So love it or loathe it, it’s true that Facebook is here to stay, and is a really good source of a number of things. Amongst other things it’s great for:
- Information and advice
- Bullying and elitism
- Fake news
So yes, obviously not all about Facebook is good. But, there is a whole wealth of accumulated knowledge in the paddlers who are members of paddleboard Facebook groups. And if you find the right groups, ones where the members are friendly rather than bullying, supportive rather than dismissive, and are open minded rather than closed minded, then you have struck gold.
You shouldn’t be afraid to express an opinion
It’s important to know that when you ask a question or seek an opinion, you’re not laughed at by elitists. It’s also important to be able to express your opinion without fear of a backlash from a clique of members who shout down anyone with opinions that differ to theirs. Quite frankly, some groups resort to bullying to impose an opinion rather than seek concensus. And often this is aided and abetted by the moderators.
The very best groups will have moderators who are open to all opinions, and intervene when people close down or criticise opinions. Gaslighting shouldn’t be something anyone experiences on line, and the best groups have good moderators to stop things getting out of hand. Opinions should be allowed, but abuse should be closed down quickly.
One group or many?
It’s also worth considering whether you will ever get everything you need out of a single group. Why do we say this? Well, there are an awful lot of SUP experts on Facebook groups, but they’re not all on the same ones. Some people have particular expertise, and only join groups relevant to that expertise. There are also a lot of ‘experts’ on Facebook groups. The challenge is understanding whether the opinion is being shared by a real expert, or by a bully who just shouts louder than everyone else! And by being a member of a number of groups you get a much more balanced view across the groups, rather than having opinion dominated by a narrow clique of ‘experts’
So what are the best groups?
After many years of joining and following Facebook groups, we’ve built up a good understanding of which Facebook groups are fun, friendly, and useful. We’ve listed these below
If you want paddleboard advice from across the board (pun intended) – from businesses to instructors to beginners, this is the group for you. The group is dedicated to tricks, shortcuts, or skills for standup paddleboarding, and all about spreading the joy of SUP. There’s an awful lot of good and useful content out there in the wild. But also a load more churnalism and spun content. So finding the good from the bad can be difficult for newcomers. This group aims to aggregate the good content and filter out the bad. It is a public group (why would anyone hide their group behind closed doors?), and anyone can post in here. References to blogs and articles written by brands are permitted as long as they are original, truly informative and help paddleboarders develop. Blatant adverts or spam, whether by advertisers or individuals aren’t permitted. So the group has a good balance between a small amount of content from UK Manufacturers, but mostly non commercial content from over 5000 paddlers. So what are you waiting for? Contribute to the hive mind. What’s your greatest SUP hack? And if you’re looking for a SUP hack, then ask away. (1).
The group is mostly UK and Ireland, with a smattering of members from the EU and the rest of the world
Standup Paddleboard UK
An open and relaxed forum about Standup Paddleboarding in the UK and Ireland. No censorship, no silly rules, no egos, just great information and content for everyone to share and participate in. This is a place for the whole SUP community (individuals, brands, schools, groups, instructors and anyone else) to share information about events, about new gear, about new places to paddle, about new groups. In fact, about what ever you want it to be. The administrators of this group cover a range of individuals from newbies, to expert paddlers to those that work in the industry. With this range of admin, there is no risk of conflict of interest. Which is a good thing!
SUP photography international group
If you just want to see sweet photos of paddlers and boards, this is the group for you. If you ❤️ SUPing & love to see other peoples adventures, waves or locations, – this group is for you. No Ads. No Sales. Just a place to share your pictures of epic SUP Sessions. Tag your board(if you want). Tag the photographer (if it’s not you).
SUP touring and Exploring UK
This is group for for anyone interested in SUP touring in the UK. Discussions about equipment, skills, places to paddle or just inspiration for your next SUP trip. Full of lovely people who just want to do more on their SUP!
SUP surfing UK and Ireland
A laid back, friendly, non-judgemental, group that’s everything to do with SUP surfing in the UK and Ireland. The group’s focus is the promotion of SUP surfing on hard boards as that’s where our passion lies.
If you want to talk about board design, fins, SUP surfing technique, new gear and generally sharing surfing stoke, then this is the place.
But woe betide you if you want to discuss river paddling/surfing weirs or general paddling….You’ll get a friendly by sarcastic comment by the admin pointing out the are plenty of other Facebook groups covering those disciplines.
As with all good Facebook groups, they don’t do censorship – it takes too much time and effort, but they make sure that advertising and spam don’t overwhelm the page!
White water SUP UK
If you’re even slightly interested in whitewater SUP, this is the group. They are so friendly, so supportive and so accommodating. It’s full of amazing instructors, awesome paddlers, and people who love whitewater SUP but are actually pretty awful at it!