Table of contents
1. Use a Leash
2. Wear a PFD
3. Check the Weather Forecast
4. Choose the Appropriate Location
5. Paddle with Others
6. Risk of Collision
7. Know Your Limits
Stand Up Paddle boards make most stretches of water or coastline your new playground‚ which is one of the great reasons to get into paddle boarding. Many people find this water sport thrilling, but it’s common for first-timers to be on the fence about trying it. After all, you may be wondering how safe the activity really is
Actually, stand up paddle boarding is generally considered a safe sport, anything that involves water can become inherently dangerous if safe practice isn’t followed. That's why it's important that you know the risks and assume a safety-conscious attitude when making decisions on the water, or even before you hit the water. Here we offer up some important advice and helpful suggestions so you can stay safe on the water!
Use a Leash
Paddle board is your personal flotation device that can float away from you in seconds. While the leash is a piece of safety equipment designed to keep you connected to your board at all times.
There’s nothing more frustrating than having to swim after your paddle board if you fall off. The leash will also help prevent your paddle board connecting with others in the surf. Thus, it is wise to use a leash to protect your own life and the lives of those around you.
Wear a PFD
Another important tool in stand up paddle board safety is a personal flotation device. It may seem like an inconvenience or you make think if you go without it once nothing will happen, but you just never know when something could happen.
Just like using a leash, wearing life vests or jackets are proven to save lives. An unexpected fall into the water can cause disorientation, so you don't know where the bottom of the water is or where you come to the surface. With a PFD you always float to the surface.
Check the Weather Forecast
Weather can change in the blink of an eye. It’s a safe practice to view the current weather forecast before going out on the water. If the wind is quite strong and the water is too choppy, you might find it difficult, especially if you are a beginner.
Getting caught in a thunderstorm can be extremely disorienting and dangerous. Therefore, if there are threats of storms, you’re probably better off postponing paddle boarding to another day. Added to this, fog is also a concern because if you get far from shore, you can lose your bearings. So if you're out in foggy conditions, make sure to stay close to shore.
Choose the Appropriate Location
One of the easiest ways to stay safe is to choose an appropriate paddling location. SUP boarding on a calm body of water like a lake, for example, presents different safety concerns to SUP boarding out on the ocean. Being honest with yourself about your capabilities goes a long way to making sure you take yourself and your SUP board into a safe, suitable environment. If you're a beginner or novice paddler, you’d better pick a location that's sheltered from both wind and waves.
Paddle with Others
Paddle boarding with a partner or in a group is always a good idea because it is more fun and much safer. You never know when a mishap will happen to you. A mishap, even if little, could be life-threatening. You always have some help if somebody else is there when this happens. If you don’t have any friends or family that like to go paddle boarding, try joining a local SUP group. If you do decide to head out for a solo ride let other people know, including when you expect to be back.
Risk of Collision
Look for signs of rocks, fallen trees, coral, or any other possible visible obstruction that could potentially be hazardous to a paddle boarder, these areas of water can be very dangerous. Paddling too close to the edge or between stones can not only cause you to hurt yourself if you fall, you can also cut the board against a sharp stone and cause it to leak.
The next biggest hazard for open water paddlers is busy waterways. Just like on the roads, there are some terrible drivers out there. Try to make yourself more visible by wearing bright colors. If paddling at night, you should have appropriate navigational lights with you so you can be seen.
Know Your Limits
Overestimating your abilities might be one of the most dangerous mistakes you can make on a paddle board. You need to stay safe while still getting the most out of the water by knowing your limits, this will help you to avoid serious injury.
Make sure you’ve got the basics of paddle boarding mastered before getting amongst others out on the water, and ask yourself: can you handle well in the water? As you become a more confident and capable stand up paddle boarder, you might find yourself wanting to take your paddling to more exposed water. Then you need to understand the dangers and risks involved with paddling further from shore, and ask yourself: can you handle this current or distance from the shore? knowing where those current limits are allows you to challenge those limits while staying safe.
We hope you took away some valuable paddle board safety pointers, as they will not only make paddle boarding more enjoyable for you but they could potentially save your or a friend’s life. By not forgetting that Mother Nature is always stronger and can emerge unexpectedly. Feel free to call or email us regarding any questions or guidance you need when looking for a stand- up paddle board.