The sun is out and you’ve decided you want to try your hand at stand up paddle boarding! Before you head out on the water with your SUP, check out these top 10 stand up paddle board safety tips.
1Stand up paddle board safety tip #1: Know your ability. Don’t go charging into the water without knowing your level of competency on a stand up paddle board! Sure, you want to get out there and start having fun, but make sure you’ve got the basics of paddle boarding mastered before getting amongst others out on the water. It is only being courteous to not place anyone in danger (including yourself) by you being in the water.
2Stand up paddle board safety tip #2: Learn to swim! Believe it or not, you WILL fall into the water whilst paddle boarding. If you cannot swim, you are putting both yourself and whoever has to come to your aid in danger. It doesn’t matter whether you’re out on the ocean or in 2 feet of water – you must be able to swim to be able to paddle board!
3Stand up paddle board safety tip #3: Wear a leash. If you are just starting out with paddle boarding (or you’re not a very strong swimmer), then a leash is essential. A leash connects you to the paddle board, so if you fall off the board will not float away from you. If you’re in the surf, then a leash is essential – as well as not losing your board, it can also help prevent your paddle board connecting with others in the surf.
4Stand up paddle board safety tip #4: Wear appropriate attire. It’s all well and good to jump on your paddle board wearing the latest in bikini fashion (girls, I’m talking to you!), but check the forecast first. Conditions can change in an instant on the water, and you do not want to be caught out in freezing conditions with only the skimpiest of clothing on. If it is very hot and sunny, consider wearing a rash vest and sunscreen to keep you protected from the suns harsh rays.
5Stand up paddle board safety tip #5: Wear a PFD/Life vest. Wearing a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) or life jacket is a must if you are going to be paddle boarding on fast moving rivers, but should be considered no matter where you are paddling if you are not confident in the water (or even if you are!).
6Stand up paddle board safety tip #6: Tell someone where you’re going. Make sure someone knows where you will be paddling, and how long you intend to be. Accidents can happen anywhere, so having someone to look out for you if you’re not back by a specified time is essential.
7Stand up paddle board safety tip #7: Paddle with others. Even though you might’ve let others know where you’re going, it is always safest to paddle board with other people. If anything should go wrong, there will always be someone else there to help out. If you don’t have any friends or family that like to go paddle boarding, try joining a local SUP group.
8Stand up paddle board safety tip #8: Never paddle further from shore than you are prepared to swim. If something happens that you end up losing your paddle board, you want to be sure you can swim back to shore safely and confidently.
9Stand up paddle board safety tip #9: Factor in wind conditions. It makes common sense to start your paddle boarding session by paddling against the wind, so that later on when you’re tired, you can paddle back to your start point with the wind. Also, be aware of offshore winds (blowing from land out to the water), as this can easily push you further away from the safety of land.
10Stand up paddle board safety tip #10: Carry a (waterproof) whistle. I know, it sounds dumb, but the pierce of a whistle caries much further than the sound of a human voice – if you do get in any trouble away from shore, you want to be found quickly, don’t you?
Paddle boarding is an excellent way to keep fit and healthy, and there is nothing like it for getting you outdoors and in amongst nature! By following these simple tips, you too can enjoy what a paddle board has to offer, without endangering yourself or others.