Stand-up paddle boarding is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to get out on the water. It can increase overall fitness, especially core body strength, and allows you to enjoy the local scenery at the same time. However, like any other activity based on the water, it is important to know some basic safety tips in order to keep you out of danger. Here are some useful hints and tips on SUP safety to help you get the most out of your paddle board.
The More The Merrier
Paddle boarding is a great sport to enjoy with a friend or two, and going out on the water together means that you will be there to help each other out if any difficulties should arise. This is particularly important if you are a novice, or new to the surrounding area, but even experienced users can benefit from teaming up. If there is no one that you know to join you, then do some research to see if there are any local groups that you can join.
Keep Communications Open
When considering paddle board safety, never forget to fill someone in on the details beforehand, such as where you are going and roughly for how long. It is also vital that you have a method of communication with you during your time out at sea. A mobile phone is perfect for this, as well as doubling up as a camera to capture those all-important photos. The Red Original deck bag is ideal for keeping items such as phones, a change of clothes and perhaps something to snack on close by and safe while paddle boarding. If you’d rather travel light, then our dry pouch is perfect for keeping small items safe and dry while out on the water.
When using a SUP board safely, having the right gear can make all the difference. A simple yet useful tool is a leash that connects you to your board, as it can be infuriating, and sometimes difficult, to swim after a board that is floating away in the opposite direction. Whether you do or don’t use a leash, you need to have something that helps you if you fall in the water. Wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) will help keep you afloat for as long as necessary, which is even more vital if you become separated from your paddle board. Check out the Red Original Airbelt Personal Flotation Device, which combines a water-resistant storage pocket with a buoyancy aid in a device that maximises both safety and comfort. For more information on SUP accessories that can help to keep you safe while out on the water, check out the Red Original paddle boarding gear guide.
Tune In To The Weather Forecast
Be sure to check out the local weather forecast and tide times to gauge the conditions before you head out, as there is nothing worse than getting to the beach to find rough and choppy conditions that make paddle boarding difficult, or even impossible. Remember, conditions can change quickly, so if the weather is predicted to take a turn for the worse, don’t risk it. If conditions are set to be glorious all day that’s ideal but don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun and wind with plenty of sun cream and protective clothing. Wetsuits tend to be the best option but they become too uncomfortable as the weather gets hotter conditions. If this is the case, then multiple easy-to-remove layers also offer protection with the flexibility to add or remove as necessary. Some clothes, such as the Red Original short sleeve performance tee and long sleeve performance tops, are actually made using materials with a UPF rating of up to 50+, so there is no need to worry about layers, overheating, or getting sunburned.
Beware Of Offshore Winds
Whether you are a beginner or professional, one of the biggest dangers of paddle boarding is to be caught out by offshore winds. They can quickly send you far out to sea, and it becomes increasingly difficult to get back to shore. This is also the same for strong water currents, which are even harder to spot. The best practice for paddle board safety is to check with someone, such as a lifeguard or local water user, about the conditions of the area and possible places to avoid. You can sometimes find information boards on the beaches too, so be sure to check these out. If you notice a change in the conditions or are finding it harder to paddle, then try to head back to the shore as soon as possible. Unfortunately, high offshore winds and strong currents are not always predictable and can take even the most diligent paddle boarder by surprised. The risk of coming off your board is significantly higher under these conditions, so it’s always a good idea to use a SUP Leash in case things go wrong.