Two paddle-boarders on water

Researchers are looking for participants to take part in a short survey exploring activity, wellbeing and health during the Covid-19 restrictions

8 February 2021

3 min read

The popularity of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has soared during the pandemic and now University of Portsmouth researchers are looking for people to complete a short survey about their experiences of the sport.

Last summer, board sales were reportedly 15 times higher than usual and many companies sold out of stock. SUPing proved hugely popular due to the warm weather and easing of lockdown restrictions. 

Lead researcher Dr Heather Massey, from the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Science, said: “SUPing is the perfect sport for social distancing as you’re generally paddling a board three metres long and a metre or so wide. Despite the sport being around for a while, it became so desirable in 2020 that retailers were selling levels of stock like never before.

“As a research team, we’re interested in people’s wellbeing during the pandemic and we’re trying to find out more about the impact of a sport like SUPing on people’s mental and physical health.

“This pandemic has been a learning experience for everyone and we’re interested to find out if people have used certain activities to cope. Researching this will help us be better informed if we face something like Covid-19 again.”

A young paddleboarder at Pagham beach

A young paddleboarder at Pagham beach

The research team is from the Physical Activity, Health and Rehabilitation group which focuses on the importance of physical activity and exercise for people’s physical and mental health. 

Dr Zoe Saynor, research group lead, said: “This whole area has never been more important. Our ongoing research into people’s physical activity whilst living under Covid-19 restrictions has already shown that lower levels of activity are associated with poorer mental health and wellbeing.”

The SUP research is part of wider ambitions by University of Portsmouth’s Institute of Marine Sciences to make use of paddleboarders and recreational sailors to embrace new technologies to monitor the health of the marine environment. 

Professor of Biology, Alex Ford, said: “We’re working with our physical wellbeing experts to get paddleboarders out on the water to take part in a wider citizen science project. The idea is to enhance wellbeing and activity levels, at the same time as providing us with scientific data for use in marine research. 

“Our aim is to see how we can improve people’s physical and mental wellbeing, while also improving environmental wellbeing too.”

The online survey takes 10 minutes to complete and explores SUPing activity, wellbeing and health during the Covid-19 restrictions. It is for anyone who has ever been on a SUP – from beginners to advanced. 

Click this link to complete the survey: (The survey has been closed.)