Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) is an enjoyable water sport that has gained immense popularity in recent times. However, it is vital to prioritise safety above anything else during any adventure on water. It’s essential to be cautious and take necessary precautions before taking off on the board. It’s crucial to bear in mind that getting into the water without proper knowledge or technique can be very risky, and this makes taking a few points into account before setting out for a SUP adventure very important.
As a beginner, it is advisable to obtain the guidance of a qualified guide or instructor to teach you the basics. Ensuring that you have an appropriate sized life jacket, a durable and correctly sized board, and the correct type of leash to maintain contact with your board are mandatory. Lastly, taking time to master the proper techniques will enhance and guarantee you a more enjoyable, safer, and smoother SUP experience.
Here’s a basic SUP safety checklist to tick off prior to any paddle boarding session.
- All SUP equipment to be in good working order. Replace or repair any broken or worn parts well in advance of your planned paddle.
- A coiled leash, connected to a quick release belt, should be worn as standard. Know how to use the quick release mechanism.
- Wear additional buoyancy.
- If riding an inflatable SUP the board should have the correct air pressure inside (as per the information usually found next to the inflataion valve).
- Know the weather forecast and how that’ll have a bearing on your day’s paddling. Understand what an offshore wind means to you as a paddler for instance.
- Understand tides and how that’ll affect your paddling location if at the coast.
- Wear the correct SUP clothing. This can be a tad tricky sometimes so layers are often best as you can remove them when needed.
- Tell someone your plans. Ideally don’t paddle alone but always better to inform others of your movements.
- Have a back up plan.
- Carry a means of communication. Either mobile phone in a waterproof pouch of waterproof VHF.
- Scout your chosen paddling venue if you can. Know where your get outs are if needed.
- If in doubt don’t go out. It’s better to wait for a better window of opportunity if things are conspiring against you. Don’t take on conditions that are too full on.
As we said above this isn’t an extensive list. But hopefully from a SUP safety point of view, it’ll be a start point. If you need any more advice get in touch.