SUP Wales Presents - The Scarlets SUP CUP

Professional Rugby Players, Meet Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)


Scarlets Rugby aren’t just keen to unleash their athletic prowess on the rugby pitch – turns out they’re game for a challenge on the water too.

We at SUP Wales were delighted to cater for a fun day on the water for the 1st team players (x45) at the idyllic setting of Cwm Lower Lliedi, Swiss Valley Reservoir, Llanelli. 

We delivered with sports programming at the heart of every SUP activity and a major emphasis on Teamwork, Leadership, and Communication. Could these be the competencies the Scarlets needed as their secret sauce for success or - better still -  shiny silverware at the end of the season? 

Let's find out. 


Teamwork encompasses enthusiasm, ambition, and motivation, which are built upon mutual levels of trust. When meeting new people that you’ll be working with, you'll need to establish an understanding of the talent that exists within the team.

Once established, that talent can be used to perform. Once you’ve identified any skills gaps, you can choose to either upskill the current workforce or bridge the gap by hiring Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) or, in this case, signing new players.

In the meantime, focusing on collaboration and innovation is key in teamwork, to plug any gaps. We believe this is how you can make that winning formula, alongside the right attitude, ability to pivot/change and, most importantly, to react instinctively.



SUP enables transformational leadership, often highly sought after by thought leaders and sporting professionals. The process enables many leaders to lead in a variety of situations, which dynamically change over the period of the event.



Engaging in sporting activities enables pragmatic discussions to take place with positive outcomes formed by a collective consensus. For example, a team member might say: “you can do this job” or a team member might say: “I think I'm right for this role because...”

This way team players bring strengths to the table in creating the best solution for the group is what contributes to the outcome – team success.

We believe it's right to say that transformational leaders are the real champions of change. They are the visionaries who influence or motivate teams for achieving excellence in business performance.


For the various SUP activities the players undertook, team communication was at the very heart of each one. They used clear and concise verbal messages between them, along with the clever use of signals and sign language. This was especially evident during the Mega iSUP Racing.

SUP Wales, while currently in the heat of SUP season, had only a two-week lead time when Sara Davies (the Scarlets Team Manager) asked us if we could help out.

With a background in successfully leading teams at major events such as the Olympic & Paralympic games, Julian Mainwaring (our Event Manager) set to work on a proposal with the outcome measured against the overall event success.

Via our consultative approach to events, we were able to tailor water activities to the Scarlets, and rather than just implementing a standard SUP session, we varied our approach with a competition that would keep players engaged, motivated, and hungry for success – just as they’d be on the rugby pitch.

Event Breakdown

We split 45 players into teams of five to compete for the Scarlets SUP CUP 2022 on Mega iSUPs. These were kindly provided by one of our fantastic event sponsors, Fanatic International.

The competition was accompanied by several activities such as SUP Technique, SUP Yoga, SUP Gauntlet, SUP Rugby Pass, and as always, SUP fun delivered safely.

And, of course, there was Mega iSUP Pumping too.

What is Mega iSUP Pumping, we hear you ask?

Mega iSUP Pumping

Could you work as a team to pump up a mega iSUP racing against other teams? would 20 minutes be sufficient for you? This is what was allocated to the Scarlets players who were all hands on deck to complete the pump as a team within an impressive 15 minutes.

Da iawn, boys.


SUP Technique

Before any other water activity could take place, each player had to learn the basics of Water & SUP Safety. Clinic sessions were delivered on and off the water by top professional coaches: Gareth Stevenson, Catherine Linnie Godden, Emily King, Leanne Bird, Michelle Lee, Tim Frampton and Sarah Marshall.


Special mention and thanks to SUP Coach Catherine Linnie Godden who helped everyone get on and off the water safely when any activity change was imminent.

Although your arms do get a workout while on an SUP, each stroke engages more than just your biceps. There are positive gains associated with deltoids, traps, pectoralis major, latissmus dorsi, supraspinatus, and your abdominal muscles

Paddleboarding when adopting to correct technique is surprisingly a good core workout.

SUP Yoga

After the SUP basics were learned, the players got working on individual coordination, balance, and mental wellbeing with a sprinkle of SUP Yoga led by fabulous Leanne Bird and Julia Kul, our SUP Yoga teachers.

