A weekend escape floats on placid Red River

By Lan Huong   May 29, 2021 | 11:38 pm PT
A weekend escape floats on placid Red River
Hanoians practice standup paddle boarding (SUP) water sport on the Red River, May 2021. Photo courtesy of Dieu Ky.
With tourist attractions and public parks closed amid the latest Covid-19 outbreak, young Hanoians are entertaining themselves with standup paddle boarding (SUP) on the Red River.

On Saturday, 22-year-old Dieu Ky and a group of her friends practiced SUP, starting from Bac Wharf in Tay Ho District to the Veterans Club in Long Bien District – a journey of about 10 kilometers. She started at 7 a.m. and paddled to her destination at noon.

It was the third time that Ky was engaging in this water sport, the earlier occasions happening on Hanoi's West Lake.

SUP is safe and enjoyable because riders wear a life jacket and the board is sturdy enough to sail while standing, sitting or even lying down. It is easy to jump off and get back on the board as well, she said.

In pandemic times, this sport has gained some popularity alongside running. At the end of the trip, Ky and her group members rested on a small island at the foot of Long Bien Bridge, having no contact with strangers.

Because she is not a professional SUP player, she chose the service offered by a club in Hanoi - VND650,000 ($28.22) for half day, including SUP rowing fees, food for camping, car service at two starting and ending points and travel insurance.

A tour guide accompanied the group to ensure safety.

Joining the journey, Bui Vinh, who was doing it for the first time, said he did not run into as many difficulties as he expected. Before starting out, a local instructor taught him how to use the board equipment, basic rowing techniques and handling situations like climbing back on the board after falling.

He was also required to wear a life jacket and have a rope connecting his legs to the SUP. In case he lost his balance and fell, the board would act as his buoy.

Vinh said SUP paddling in the calm waters of the Red River was easy and safe even for beginners, but it requires people to be healthy and ready to take risks because it is possible to lose one's balance and fall into the water.

Tran Trung Kien, head of Umove SUP Club in Hanoi, said players need to comply with the rules of paddling in shallow water where no boats are traveling in order to ensure safety.

SUP is a personal sport requiring each person to row their own board. Players should wear a standard life jacket and when there is an extra member on the SUP, the total player weight must be within the manufacturer's recommendations.

The Red River, over 1,100 km long, originates in China and flows through 26 localities in northern Vietnam including Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Phu Tho, Vinh Phuc and Hanoi. The river section that flows through Vietnam is about 510 km long.

Those wishing to try out SUP can visit 29 Nguyen Dinh Thi Street or 45 Ve Ho Street. Prices start from VND150,000-200,000 a day.

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