If you learnt to SUP during 2020, and were only dipping a blade at inland, non-tidal water locations, you may be considering your first sea, tidal stretch sojourn. On the right day, there’s nothing to be overly concerned about. Some tidal venues can be super safe – sometimes more so than inland waters. That said there are still a few things to keep in mind for your first sea SUP outing.
This is probably the biggest consideration as open sea put ins all have tidal influence. If you’re heading to the coast then know the tide times of your chosen spot and have some idea of how this impacts teh area. Some beaches, for instance, disappear at high water where as other reveal nasty rocky reefs at low ready to puncture boards and skin. That first sea SUP session should be in a more popular paddle board location – rather than completely off the grid – as this way you know it’s waters that have been trod (or paddled) before. If in doubt ask whether it’s a safe SUP location. There are plenty of knowledgeable types willing to answer in social media groups. For anyone with questions on the day approaching a lifeguard (if patrolling) will deliver you useful info. Alternatively fellow paddlers. Ultimately, if in doubt, don’t go out.
Weather at the coast can sometimes change in a matter of minutes. Having an up to date forecast for the day ahead is wise. Then being able to interpret this info for your chosen sea venue is next. Wind, for instance, can be a prohibiting factor for getting afloat. With breeze blowing hard onto the beach it’ll usually be a no go. Too much chop and surf will do their best to knock you off your board. But it’s offshore winds that are arguably more dangerous. If gusts are puffing off the beach and out to see then you’ll likely be going in the same direction – especially if it’s out to sea. Don’t underestimate paddling back to shore in even the slightest of headwinds. It’ll be hard work at best with you potentially needing emergency assistance.
We mentioned chop and waves above but often at tidal, open sea put ins you’ll be confronted with surf. SUP surfing can be super fun, for those who have skills. For paddlers without experience waves can be a nightmare, however. Research your location properly and know whether it’s a surfing spot. Some beaches may have waves at certain times of year where others are noted for swell consistency. If you’re aiming to learn how to SUP surf then make sure the waves you’re likely to find will be beginner friendly. As with all this stuff there’s plenty of info available online or ask the question.
If you’re heading to teh coast to SUP in the next few weeks then there’s no doubt it can be done safely. Learn the above and don’t take unnecessary risks. This way you should have a great time!
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