles are designed with the very best of every component, and made to last for year after year.

We only make products where we offer something different.  So we know that no other company makes packages and paddles of the same quality as us, at the same price point, and with the same ethics.  It’s why we don’t for example make branded t-shirts.  We couldn’t do anything that’s different in price, ethics or quality to what’s already on the market.  And it’s why we don’t, for example, put free car stickers in our products.  Only a small number of them would ever be used, some of them would become litter or be fly posted,  and most would go to landfill.

Ethical products

We only use suppliers who have demonstrated their environmental and worker welfare credentials to us.

But we’d like your thoughts on changing colours and designs.  For 2017 we have kept our great board shape, but have improved our components and manufacturing process as technology improves.  And in doing so we took advantage to change our colours and cosmetics as we weren’t happy with the design of our 2016 lineup.

Were already looking forward to 2018 and what our 2018 lineup will look like, and we’re thinking we should keep our styling, colours etc the same.   That will help break the constant upgrade cycle that other brands rely on, and will reduce our impact on the environment.  We will be bringing new products into the lineup, but this will be about sizes and types, and innovation, not just colours and cosmetics.

But what you think?  Is it important to change colours and style to keep things fresh? Or are our instincts to keep styles the same correct?

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Are you full of Coastal Spirit?

Coastal Spirit…

You know it when you feel it.  Whether it be the feeling that you get when you see the mist over the sea at sunrise, the adrenalin rush when you nail that session, or the inspiration you feel watching a watery blood red sunset.

It’s also the name of a great company in North Wales who McConks has been working with for some time now, and who you can’t fail to notice have been appearing in our social media feeds. So we thought you might like to know more about who Coastal Spirit are.  Roger Chandler is the founder of Coastal Spirit, and he took some time off the water to answer our questions.

Tell us about your watersports background?

From a small child I loved being in and around water. Apparently it was fairly common for me to create a lot of noise when my parents tried to remove me!  It wasn’t until my early 20’s that I took up kayaking and then mainly due to my brother, who was a couple of years younger than me, that I progressed.  While paddling just the two of us on Coniston Water, he capsized and as I frantically paddled to rescue him, he then rolled up!!  So I joined a club as I couldn’t have my younger brother doing something I had no idea about, and got into white water.  We shared some great adventures together.  I then got into the dark art of open canoeing and one bladed skills. I discovered I loved the journeying and exploration.  This eventually led me on to sea kayaking as the kayak could move faster and was far better suited for rough weather on the coast and open sea!

Talk us through your story: What made you decide to set up Coastal Spirit?

Interestingly I never wanted to run my own company. Three things happened that made me consider life and what was important.  1) a very good friend died of Cancer, he was only 40.  2) I had worked for Raleigh International running the sea kayaking in Chile, Patagonia – it had taken 2.5 years to sort out and get 4 months off.  1.5 years later they pulled out of Chile.  3)  I had a bad mountain bike accident in France and as I laid in the ditch, I thought I had broken my back. I had broken my sternum and had whiplash to my neck – 6 weeks off work and physio I was in a much better place!

These three created an understanding, that life can be short, it can change in a moment, that if something is put off it may not happen again. If I couldn’t paddle, that would be very sad.  Actions have consequences, good, bad and indifferent.

I was 39 and looking for less stress and a better lifestyle and this was about getting closer to the mountains and the sea. There were fewer job opportunities in North Wales to do that as part of a company, so starting a company and throwing myself into it had to work.

Have you always been in North Wales?

Since 1990 I have worked in the outdoors. I’ve lived in the Lake District, Shropshire, Lancashire and the Forest of Dean, before moving to North Wales.

2017 is 10 years for Coastal Spirit. Before that I spent many hours driving up and down the motor ways, having been white water paddling, rock climbing, hill walking or sea kayaking up here.

What keeps you off the water?

Ha, ha, good question. Not much, illness and my accounts!

When did you first come across SUP?

About 2 years ago down in South Sands, Salcombe. An area we tended to go down to with good friends, for the last 15 plus years.  I hired a paddleboard for a half day and to be honest had a nightmare.  There was a small swell running and I couldn’t stand up.  Really!!  As far as I was concerned that was it.   Until last April 2016 when Jack Hewlett, who I’ve grown up with being around and sharing adventures, was working with me on the British Canoeing  3* performance sea kayak award.  In his down time he took to a paddleboard.  I was inspired, borrowed his board and managed 50 minutes, BOOM!

Is SUP strictly personal, or do you think it will become part of your business?

In many ways it would make a lot of sense to create a new element in my business.   Yet if I come back to why I started Coastal Spirit, it was for a better balance and quality of life.  At the moment it is strictly personal and to be honest I’m keen for it to remain there.  I’m more than happy for friends and clients to paddle the McConks boards I now have.  I really believe more paddlers, sea kayakers will take it up.  Storing a sea kayak can be a challenge and there is far less kit with paddle boarding.  Although at the same time, never say never!

Where does paddleboarding fit for you?

Since buying a board last May, it’s given me another playful focus and paddleboarding fits really well for me, on those calmer days where I could get bored in a sea kayak after 10 days coaching sea kayaking.  I see paddleboarding as an exercise, rather than going to the gym.  It’s a new challenge. I only need 2-3 hours and if I take the board into the faster flows of The Swellies, then it can still feel mellow.  In the Winter I’m working on downwind runs and seeing what I can manage. It feels exciting to be learning a new skill again.  The reality is I’m on the water more now, than I was even 1 year ago!

Why do you think paddleboarding has become so popular?

It looks believable and easy. There is minimal amount of kit, so less faff and no real technical skill needed to begin with, other than balance! There is also more social media coverage of some amazing stuff on paddleboards now.

Coastal Spirit. What are your aspirations for the future?

Keep doing what I’m doing, listen to clients and hear what they want, keep pushing sea kayak mentoring – an area I love. Keep the balance between, work and play. Ensure more adventures happen and kindle my passion.

Any changes for 2017?

Focused & Specific is a new range of courses, that aims to address areas that clients have said they want, or have difficulties with. Surf & Tide-races is one of those courses and with a ratio of 1:4.  Last year I ran four weekends and they went down really well.  I tend to start off with a brief performance psychology input over coffee and then we look for the best location for the waves.  It’s been a very popular course and great fun.

In-Bedding the 10 items of plastic to collect on each course and I’m really pleased with the response.   I’ve probably been doing it for the last 2 years and now I’m really encouraging it.  Just keep a plastic bag or two in a hatch.

Who are your paddling heroes and why?

Not sure if I’ve got paddling heroes but my first hero probably was my action man. Yep, I played with a doll!  He did everything and spent a number of summers in the paddling pool, having super adventures.  On from there was the Operations Manager at Outward Bound Eskdale, Tony Shepard – he was an excellent climber leading E5, super white water paddler and was just getting into para gliding.  He could also speak confidently to a management group and demonstrated a whole set of rounded skills.

Thanks and shouts?

BIG thanks to P&H Custom sea kayaks for their sponsorship, Mitchelblade kayak paddles, Kokatat paddle wear and of course McConks for their great Paddleboards!

For more information on Coastal Spirit, or to book your adventure visit http://coastalspirit.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/sea.kayaking.northwales