Paddleboarding is a fun activity for various age groups. But as many accidents that happen on the water, it can be potentially dangerous if proper precautions are not taken.
Here are a couple of essential paddle boarding tips for beginners that want to pick up paddleboarding to stay safe while on their SUP board.
1. Use an appropriate board for the intended activity.
Is paddle boarding hard? It could be if you choose the wrong paddleboard for yourself. There are various boards to choose from, but the most common are surf, all-around, touring, and racing boards. Of course, there are more specialized ones like yoga boards, which have increased stability.
The most common board among new paddlers, however, is the all-around inflatable paddle board. It has both - decant speed and excellent stability. The letter is of more importance to a beginner as you'll wobble on the board quite a bit at the start. That, of course, increases the chance of falls from the board. For the ladies, some SUP manufacturers offer women paddleboard which usually is more stable.
2. Practice in calm waters.
Learning how to paddle board is not hard for most people, but it could take some time. Don't go over your head and first get the hang of the basics of paddleboarding in standing waters. Get a feel for your board and perfect your paddling technique. After that, you'll be able to take on more challenging conditions.
3. Use safety gear.
Safety on a SUP board shouldn't be taken lightly even if you've learned how to paddle board expertly. There have been multiple cases where people have paid the highest price. And those sadly include not just beginners but also professional paddlers.
There are two things everyone should use.
The first one is a PFD (personal floating device), and the second is a SUP leash. While with PFD choice, there shouldn't be much confusion, then leashes, on the other hand, could cause a headache.
They can be attached to the waist, calf, or ankle. But each type has its use and preferred attachment point. It may sound complicated at first, but in reality, it isn't.
Take a look at this infographic. It shows the most common leash usage and attachment points.
Do remember, though, that the only thing worse than no leash would be the use of the wrong SUP leash for a specific activity. It could even prove to be dangerous.
For example, you wouldn't want to use a coiled leash for surfing due to its spring-back effect. Getting hit by your own board would not be a pleasant experience.
4. Use proper apparel for current weather.
While in summer, it's not that hard to pick suitable clothing, then in colder weather, it will be a tad harder.
Yes, it's possible to paddle all year long, but beginners should avoid such conditions. As firstly, it would be an additional investment in proper clothing like a wetsuit or drysuit for even colder weather. And secondly, lower water temperature is a danger to your health on its own.
Also, don't forget your feet. While in cold weather, shoes are mandatory. Then in summer, they are optional. But they have their use even then. If the water is shallow and too muddy to see the bottom, get a pair of water sports shoes. They will protect your feet from sharp rocks and other objects.