Pinc & Steel

Cancer Rehabilitation Trust



PaddleOn is a stand up paddle (SUP) rehabilitation program, for men and women recovering from all types of cancer.  Delivered over 5-weeks by certified Pinc or Steel cancer rehabilitation physiotherapists, PaddleOn has been specifically designed to introduce the components of stand up paddling in a safe, fun small group environment.

It is divided into 8 modules to improve balance, core strength, posture, upper body strength, flexibility and fitness. 

Participants need to have completed primary cancer treatment (surgery/chemotherapy/radiotherapy) before starting the program. A support person is also able to join you on the program. 

To take part:

  • Register with your local Pinc or Steel Cancer Rehabilitation Physio, who may need to conduct an assessment screen to make sure your strength, balance and overall health is sufficient to safely take part on the program.
  • After screening you will attend two scheduled on-water sessions with a Physio and SUP Instructor every week for 4 weeks, with the last session being an adventure paddle that gives you a chance to explore a different location, and introduce your family or friends to SUP.  Allow five weeks to complete the program in case of poor weather.


  • The program cost is subsidised by the PINC & STEEL Cancer Rehabilitation Trust, the assessment screen is fully funded and there is and $5 surcharge for each module, making the total cost to participants only $40 for the whole program.  
  • A support person can join you for a cost of $20 per lesson. 
  • If you want to help a friend or family member attend the program you can  BUY A PADDLEON Voucher 
  • Starboard SUP boards, paddles, leashes and lifejackets are provided.

Regain strength and fitness - Improve balance - Boost confidence - Learn to stand up paddle

PaddleOn programs are running from November to March in Auckland City, North Shore, Orewa, Warkworth, Napier, Taupo,  Rotorua and Whangarei.

“An increasing amount of research is indicating that exercise is beneficial in recovery from cancer surgery and treatment.  For many it is also a valuable way of managing fatigue and long-term health goals.” - Lou James, Pinc and Steel Founder

In 2015 the Pinc and Steel Cancer Rehabilitation Trust carried out a Pilot Study to evaluate the health and psychological outcomes of the PaddleOn Program, with a group of women who had undergone treatment for breast cancer.

Overall, the participants reported improvement in a range of quality of life measures including those relating to fatigue, mood and memory, and improvements in body and general confidence, strength and balance.

PaddleOn SUP Program Evaluation Report : Read the full report here


Who can do it?

Men and women of all ages, who have undergone treatment for any type of cancer, and who have finished primary cancer treatments*.  

All participants are required to first undergo a free medical screen by their PINC or STEEL physiotherapist to determine whether their strength, balance and overall health is sufficient to safely take part in the programme.

What if I have metastatic or secondary cancer?

Please see your Pinc and Steel physio, they will be able to assess on an individual basis if the program is suitable for you.

When can I do it?

The 5-Week Programs are running from November to March.  Each program is eight modules, so you will be paddling two mornings a week.

You need to have completed your primary cancer treatment (surgery/chemotherapy/radiotherapy) before starting the program.

How do I sign-up?

Click on the register button at the top of the page to be directed to your local Pinc and Steel Physio for an initial assessment screen.


“When I have a paddle session before work I have more energy and a much more positive feel for the day. I also seem to have a real confident buzz from it as I constantly surprise myself that I can do something I thought was too hard for me. I loved being out on the water early and enjoying the sunrise and peace at that time.”

“I felt a sense of safety and understanding amongst the group that was really reassuring and something that is hard to find post treatment.”

“My fitness and confidence have definitely improved..... When you are out on the water all cares disappear and it starts your day incredibly.”

“Being on the water at 7:15am was magical. Plus the guidance of trained instructors and meeting the other ladies and getting to know each other. I feel way more confident now and I'm keen to continue paddle boarding as a form of exercise.”

“I loved being on the water and getting to know other woman who have experienced breast cancer. I felt relaxed and free on the water. Was a great way to start my day.”

“It was a WONDERFUL course and experience. I'm grateful to have been a part of it and I think it's a great course to be offering to survivors of cancer. I loved that we learned a new technique each felt like we were truly advancing in the skill and not just getting on a board and paddling. The course was well designed......thank you xxxx”


Why stand up paddle boarding (SUP)? 

Firstly, it’s a fun outdoor activity, well-suited to the beautiful beaches and lakes we have in New Zealand.   Secondly, when done properly it is a great workout for the whole body but particularly the upper body and core, which are the areas most in need of rehab after breast cancer.  SUP is also a great social activity, which we hope you will continue to enjoy after this program.

Do I have to be a good swimmer?  No.  You need to be able to float and feel comfortable in and around the water, but you will be wearing a safety vest and will have a physiotherapist and SUP instructor with you. 

How do I know if SUP is right for me?  You will have a screening session with a physiotherapist who will check that your strength, flexibility and balance are good enough to start the course. 

What information will be collected?  You will have an assessment with a physiotherapist at the start and finish of the course which will include strength, flexibility and balance.  There will be a questionnaire to complete at the start and finish and 6 months later, which will include questions about your activities and general health.  

How long will the assessments and questionnaires take?  The assessment with the physiotherapist will take between 20 and 30 minutes.  

What do I need to bring?   Only comfortable clothes to exercise in, a towel, water bottle and snack food.  All SUP gear, including board, paddle, leash and safety vest, will be provided.  In the very rare possibility that you get wet, it is advisable to bring some extra clothes to change into.

What about the weather?  We have allowed 2 extra weeks in case a session is postponed because of weather.  Some sessions can be done indoors if needed.  Your physiotherapist will contact you if there is a change to the scheduled program. 

What does it cost? The 5 week program is subsidised thanks to funds raised by the Starboard Paddle For Hope community events and the Pinc & Steel Cancer Rehabilitation Trust.  There assessment screen is fully funded which you need to do with your PINC or STEEL physio before the program.  There is $5 surcharge for each lesson.  

Who can I contact for more information?  Your local PINC & STEEL physiotherapist can answer questions about your health and involvement in the program. 

Please feel free to share this information with your GP or breast physician if you discuss PaddleOn with them.  We would be happy to answer their questions too.