Although stand up paddle boarding is generally considered a safe sport, anything that involves water can become inherently dangerous if safe practice isn’t followed. Having a safety conscious mindset before you approach the board and hit the water is a good way to avoid potential dangers once you’re out there. There are a few ways to make your SUP boarding trips safer:
There are four main concerns to be aware of: wind, weather, water and waves. Novice boarders are better suited to sheltered locations that don’t see a lot of waves and wind, two of the trickiest elements to master when you’re just starting out. Likewise if you’re a more experienced rider, heading out onto the ocean presents a different set of potential obstacles such as motorised boats and natural hazards like sharp rocks and strong currents. 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.
Use a leash
The leash is a piece of safety equipment designed to keep you connected to your board at all times. An ankle strap attached to you and the board keeps you close even when you become physically separated. A leash is a definite must have when boarding in surf areas and out on the open ocean, but also very good to have when boarding in calmer conditions inland. Wind can appear even when it hasn’t been forecast and wind means waves, which in turn can lead to falls and board/rider separation. A leash keeps your potentially life saving SUP board nearby at all times.
Wear a flotation device or life jacket
Even if you’re a strong swimmer, if you’re heading out into more difficult conditions with your stand up paddle board it’s worth considering wearing a life jacket, or taking along a personal flotation device.
With a friend, and if you’re going alone, tell people
There are many benefits to stand up paddle boarding with a friend, not least the fact that if either of you get into difficulty, someone else is there to raise the alarm or help. It’s also, of course, way more fun! If you do decide to head out for a solo ride let other people know, including when you expect to be back.
Stand up paddle boarding is generally a very safe sport with few incidents and by following a few simple safety rules means a safer and more fun ride. Check out our SUP board collection and head out on the water in style this summer.