THE owner of a paddle-boarding centre in the middle of Taunton said he made the river his office as he launched his business after struggling with his mental health.

Snappy Sups, run by Jason Jenkins and his son Bailey, is celebrating its first year on Taunton Riverside Place in the Independent Quarter, near the River Tone.

Jason said paddle-boarding was the “most comforting activity” while he was struggling and now, he is encouraging people to join the Snappy Sups activities as a way of sharing experiences and building up confidence while learning new skills.

Jason said he was brought up fearing water and was not able to swim until he was 23.

He learned as he really wanted to surf and had to know how to swim to do so and now, he said, he has made the river his office.

He said: “We have been here with the shop for a year. We kind of started the year before out of a van doing paddle-boarding lessons.

“We do our lessons, group or one-to-one, on the river and we try to develop our customers’ skills.

“I started doing this after I struggled with mental health. Snappy Sups is a positive conclusion of making a living out of the thing I found most comforting doing when I was struggling.”

Snappy Sups’ lessons are held on the river in the Firepool area and French Weir.

Jason said: “The river out there is the best training ground you will come across.

“People say, ‘you should do it on the coast’, but they are already doing it there and the sea is so over-changing. Here in Taunton, it’s constantly smooth.

“The river is the best asset of this town.”

Jason said that his 90-minute lessons can also make confident someone who has never tried paddle-boarding before.

He also teaches his customers safety skills during his lessons.

He added: “If you don’t have the skills, paddle-boarding can be a dangerous sport.

“People go to buy a paddle board and go to the beach. Boards should come with lessons.”

Attached to the Snappy Sup there's the Snappy Shack, run by the same owners, where you can pick up a coffee, protein shake or toastie.

Jason said feedback from his customers, as well as reviews on Facebook and Google, have all been positive and now he is hoping to increase the footfall.

He said: “If we can get to people, the shop will be the first thing to go, and we will have to move online or go mobile. But I would like to keep the premises.”