Interview with Lars Thierling from „Paddeln macht Spass“ & „Kanu & SUP on Tour“
Lars Thierling is the organiser of the „Paddeln macht Spass“ campaign. We talked to him about the upcoming „Canoe & SUP on Tour“ and his experiences.
„Paddeln macht Spass (Paddling is Fun)“ - with this project you want to introduce people to paddling on a SUP board, kayak or canoe. Can absolutely anyone learn to paddle?
Lars Thierling: „Everyone can learn to paddle - no ifs, ands or buts about it. The chance to see nature from a different side is absolutely fascinating and unique. Every season and every site have their own magical charm. Basically speaking, you should inform yourself beforehand (e.g. at a canoe club or SUP school) about the basic rules, such as nature protection, how to get safely on to the water and what to do if something unexpected happens.
Of course, paddling on your own isn’t for everyone. For this reason, canoe clubs and SUP schools offer activities in groups so no one has to go out on the water alone if they don't want to. Besides, it's much more fun to discover something new in a group, isn't it? For example, we regularly offer guided city tours. The journey of discovery in even a well-known city, but from the water, is really something special.“
What advice do you give beginners? What should they pay attention to? What’s particularly important?
Lars Thierling: „Beginners should study up on the subject a bit before getting started and not just get out and paddle or buy the next-best gear offered by discounters. I advise everyone to find out what they need to know from the experts. For example, canoe clubs (DKV) and SUP schools (GSUPA) have experienced paddlers and lots of information to help you get started. They offer beginner courses that don't cost much but will give you the confidence to get out on the water without any stress.
The right clothing and equipment are also important and not that expensive. However, this is a must (even if it’s only borrowed for starters). There are also rules on the water that must be observed, and many novices have found themselves in a dicey situation that could have been avoided with some basic knowledge. You also have the opportunity to try out different materials. But you should wait until you’ve found the right watersports equipment for you before buying it, and then get it at a specialist shop.
Ultimately, with the right basic knowledge, you’ll gain confidence and be able to experience many magical moments on the water.“
Are there any current trends in paddle sports? What do interested people and participants ask about most often?
Lars Thierling: „From my point of view, the trend is going in two directions: On the one hand, people want to be mobile, have a good time with small vehicles suitable for everyday use, e.g. campers, and still paddle on the water. So this target group is interested in folding or inflatable boats and iSUPs, which can be compactly stowed in the vehicle and just as easily stored in a basement or garage in winter.
On the other hand, many want to experience adventures with the whole family or be active in sports. For long holidays, a canoe us a good choice, as it will accommodate the family including the dog, and there’s also room for ample luggage. For those who want it a bit more sporty, hard SUP boards and kayaks are ideal. They’re lightweight, agile and of high quality. Only storage and transport need to be planned before the purchase, but the paddling pleasure absolutely makes up for the extra effort.“
Canoe & SUP on Tour is in the starting blocks with its „Paddeln macht Spass“ campaign. Can you help us understand what it is exactly and what happens there?
Lars Thierling: „We travel once around Germany with two motorhomes and get the campers at campgrounds to paddle. Our goal is to introduce watersports to people who are on holiday by the water but haven’t yet tried it out. Our experienced team also responds individually to special needs, and promise you this: there’s watersports equipment available for people from every age group and life situation!
We also provide holiday makers with tips on caravanning. Mobile leisure activities are key here, because many campers don't just want to paddle, but also want to take out a motorboat or e-scooter for a day. This year we were able to expand our portfolio and can now offer people a chance to test the equipment and exchange information with us about various campground-oriented alternatives – and even give them a try.
As you can see, we have something for almost every holiday maker on our tour!“
So it’s a tour with several stops at campgrounds in Germany. Is the offer aimed exclusively at campers and their visitors or can anyone who’s interested drop by? How can people find out about your stops?
Lars Thierling: „Our offer is not exclusively aimed at campers. Everyone is welcome. We often have guests who drive several hundred kilometres to try out a particular model. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to test these things at home. And since we travel all over Germany, the distance to us is never very far.
If you want to know more, you can find all the information at www.paddeln-macht-spass.de. We’re also on social media under @paddelnmachtspass, on Facebook and Instagram. And of course, if you’d like to get more information in person, you’re welcome to use the contact details on our site. We’ll be happy to answer any questions and if we can't find a solution, we know where we can make a quick enquiry to get you your answer.“
Camping and watersports - why do they fit together perfectly in your eyes and what makes them so fascinating?
Lars Thierling: „Both activities take place in nature and here I can only speak for myself. When I'm on a campsite by the sea or a lake I can really relax, because the stillness is indescribable. I’m mobile and don't have to limit myself to just one holiday destination. Personally, I always prefer a mix of nature camping, to relax and be close to the water, and sightseeing in beautiful cities. I can explore these from the water without being at the mercy of the hustle and bustle of the city centres. In these cases, I usually resort to a campsite that is easy to find without much advance planning.
Each of us has our own definition of what fascinates us. But that's what it’s all about, isn't it?“
Finally, what advice would you give to anyone interested in paddling? Lars Thierling: „Dare to give it a go, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Once you’ve taken the first step, the fascination of watersports will never let you go!“
More information about Lars and Paddeln macht Spass