Paddle boarding can be dangerous, especially if safe practice is not followed. Things such as having a board without a leash, not checking for rocks, seaweed, and other hazards before paddling out, going out in bad weather, not using a life jacket can make the otherwise safe sport very dangerous.
This post explores some of the dangers of paddle boarding and how you can easily prevent them and stay safe, as enjoy the sport.
11 Tips to Stay Safe SUPing
1. Master the basics like swimming and using a paddle
Mastering the paddle boarding basics is a must, especially when going out in the water. This includes being able to swim and have basic control over your board.
These are things you can practice at home or in a pool before taking it out onto the water to make sure you are confident and comfortable using your board.
2. Beware of the weather conditions
This is the first thing you should check before going out on the water. Ensure that you know what to do and avoid bad weather (storms, lightning, etc.).
Strong currents should always be avoided, even if you are an experienced paddler. As a beginner, you need to be very careful about what currents can do.
Strong and unpredictable currents pose a danger as they may pull the board into deep water or seaweed, which could cause injury if it gets tangled in your paddle board’s leg rope. Low tide can also come with huge waves, so you want to be careful when the tide is coming in.
3. Always wear a life jacket
Do not risk your life by going out on the water without a life jacket. The reason is simple; even if you are an experienced paddler and have been doing this for years, bad things can happen at any time that require you to need help from other people or yourself.
It doesn’t matter how well you can swim. If you accidentally fall off your paddle board and, say, you hit your head on a rock, it could be very difficult for you to recover from the injury and get back onto the board.
A life jacket will keep your head above water so that you always stay safe and let others come over and rescue you.
4. Use your leash
The leash is the only thing you have to keep your board from drifting away or into deep water. Always wear a leash when going out on the paddle board and make sure it is connected properly with strong knots so that if anything happens, you can hold onto this strap for safety.
5. Make sure your board is in good shape
Before going out to the water, check your paddle board for any cracks or holes. These can cause the board to break and collapse during your time out on the water, leading you to drown in deep water if this happens while you are far from shore.
You also need to use the right equipment and make sure they fit you properly. The wrong size life jacket or paddle board could be very uncomfortable and potentially dangerous if you do not fit into it properly.
Paddle boarding requires a lot of effort and energy, so make sure that your body is in good shape for this activity by exercising regularly before going out on the water to enjoy yourself without any problems.
6. Know how to use all equipment properly (especially rescuing techniques)
Make sure you know how to get back onto the board after falling off (which can happen quite easily). If things go south while out on the water, rescue yourself will help keep everything safe.
Get in some practice at home with a friend who has experience SUPing first just so that you have an idea of what needs to happen.
It’s also important to note that you need to know how to paddle board in different conditions such as strong currents, windy weather (which is common during the summer), and waves (if you plan on going out even further than normal).
Knowing these things will help keep safety at the forefront of your mind while enjoying yourself out on the water.
7. Check around for rocks and other objects before paddling away from the shoreline
It’s always better to check for anything hazardous, such as rocks, other boats, etc. This is especially helpful if you are a beginner.
You might want to ask more experienced paddlers about the safest places to go on the water or where to find some good waves.
8. Paddle Board with a buddy
The best way is to paddle board with someone else who can help in case of an emergency. It’s always smart to go out with at least one other person for safety reasons. In case of a strong current, you can paddle with two people together to be safer.
If you slip off the board, your friend can help you get back on the board or vice versa.
9. Stay in touch with your surroundings by looking around and keeping an eye out for dangers
One of the best ways to stay safe is to be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially if you are a beginner who does not know what to expect from certain conditions. Ask more experienced paddlers about the conditions and if they think it’s safe to go out on your own.
If you decide to paddle board alone, make sure that there are other people around or a boat so that in case of an emergency, help is just nearby.
10. Listen to your body
If you feel tired when going for a SUP session, it might be better not to push yourself too hard because this could lead to accidents later in life. Keep in mind that paddling requires physical effort so ensure that you don’t overdo things before a session.
11. You should always know where safety boats are located
It helps to be aware of where any other boats (especially ones looking out for you) might be located. This way, if anything goes wrong or someone falls into the water, help is just nearby and can come to your aid quickly before things get worse.
Paddle boarding can be dangerous, but with these tips, it should be much easier to stay safe while having fun out on the water.