9 Safety Tips to Remember When SUPingOctober 18, 2016
Before you go out for SUPing there are 9 tips to prepare yourself for safety.
With the sun shining bright, it’s definitely time to try out standup paddle boarding, whether on the pond, lake, ocean, or canal. The possibilities for standup paddle boarding truly are endless, which means that it offers tons of fun, but also has the potential to be dangerous. This is why safety should be your top priority. Before you hit the water, check out the following 9 SUP safety tips.
9 Safety Tips to Remember When SUPing
1. Keep your ability in mind.
Of course, your goal is to get out there and start having fun, but if you are new to paddle boarding (or have only been doing it for a short period of time), it is crucial that you master the basics of paddle boarding before you go any further. Keep in mind that not only are you keeping yourself save, but also any others who may be in the water.
2. Wear a leash.
A leash connects you to the paddle board to ensure that the board doesn’t float away if you fall off. If you are new to the sport or aren’t a particularly strong swimmer, a leash is an absolute must. It’ll keep you from losing your board, as well as prevent your board from hitting others in the water.
3. Wear the right clothes.
You should always check the forecast before hitting the water to ensure you are properly attired. Yes, you may look great in a bikini, but that won’t keep you from freezing on a frigid day. On the other hand, you should make sure to put on sunscreen when paddle boarding on a sunny day.
4. Check on the wind conditions.
It’s best to begin your paddle boarding session by paddling against the wind. This way, when you get tired, you can paddle back to your starting point using the wind. Keep in mind that offshore winds have the potential to quickly push you further away from land.
5. Make sure someone knows where you are.
Accidents are a part of life, so having someone to look out for you is always a good idea. Let them know where you’ll be paddling, as well as what time you should be back. If you’re not back by a certain time, they can start looking for you.
6. In fact, try to always go out with someone else.
The safest way to paddle board is with someone else. This way if anything goes wrong, they will be right there to help you. If you don’t know anyone who is interested in paddle boarding, look for a local SUP group to go out with.
7. Wear a life vest/ personal flotation device (PFD).
This is particularly important if you aren’t an experienced swimmer or will be paddling in fast moving waters.
8. Never go further from shore than you can swim.
If you lose your paddle board, you’ll want to be confident you can safely make it back to shore.
9. Invest in a waterproof whistle.
A whistle can carry much further than the human voice. With a waterproof whistle, you increase the chances of someone hearing you if you end up in trouble away from shore.
Now, let’s take a minute and look at safety broken down into three segments: surf, river, and touring.
– Always wear a leash. They are ideal for getting you out of dangerous surf zones.
– Always wear a suit. A high quality wetsuit is perfect for maintaining your core body temperature, which is especially important in cold water. Hypothermia can set in quickly.
– Apply sunscreen or a rash guard. Sunburn can occur in as little as 15 minutes, depending on the climate you are in. Waterproof SPF 30-50 is ideal.
– Be courteous and humble. Be aware of your skill level and try to surf in zones that are either designated for standup paddling or head out to a lesser-known spot.
River SUP (Whitewater SUP):
– Again, know your ability level. If you are new, opt for slow-moving stretches of water.
– Wear a PFD and other protective gear. For example, if you are paddling rapids, opt for shin and kneepads to protect yourself in case of a fall.
– Dress appropriately. If the water is cold, protect yourself from developing hypothermia by wearing a high quality wetsuit or dry suit.
– Use a quick-release. Using a leash on the river has always been a bit controversial. If you do use a leash, which should always be coiled, be sure to use it with a quick-release belt. The leash attaches to a metal O-ring with the belt releasable at the waist in an emergency.
– Paddle with a partner. Regardless of where you are, it is always safer to paddle with someone.
– Know your limits. More importantly, adhere to them.
– Paddle with a friend. Not only is it safer to paddle in pairs (or small groups), but it also tends to be more fun.
– Use a PDF. It’s a good idea to check with locals about Coast Guard rules and regulations, as well as local policies regarding paddling devices and life jackets.
– Be aware of the weather. Weather can change in a matter of minutes. Don’t be ashamed to carry a SPOT device or some other form of communication that allows you to get weather updates.
Paddle boarding is fun, a great way to stay hit and healthy, and a unique way to enjoy the great outdoors. However, it’s also important to be safe. Use the tips above to ensure the a safe paddle boarding session.