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The newest sport on the scene. Enjoying paddling on inland waterways or on the Thames west of Putney Bridge.

Thames Ditton Paddle Boarding Club
Photo: Dittons Paddle Board Club

With all watersports, it’s best to learn under the guidance of an experienced and qualified coach. They can make sure your introduction to the sport is fun and safe and- added bonus- signpost you to the best clubs and paddling routes in your area. Find coaches local to you.

When paddling on the tidal Thames (also known as the tideway), all river users must follow the Tideway Code to keep themselves and others safe. Whilst some stretches of the tideway might not look busy at certain times, it is key to remember that it is a navigable port with a huge variety of activity, from stand-up paddleboarders to high speed boats and commercial ships. It is the busiest inland waterway in the UK.

What’s the Tideway like for stand up paddleboarding?

West of Putney Bridge, the tidal Thames is at its calmest. East of Putney Bridge the river becomes increasingly sea-like, so paddleboarding is only permitted for more experienced paddlers who have undertaken recognised training courses, and only at the times when the river will be less busy. Please refer to the Tideway Code further down this page.

Active360 run a Thames Skills and Knowledge Course to equip people with the skills and knowledge to paddle safely on the tideway. It is needed for anyone wishing to paddle below Putney Bridge. Visit the Active360 website for more information.

Where can I find out more?

British Canoeing have a huge amount of information freely available to paddlers, and their membership offer gives you even more access to the paddling community, resource and advice.

Safety warning

SUPs are often sold with a device, known as a leash, that keeps your board attached to you. Different leashes suit different waters. Quick-release waist leashes are the only leash suitable for the tideway. See British Canoeing’s guidance on the Go Paddling website

We’re working to connect watersports coaches with more opportunities to work with athletes in London, Kent and Essex!

In just a few minutes you can list your areas of expertise and allow Active Thames site users to find and contact you about training options.

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Activity Finder

Navigating in the upper tidal Thames
Navigating in central London
Navigating in the lower tidal Thames

The Active Thames and Boating on the Thames websites are run and administered by the Port of London Authority (PLA) and have been designed to provide support to members of the public who are interested in watersports and activities. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to ensure that information provided on our website is accurate and up to date, we make no representations or guarantees, whether express or implied, as to the accuracy of the content. Therefore, users should ensure that they make their own enquiries of the information provided including coaches, their qualifications (and whether the same are up to date) and contact details as listed on the Active Thames and Boating on the Thames websites. The information and links provided by Active Thames and Boating on the Thames are for convenience only. The directory of coaches and links provided on our website may lead to external sites and any information or statements on these sites are not sponsored or endorsed by the PLA. The PLA cannot be held liable for the availability (or lack thereof) of individuals listed on or content located within any external websites.

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