Answers to All Your Questions
Freebird Paddle Co.
Do I need to book in advance for a Freebird activity?
Our beach rentals are available on a first come, first serve basis on Railay West Beach, so no need to book for an hourly rental.
However, our lessons, classes, and night tour can book up quickly since we take a maximum number of people for each group (12 or less). We highly recommend booking about a week in advance to be assured a space. That said, as a travel destination, plans change and we occasionally get last minute cancellations, so it never hurts to swing by our shop to see if there are any openings!
I'm not a strong swimmer, can I still participate?
As a water sport company we encourage those who want to get wet and have fun. Life jackets are always available and are compulsory for those who can not swim, or are not comfortable in the water. We highly recommend a beginner lesson as your starting point, the lesson will give you supervised attention, and boost your confidence in and around the water. Finally, you are the best judge of your limitations and comfort zone, we provide all the resources for you to have a great time during our lessons and tours, but we ask that you take responsibility for taking the right precautions for yourself.
Do I need to be at a certain athletic level to train with Freebird SUP Co.?
Our rental, lesson, and tour activities are just that, active!
Lessons last roughly an hour and 15 minutes, the night tour lasts a little over two hours. Though there will be rest periods, you will be paddling, balancing, moving, jumping, swimming, and having a great time. Depending on wind and wave conditions, some days will be more of a workout than others.
You don't need to be an Olympian by any means, but you should feel confident that you can do an activity that lasts 1-2 hours.
We are traveling as a family, can our children participate?
We love our Freebird Babies! Here are some general guidelines to help you make the right choice for your family:
We recommend that children 4 - 8 years old ride on a parent/guardians board, wearing their own personal floatation device for rentals and tours. Typically, children older than 8 years old can control their own paddleboard and are keen for the adventure.
Please take into account that children may tire quickly after a full day of vacation activities, they may be prone to motion sickness, afraid of the dark, or more sensitive to the stimuli of this type of excursion in an unfamiliar environment.
You know your children, their abilities, their comfort zones, and attention spans better than anyone, ultimately during our courses you are responsible for your child and we count on you to make an informed decision on whether the activity will be right for your family.
Unfortunately, we can not accommodate for children under 4 years old.
Children must be 8 years old or over to participate in our Beginner SUP Lesson.
We recognize that every child is different and are happy to answer any questions you might have!
I am prone to motion sickness, will this be an issue on a paddleboard?
Let me answer this question with an example.
We have a friend who gets motion sick driving his own car - it's that bad. He has enjoyed SUP'ing a handful of times once, with no seasickness, the second time with some mild motion sickness, the third time he was literally green. The fourth, fifth and sixth time he took 1/2 of a motion sickness medication tablet and had no sickness what so ever.
If you are prone to motion sickness it is good to be prepared just in case, but don't worry, it is rarely an issue.
We are staying in Ao Nang, do you offer transfers?
We ask all of our guests to meet us on Railay.
It is a 15 minute boat ride and costs 100 thb per person one way from Ao Nang Beach. Trust us, Railay is worth at the very minimum a day trip! By meeting on Railay you are free to explore the peninsula, rather than waiting for and driving around in a pick-up van collecting other customers.
For guests that join us on the night tour we offer a transfer back to your hotel which includes the boat and taxi ride. The cost is 200 thb per person if your hotel is in Ao Nang, and starts at 300 thb per person if you are staying outside of Ao Nang.
What should I wear or bring SUP'ing?
As with any daytime activity in Thailand, you'll want to show up well hydrated. Be sure to wear sun protection! Sunscreen, a t-shirt or rashgaurd, hat, and sunglasses are all good ideas.
Please keep in mind that sunglasses, or prescription glasses can easily be lost in the water if they are not attached by a cord!
Everything you bring out on a paddleboard will likely get wet. We do provide dry bags on a first come, first serve basis. If you will be spending a lot of time on the beach during your holiday dry bags work great and you may want to purchase one during your stay.
GoPros and waterproof cameras are really fun to have on a SUP board, just keep in mind you'll want to have the proper floating device on them as they go straight to the bottom if you fall in.
We suggest being a minimalist - bring as little as possible and make some memories unencumbered by stuff and gadgets.
What happens if it rains?
If it rains, we get wet-er. Haha!
That said, we are constantly watching the weather. If wind and wave conditions become unsafe at any time we cancel our activities. We do our best to reschedule our guests, but if we cannot we offer a full refund.
What is Freebird Stand Up Paddleboard Co.'s cancellation policy?
We offer a full refund for bookings that are canceled more than 48 hours before the scheduled activity. For cancellations made 24 - 48 hours in advance of the activity we offer a 50% refund. We do not offer refunds for cancellations made less than 24 hours in advance, though we will do our best to re-schedule you. No shows, or guests that arrive after their group has left the beach will not be refunded or rescheduled.
For the safety of all our participants and staff, guests who arrive under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be allowed to join the activity, they will not be refunded or re-scheduled.
Thank you for your understanding!
What type of weather conditions would cause Freebird to cancel our activity?
Rain alone is usually not a problem. That's a good thing, since Thailand is so tropical it can rain at any time, often without warning, year round.
Our instructors, guides, and staff are really only concerned about wind and wave conditions. We can get wind and wave conditions that are entirely safe, and we have a variety of beaches and tour routes that we can use to avoid difficult conditions. But, we can also get conditions that will force us to cancel our activities. We will always do our best to work around conditions which may include later, or earlier, start times, or changing meeting points, trust us, we love to get out on the water too! The final call is always made by Man, our lead guide. He is an experienced boatman, fisherman, climber, jungleman, and an all around survivalist. All of his decisions are made with your safety and well-being above all else.
We are SO EXCITED to SUP! If you were me, what would you recommend?
SUP is so exciting!! It's currently the world's fastest growing sport. If you haven't noticed already, you'll start to see it popping up everywhere. We are one of the few SUP centers in Thailand, and in fact we are one of the few SUP centers in all of Asia!
If you ask us, Railay could not be a more perfect place to base yourself for the total SUP experience. We think our little "island" is a magical place that gets even better after dark. So I would book accomodation on Railay, or Ton Sai our neighboring beach.
Next I would book our beginner lesson followed by our Sunset Starlight Night Tour the next night. Occasionally people book both on the same day with no problem, personally I like to spread my paddleboarding out. You might want to wake up early on your departure day to grab an early rental or catch our SUP Yoga lesson if, like us, you get hooked on SUP.