A PADDLE board craze on the River Tyne is beginning to make waves on the national stage. 

Wylam woman Anna Little took up the all-action watersport four years ago, and set about raising awareness of its benefits for both mind and body.

After securing £10,000 of grant funding from Sport England last year, she set up a club at Hexham’s Tyne Green, which has been providing training sessions for new members since January. 

Last weekend, the club entered a team in the British Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Club Championships at Bray Lake in Maidenhead, Berkshire.

And the recently-formed Northern SUP Race Team finished second out of 17 teams from across the country. 

“It was an excellent team performance,” said a delighted Anna. “We have some really strong paddlers and we’re all having a lot of fun.

“They have all trained very hard and are very deserving of this success.
Paddle boarders are faced with various challenges, with races made up of distance sprints, team relays, and other tasks, with up to four people on one board.   

“We’re very grateful for the funding we received which has enabled us to invest in equipment.

“Kathie Keady, of Active Northumberland, was very helpful in guiding us through the application process for the funding. 

“We have been made very welcome by the rowers and canoeists, and everyone else at Tyne Green.  

Anna is already an accomplished paddle boarder, and last year she won the British SUP  Race Series, which is made up of five races at different venues across the UK. 

Anna and other members of the club have benefited from the coaching of Bruce Smith, of Consett in County Durham, and Kevin Anderson of Wylam.

She explained: “For me, it all started four years ago when I went on the river at Newburn with Kevin. 

“I found the benefits of paddle boarding to be great. it’s like going to the gym in the water. It’s like a free medicine. 

“We now have more than 25 members, and and I know many other people would enjoy the benefits if they were willing to give it a try.”

Anna’s 12-year-old son James Little is also an aspiring power boarder, and is a key member of the Hexham-based club. 

For more information email info@annalittle.co.uk