In 2008, Red Paddle Co embarked on a journey that would change the sport of Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) – by innovating with drop stitch inflatable materials, Red had the idea to make SUPs inflatable! Fast forward 14 years and the popularity of the sport has exploded. Red remains the industry leader in making inflatable boards, and in 2019, Red became a RLSS UK Water Safety Partner. In this article, we look more closely at what the last four years of this partnership have brought.
Just before our partnership began in 2018, Red created its dedicated Rescue division: Red Rescue is devoted to working with Lifesavers worldwide to bring the benefit of their inflatable expertise to the rescue world. They first developed their 10.4 Inflatable Prone Sprint and, later, added the 10.6 Prone Rescue to the range. This narrowed the gap between our spheres of influence, and we saw the opportunity to work together.
After becoming Water Safety Partners, Red supported us with Rescue Boards and SUPs for our team to use at our events. The boards offer uncompromising performance and are much easier to transport and store than a traditional hard-board, so we also now advocate and sell their Rescue Range through our online store.
We have joined up wherever possible on safety messaging. Red have shared our Drowning Prevention Week content and have helped out on various occasions with prizes for our competitions and events to help spread these messages. In 2021, Red developed a SUP specific safety message, which we endorsed and helped share as well: A checklist of considerations before going out on a SUP: P.L.O.T Your Paddle.
In early 2022, RLSS UK Charity Director - Lee Heard and Red CEO - John Hibbard attended a meeting at Parliament; this was part of a process looking to improve UK SUP safety. Following on from this, in the summer of the same year, the SUP industry came together (hosted by the RNLI) to work collaboratively towards that goal and agreed to join up on Red’s PLOT message to keep SUP users safe on the water.
Our Water Safety Partnership with Red continues to hold strong. We continue to advocate for each other and look for ways that we can help each other keep the UK waters safe. This year, Red are the title sponsor of our Make a Splash campaign and they have a very exciting new Rescue product which is just on the horizon.