SUP Safety

Safety First! Whether you're a beginner or an experienced paddler, here are some safety tips to keep in mind when stand up paddleboarding.

Use the Appropriate Leash

A leash is a crucial piece of safety equipment that attaches you to your paddleboard. Our friends at British Canoeing have created a helpful infographic to explain when to use what kind of lease.

Wear A Buoyancy Aid

Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or experienced swimmer, it is strongly recommended that you have a primary form of flotation (your board) via the appropriate leash AND a secondary form of floatation in the form of a personal flotation device (PFD).

Buoyancy aids should have a snug fit, but not constrict your movement. Loosen belts, zip up the jacket, and then tighten to fit.

Choose one that still allows you plenty of movement so you can paddle freely. Not only will it keep you afloat, but it will also help give you time to recover should you fall in –and chances are you will!

Learn How to Fall Safely

Falling off your paddleboard is part of the experience, but it's important to know how to fall safely. Try to fall away from your board to avoid hitting it. To get back on:use the carry handle to push your chest up onto the board until you can reach the opposite rail. Then kick hard and pull yourself on.

Check The Weather Forecast

Avoid offshore winds (wind blowing from the land out to sea), as the wind will drive you out to sea and make it difficult to get back to shore. Pay close attention to wind reports and weather forecasts, and make the responsible decision of skipping paddle boarding for the day if the wind strength exceeds your experience.

As a guideline, beginner or inexperienced paddlers should never go out in an offshore wind or in winds exceeding 10mph.

Remember... if in doubt, don’t go out!

You should also be aware of the risk of cold water shock - where the sudden exposure of your head and body to cold water causes a number of involuntary body reactions.

Riptides are strong currents that can quickly drag you out to sea. You must try to avoid rip currents altogether. Ensure there is a lifeguard on duty at the beach you plan to go to and ask them how you can avoid riptides.

But if you are caught in a riptide, follow these steps:

  • - Take deep breaths and try to stay calm and do not panic
  • - Do NOT try to swim against the current or you will just get exhausted
  • - Swim parallel to the beach, and once free from the rip, swim to shore

If you see anyone in trouble, immediately notify a lifeguard or call 911(USA).

Know Your Limits

It's important to know your own abilities and not push yourself too hard. If you're a beginner, start in calm and shallow waters before progressing to more challenging conditions.

Be aware of other watercraft

Keep an eye out for other paddleboards, boats, kayaks, and swimmers when on the water. 

Stay Hydrated

Paddleboarding can be a strenuous activity, especially in warm weather. Make sure to bring plenty of water with you and take breaks when needed to stay hydrated.