Table of contents1. How to paddle in offshore wind.
2. Tips for paddling in the ocean.
3. Safety tips for paddlin on the sea.
Summer is just around the corner, more and more people will be heading to the coast for recreational activities.
If your plan involves paddling on the sea, you should know the potential dangers of the open sea. Riptides, cold water and weather conditions and even sea creatures can pose a threat to your safety.
A potential danger that can easily catch you off guard when you’re out paddling on the sea is the wind. As you get further out off the shoreline, the winds can pick up and take you out to the sea very quickly. If you want to avoid offshore wind, cliffs and sand dunes can provide shelter from offshore winds along the shoreline.
A little bit of preparation can help prevent some common incidents. So before you go out, there are a few things you should know.
- Paddle in a lifeguarded beach
- Check the weather forecast for wind direction and strength
- Take some time at the venue to understand what the wind is doing
- Stay close to shore
- Wear something appropriate and a buoyancy aid
- Wear a leash
- Bring someone to accompany you
- Bring your phone or other means of communication in case of trouble. Call 999 or 112 if you are in the UK
Other tips for paddling on the ocean
1. Know your paddle board
Paddle boarding in the ocean is a little bit tricker than doing so in calm waters. So before you head for the beach, you should familiarize yourself with some basic paddling skills. Know how to get on and off your board in the water, how to ride a bigger wave coming in, and how your SUP board works.
If you are just starting to learn how to paddle board, we would suggest that you take a class before actually getting out on the water. Since paddle boarding is popular now, you can easily find a SUP class that teaches you the basics of paddle boarding and gets you ready for paddling in the ocean.
2. Check the tides and current
The current and tides are the factors that get overlooked all the time. But they can actually affect your paddling experience greatly. The tide refers to the way the water goes up and down and the current means the way the water moves left to right. They are what make paddling in the ocean trickier than in calm waters.
For a beginner, the less current the better. So if you are a beginner, you might want to try to paddle when the currents aren’t too strong. To learn more about the current and tides of the destination you are going, there are a lot of apps that provide you with such information. But you can also check your surroundings. There might be warning flags on days where the current is stronger.
You might be familiar with high tide and low tides, but you might not know much about anything related to the ocean’s tides. You don’t have to be an expert in understanding the tides in order to have an enjoyable paddling session, but it would be better if you know the ideal conditions to paddle in.
Generally speaking, paddle boarding during slack tides are the best for beginners. These tides are present within two hours after both high and low tides where the water is a lot more calmer and consistent. You can find a lot of different tide checker apps to help you find when slack tides will be.
3. Find a good launching point
If you’ve got the right board and the paddling condition is good, the next thing for you to do is to find the perfect spot to launch your board and start your paddling session. There are two things you should take into consideration when doing so.
A. Away from hazards
A good launching point should be clear of any potential hazards. Check the surroundings of the entry point you pick and make sure there’s no rocks, debris, piers or other boards that would get in your way when you are trying to launch your board.
B. Away from the crowd
For a beginner, it’s better to paddle with a group because you can have someone look after you and help you when you are in trouble. But it’s suggested you launch your board from a spot that’s away enough from others that you won’t land on other people or their boards when you fall off.
C. Use the leash
You will probably fall in at some point during your paddling session, and you don’t want to see your board drifting away when it actually happen. So be sure to put the leash on.
4. Get through the surf
After finding the perfect launch point, it’s time for you to get on the board and start paddling. You can start in many different ways, but if you are not very confident about your balance, you might want to consider staying on your hands and knees to get through the surf before standing up. Balancing with waves breaking at every turn is not easy, especially for a beginner. So stay down, get through it, and then you’ll be in the clear. There will still be waves ahead, but it will be better past the surf.
Ocean paddling safety tips
Paddling in the ocean can be a lot of fun, but that doesn’t mean you can let your guard down. You should take safety precautions to avoid accident.
A. Check conditions
As is mentioned earlier, you need to be aware of the water conditions of your destination before you set off. Getting out in conditions that aren’t ideal will massively increase the odds of danger in your SUP session. So, remember to check and make sure the conditions are good for paddle boarding before actually going out.
B. Wear the leash
This is mentioned before, put on the leash to stay connected with your board.
C. Wear a buoyancy aid
No matter what you do on the water, you should always wear a life jacket, even if you are a good swimmer. It’s not safe getting out on the water without a buoyancy aid.
D. Use sunscreen
Remember to use sunscreen or other measures for skin protection, or else you’ll be risking sunburn.
E. Paddle with company
If possible, always bring someone with you to your SUP session so that you two can watch out for each other and keep each other safe. Besides, paddleboarding is a sport that’s more fun with company.
You can never be too careful when planning a paddling session on the sea. Be sure you know how to deal with offshore winds so that you won’t be caught off guard. Also, there are other things you should know to keep yourself safe. The ocean can be dangerous if you are not familiar with it. Respect the water and be prepared.