Article by: Robbie Mingay | Photo’s: Courtesy of Nile SUP
For those who haven’t heard of SUP, it’s time to take notice because it’s the world’s fastest growing water sport. Breaking free from the relative niche world of paddle sports, SUP has rapidly grown in popularity around the world. SUP is simple, accessible, and excellent exercise. Unlike other paddle sports, which generally require a range of specific equipment, to SUP all one needs is the board, a paddle and a buoyancy aid. Whether you go on a trip or just a rental, Nile SUP provides all the necessary gear.
If you’re reading this and you’re thinking – “how can paddling an oversized surfboard be fun?” – you’re not alone, I too was sceptical. I’d come to Uganda to kayak the world-class white water of the Nile and share my love of kayaking as an instructor for KTN, not to SUP. But KTN and Nile SUP are sister companies and my intrigue was sparked, so I found myself along with the rest of the KTN instructors, meeting for what was to be a fantastic day on the Nile.
If the morning was fun, the afternoon was epic. A short car-ride later, we were paddling our SUP boards down the mighty Nile with the first white water rapid on the horizon; affectionately known as Jaws, after a big crashing wave half-way down. A relatively achievable rapid in kayaks, this rapid was far more challenging on SUP boards and hilarious fun – I did three laps and didn’t make it down upright once! Fortunately, safety kayakers are always nearby to make sure you get back to your board safely, and ready for the next rapid!
There aren’t many rivers in the world where you can safely SUP so many of the rapids. The Nile is unique because of its deep, warm water and there are very few rocks to worry about, which probably makes the Nile the best river in the world to try SUP.
While the white water may not appeal to everyone, SUP is a versatile activity that everyone can enjoy. Flat water SUP paddling is excellent, relaxing exercise; your core muscles are key when paddling as well as your shoulders and arms. Even more important however, are all the small stabilizing muscles in your feet, legs, and torso that must work hard to help keep you balanced – it beats spending time in the gym!
Nile SUP’s latest activity includes a specially made hammock frame to suspend you over the river on a pair of SUP boards. So if you like the idea of an ice-cold beer while soaking in the evening sun, with the only emphasis being on total relaxation, it’s a big one for your bucket list.