Free paddle board fun at Bognor Regis beach for World Ocean Day
“They loved it. They absolutely loved it. They always do.”
Children got a chance to pick up a paddle board and take to the sea last Saturday (August 28) as part of a weekend of free World Ocean Day and Funshine Day events which included arts and crafts workshops, a sandcastle competition, and hula hooping.
Organised by Bognor Regis Town Council, the free paddle board event was led by Chichester company TJ Board Hire and gave children a chance to test the waters under the experienced eye of a qualified coach.
Co-owner Gemma Caflin, who said the company takes part in the Funshine Events every year, made clear it was a hit with the kids.
“It’s an amazing event. The lady who runs it, Kirsten, just puts so much hard work into it,” she said.
For Mrs Caflin, the funshine event represented a chance to spread her passion for paddle boarding to the young people of her immediate community, something she appreciated in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s just such a positive thing for Bognor,” she said.
“When we were out on the boards, we had quite a few holiday-makers, as well as local families, who all said the funshine events were amazing.”
That’s high praise, and it was echoed by the children themselves who, Mrs Caflin said, ‘loved’ the chance to explore the water in a safe environment.
“I think, for a lot of kids, it’s just not something that they’d usually get the opportunity to do, so to get that chance to come out in a safe environment, is really valuable. For a lot of children it’s quite outside their comfort zone.” For Mrs Caflin, though, that’s part of the sport’s power: giving children confidence in and around the sea, not to mention an awareness of its dangers.
“Before we get on the board, we do a little safety briefing (with the kids), talk to the parents and make sure they’re nearby,” she said. “We talk them through what happens if you fall in the water, so that they’re really reassured.
“It happened a couple of times, but the children did brilliantly, they did exactly what they were asked to do, they didn’t panic and we helped them get back up on the board.
“It’s great, really. They loved it. They absolutely loved it. They always do.”
Alongside taking part in the Funshine Day events, TJ Board Hire also cater to families interested in learning a water sport like paddle boarding, giving parents a chance to take to the water with their children. To find out more about the board hire company, and to book a session, click here.