‘It’s easy to distance on a 1,500-acre broad’: paddleboard firm reopens
PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 June 2020
Ian Burt Photography
Social distancing is a challenge in many places. But when your workplace is a 1,500-acre Norfolk broad, life is much easier.
Martin Rendle plies his trade on Hickling Broad, offering stand-up paddleboard sessions - a fact that has helped him to start again this week after the lockdown shutdown.
Mr Rendle, of Norfolk Outdoor Adventures, reopened on Monday and said: “It is quite easy to social distance on the water. It’s just you on your board and as long as you are two metres away from someone else on a 1,500-acre broad, it is quite easy to do.”
The business, which is based at Hickling Broads, spent lockdown carrying out water safety education sessions as part of its work with the Water Skills Academy, to help people learn how to stay safe on the water and reduce pressure on emergency services.
Mr Rendle, 48, said: ““We are a 52-weeks-of-the-year business. Water sports are not just for summer, they happen all year round if you wear the right clothing.”
He said the biggest challenge was missing out on the first part of the season when there was great weather.
“Last year over the whole season we saw just over 1,000 people and the majority across the season being from Easter to September. That is a lot of people to see.
“With one-to-one sessions it reduces [the number] dramatically and the groups are made up of one to five.
“I live on the water, I race SUP - that’s my sport. I travel Europe doing it and to be back on the water, training back on the water and teaching people - I love it. The benefit of one-to-one is I can focus down on that person, unlike a group where you are splitting your time between five to eight people.”
He aims to continue reintroducing activities, including kayaking from June 20.
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He said a strict process has been put in place to ensure social distance measures at all time, with safe cleaning of equipment before and after each use.
All sessions have to be pre-booked and participants complete all forms online to help manage social distancing.
Mr Rendle said; “People’s experience bubbles are getting smaller and if you take them by the hand and show them they can do it, they enjoy it.”
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