Did you know SUP Yoga refines Yoga technique on land, strengthens new muscle groups, relieves stress, improves breathing techniques and drastically improves balance. 

Not only that, it gets you out in the fresh air, and let's you be surrounded by nature with soothing sounds of water and wildlife to help you relax.

SUP Gauntlet

More team collaboration here – for this activity, teams worked towards coordinating boards adjacent to each other, which permits one team player to walk/kneel the SUP Gauntlet across the boards, usually with a celebration to round it off. Only a great demonstration of team awareness, communication, and clear leadership could make this activity the success it was.

 SUP Rugby

Ever tried standing up on a paddleboard while casually throwing a rugby ball to your teammates? That's exactly what happened when Leigh Halfpenny, Samson Lee, Dafydd Hughes, and Josh Helps took to the SUP stage with extreme technique and major splashes to round off the move. Bendigedig!

Here's a cheeky video to show you what happened:-  

Special mention to Michelle Lee and Sarah Marshall who expertly manned the SUP Gauntlet and Rugby Pass station.

 Mega iSUP Racing

The Scarlets SUP CUP 2022 was built upon Mega SUP racing in x9 teams of x5. Ever seen Mega SUP Racing before? Here’s what it looks like…

Gareth Stevenson & Emily King were the SUP Coaches training and assisting on this SUP Station.


Scarlets SUP CUP 2022


The first day back for the players was intense with a fitness test, followed by three hours on the water participating in various activities inclusive of Mega iSUP pumping and racing.


A massive shout out to the amazing and delicious Motley Pie & Coffee Team, who catering for all participants and staff after the event.  

Thanks & Praise

SUP Wales would like to personally thank the Scarlets 1st Team, and coaching staff for such an entertaining day on and around the water.

We'd also like to applaud our brilliant SUP coaches, who maintained the highest of professionalism throughout the day.

A warm message of thanks is extended to Riley Sports Photography 


Finally, we'd like to thank our official event sponsors of  Fanatic SUP International and Get on the Water UK for bringing quality kit and expertise to use on the day.  


Upon reflection of the event, we thought it went well and the client was very happy with the outcome. 

Scarlets Team Manager Sara Davies said:

“We have put a big emphasis on going out and spending time in our local community during pre-season and Swiss Valley Reservoir was a stunning venue for what was a great afternoon of team bonding ahead of our opening fixtures. The players and staff had a fantastic time on the water and a big thanks to the team at SUP Wales for their expert tuition throughout the day.”


Would your team benefit from something similar? 

Are your involved in a sports club, or manage a team in work and wish to facilitate change by motivating your colleagues to work better together?


If that's the case, our competency SUP based events could be the solution you are looking for. We can easily cater for large groups, and can tailor the event via our consultative approach to meet your bespoke needs.

But don't just take our word for it - here's what past attendees of SUP events had to say:

  • “Great day stand-up paddle boarding. Had a great 2 hour led safe and fun session – The instructor was really friendly and informative and had us all standing paddle boarding within 10 minutes! People at the event were really friendly and we were all encouraging each other. Highly recommend SUP Wales.” (Kerry Loveluck, SUP Introductory Event)

  • “I have never done SUP or surfed before and our instructor was awesome! He was so helpful, knowledgable, encouraging and fun. Would definitely recommend him to anyone who is trying SUP for the first time. This is definitely a sport/hobby I want to continue to enjoy and get better at. What an experience! 5 stars.” (Valentine, SUP Introductory Event)

  • “We’re a couple of 50+ year olds who’d never tried SUP before, but had done a bit of kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing and sailing over the years. The instructors gave us a huge amount of practical advice and tips on technique, safety (including different water conditions such as rivers and open sea), buying/hiring equipment, and maintenance. I’d strongly recommend this course. It gives a really good grounding in proper technique, essential skills and safety which we would otherwise only have learned through months of trial and error, or perhaps never learned at all. We now feel confident enough to buy our own SUPs and continue to practice what we’ve learned, secure in the knowledge that we’ll be safe and doing everything correctly from the start. Thanks again for a really enjoyable experience - we hope to be back soon!” (David & Sarah Williams, SUP Introductory Event)


Would you like to enquiry and hear more about how we can help make your unforgettable event this year?

Then feel free to give us a call on 01792 360891 for a friendly conversation or send us a direct message by using