Downwind routes have been choice types of run for many a rider during breezy bouts (not just limited to SUP either) for some time. Any craft that can efficiently use the power of wind and combine with the energy of swell is ripe for a downwinder – SUP, outrigger, surf ski, windsurf, kitesurf and so on. Originally the discipline of those paddling coastal spots in recent times large lakes, lochs and other bodies of water not confined to the coast, where the wind’s fetch (area it blows over) is big enough, can be made use of from a downwind point of view. A newer take on the downwind concept is the downwstreamer…A type of run primed for anyone paddling on sheltered waters with flow – think river or stream with enough clearance for SUP fins.
In pretty much the same vein as downwinding paddlers indulging in downstreamers will utilise the path of least resistance and literally go with the flow. Not only is this more fun than battling headlong into a force of nature that you’ll never win against it’s also a less tiring way of SUPing. For anyone looking to cover longer distances this ‘helping hand’ will be most welcome.
As with downwinding prior planning and preparation is key to making a downstreamer work. Transport logistics, for instance, need to be in place. You’ll need a means of getting back from your exit point to where you initially put in. Or at the very least back home! If you’re a SUP group then shuttle running between point A and B can see multiple runs completed in one session.
Safety should be given appropriate attention. Paddling spots with flow may have additional obstacles such as weirs, lock gates and so on. It’s worth scoping the run and learning its nuances from land before getting on the downstream wagon. Different water levels will also deliver different speeds of flow and in some cases change the face of the spot considerably. Having an idea of these different moods is definitely a good idea.
Downwstream stand up paddling doesn’t need to super hardcore. Even a little bit of water movement, gently ferrying you along, can be fun enough. Plan accordingly, keep safety in mind and there’s no reason why this type of stand up paddling won’t become your new found passion.
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