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A RED RIDE OUT – Lake Windermere 

Posted by Robyn Dawson

In May 2021, we held our very first UK Red Ride Out on the shores of Lake Windermere. Situated in an ideal spot, by the water’s edge, the Red team set up camp for the weekend to welcome a small group of passionate paddlers and friends of the brand to meet, paddle and embrace the beauty of the Lakeside setting.

We are no stranger to hosting events. Over the years we have run hundreds of demo days, exhibitions, commercial days and of course the Dragon World Championships. Yet, for 2020/21 we took a step back and asked ourselves what we wanted to achieve with our events program. The answer was simple; to get on the water, paddle and meet the people in our community who love paddle boarding as much as we do. And so, the Red Ride Out concept was born.

Following a turbulent year (this was our first event following lockdown) there was certainly slight apprehension in the air but more than anything we were pleased to finally be back together in the great outdoors and ready to host our very first Ride Out!

Thankfully the 20 miles an hour winds of the night before had finally subsided, and we awoke to a calm and dry morning ready to welcome the group of Red paddlers. As the first wave of Red owners arrived there was an overwhelming sense of familiarity as members of the Facebook group finally met in person and instantly bonded through their shared passion.

After a meet, greet and welcome chat from Red Co-Founder, John Hibbard, we invited the group onto the water for a gentle 6K morning paddle. The route took us out onto Lake Windermere towards the National Trust grounds of Fellfoot.
The theme for the weekend was ‘Improvers’. This was a chance for the guests to share their skills with one another and gain support and guidance from the more advanced paddlers in the group. It was a fantastic feeling to look around and see over 25 passionate paddlers back on the water where they belonged.

A relaxed paddle brought us to Fellfoot where we stopped off for an adventure coffee courtesy of Basecamp food. After a caffeine fix and a natter, the group hopped back on their boards, with the more seasoned paddlers of the group sharing techniques and tips as we meandered our way back to camp.

“Meeting and having the opportunity to chat with some of the team that sits behind the scenes was a brilliant idea, the external inputs fitted in perfectly with the weekend theme and with plenty of time to mingle and try out new things. Seeing some of the photos and footage, I'm amazed at how much was crammed into the time. “MIKE LEACH

On arrival to camp, we found lunch being cooked on an open stove by adventure cook and explorer Harrison Ward who later shared his story (and a cooking demonstration) on how he came to combine two of his main passions in life, Food, and the Great Outdoors.
You can read more about Harrison and his top tips for cooking outdoors here

We later heard from SUP (Stand Up Paddle) Adventurer John McFadzean who is on a mission to SUP in every country of the world – as of December 2020, he has paddled 45 countries worldwide. His thought-provoking talk was full of amusing anecdotes and motivational insights from his SUP adventures and concluded with a touching reminder to get out there, embrace life and find your adventure.

“There’s nothing extraordinary about me. I'm not an elite athlete. I'm probably not even an athlete! I'm just an ordinary paddler with a big dream. I believe that anything I can do, anyone else can do too and I hope to inspire others, through my adventures and talks, to push their boat out a little further. “. John McFadzean

Feeling suitably inspired, the group hit the water again to test out the variety of boards on offer, including a few of our multi-person boards; the XL Ride and the 22’0 Dragon! There was also a small group who opted for a wild swim with seasoned cold-water swimmer Gilly McArthur, as she shared her top tips for cold-water immersion and swimming outdoors.

We wrapped up the day with a visit from
Dudes Dough, whose Citron H van made a great backdrop as they dished out their signature sough dough pizzas to the hungry crowd. The campfire ticked away as the sun set on our first day.

“I had such a brilliant time & have learnt so much & was thrilled to have the opportunity to try out different boards & a special thank you to Lucy for giving me her time to talk me through some paddling techniques & giving me encouragement which in turn I gained more confidence. I am truly grateful I was invited to this special event & you guys made me feel so welcome. Great adventure...Great experience...Great company.” Sharon Craig

Sunday morning, we woke to grey skies, heavy downpours, and the infectious laugh of local Wild Swimmer, Winney Poaty.

Winney had arrived early to lead our planned cold-water swimming session. As we stood in the pouring rain the desire to strip down to our swimmers and sink into the chilly Windermere waters had well and truly left us. But In true Winney style, she quickly reignited the motivation and brought us all together for a wiggle and warm up. A ‘Wild Wiggle,’ as Winney puts it, had us all in a circle dancing and wiggling our minds and bodies awake. After 10 minutes the anxious frowns had turned to giggles and smiles and we could not wait to jump in the chilly lake and start our day as we intended!

Unfortunately, the wiggle didn’t quite influence the weather, yet as the team wrapped up camp in the rain there was a feeling of gratitude and fulfilment for a weekend full of shared experiences, new friends, and a brand community we felt very proud to be part of.

To recap the whole weekend check our Instagram story highlight here.

Words by Robyn Dawson