Paddle boarding has become a popular sport now and a lot of people are doing it. What’s great about paddle boarding is that you can have fun no matter if you are going solo or with family and friends. For safety concerns, most people would choose to go in groups. Going paddling alone is ok but safety precautions must be taken to ensure your own safety.
There will be times when you are not able to find a friend or a family member to go with you. So knowing how to prepare for paddle boarding and ensure your own safety when you are out on the water with your paddle board is important. Below is what you should and should not do when going paddle boarding alone.
Paddle Boarding Safety Tips
- Notify someone of your trip
Here in this post, we will only be talking about day trips which usually last for a few hours. Even if you will only be paddling for a few hours, you should let somebody know where you are going and how long you will be gone. If something goes wrong during your trip and you are somehow trapped somewhere, this will give them the best chance at finding you. Also, when informing someone where you are going, remember to tell them when you will be back. Let them know you are okay by giving them a message at certain time points.
It’s important that you choose someone you can trust because if something bad happens, like when they don’t hear from you by the agreed upon time, you’ll need them to report you missing.
- Don’t be overconfident
Don’t do anything that’s beyond your paddling ability when you are out on the water with no company. And if you are a beginner and haven’t been paddling a lot, just don't go by yourself.
If you are going on a rather long trip, make sure you have the strength to make your way back. And pay more attention to the wind direction. Preserve your energy during your first half of the trip if you will be going against the wind on your way back. Don’t be overconfident about your endurance level.
And don’t take any chances. Avoid shallow rivers with fast currents or sharp rocks at the bottom. If you insist in going, wear a helmet or something else to protect yourself from getting hurt. Also, PFD(personal flotation device) is always a must.
- Do your research
Before heading out to your destination, doing your homework and studying the place is important. You should make sure you know every bit of necessary information about the place you are going. For example, check the weather to see if it’s going to rain and learn the wind direction and tides and be prepared for them. The weather would affect your SUP experience greatly and can put you in danger if you don’t know enough. So always check the weather first before actually going out.
- Learn necessary self-rescue skills
Going paddleboarding by yourself means you might not have help when you are in a dangerous situation. So it’s necessary to learn some skills that can help you when you are in such situations. For example, if you haven’t practiced getting back on your paddle board after falling off, maybe you should consider practicing it more before going solo. Being able to get back on the board as fast as you can is important in a lot of situations, like when you go whitewater paddle boarding.
Things you might need in a solo SUP trip:
- Food and water
- Change of clothes
- First aid kit
- A SUP leash
- Repair kit for your inflatable SUP board
- A map of the area
- A whistle
And a personal flotation device(PFD) is a must at all times.
If you take all the safety precautions and know how to properly take good care of yourself when out on the water with no company, then all that’s left to do is enjoy yourself. There are a lot of wonderful places that are great destinations for paddling solo, like lakes or rivers. There are a lot of wonderful lakes to paddle board in the U.S. Paddle boarding and exploring a new place alone is a totally different experience than paddling with the company of friends and family. So if you have the time, it’s always worth giving it a shot.