In general, stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is a very accessible and safe activity. However, as it is practiced on the water, you must keep a safety-conscious attitude when getting ready for your SUP practice and during it. Here are some safety tips that will help you to enjoy a brilliant and safe paddle.
Make sure that you check weather conditions (wind, waves and tides, precipitation, and others) for the whole time when you are planning to be on the SUP board and take conscious decisions regarding where to go out paddling.
Take into account also that weather conditions can change rapidly and that weather forecasts might not be fully accurate. Therefore, do not doubt to change your plan if you experience weather conditions turning unfavorable during your paddle.
If you decide to enjoy SUP in a new location for the first time, ask the local lifeguards and other paddlers about the characteristics and potential risks of the environment and evaluate whether the location is suitable for your SUP skill level and condition. In particular the place for paddling should have minimal motorized traffic and plenty of easy access to get out on shore.
Make sure that you are taking your SUP leash and a good life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) with you. In addition, always carry a fully charged mobile phone in a water-proof case with you so that you can use it in case of emergency.
If you are using an inflatable SUP board, double-check that it is pumped to the correct pressure (Most boards need to be inflated between 18–25 PSI).
As far as the paddle is concerned, if you are using an adjustable one, make sure that it is assembled correctly and that the clamps hold solid.
Learn more about SUP equipment in a separate article on the Windy.app blog.
Make sure that it contains enough drinking water for the adventure, some energy snacks, sunblock, sunglasses, a safety whistle, a flashlight, some duct tape, and a puncture repair kit if you are using an inflatable board. It is also recommended to take with you a small first aid kit plus hats/gloves, spare clothes, and warm clothing if you are paddling in cold weather.
Try not to push yourself beyond your SUP experience and physical abilities. If you are paddling with a friend or a group of friends, plan your activity to meet the abilities of the least experienced paddler. It is also recommendable to let someone know your plans before you hit the water, even when you are not paddling alone.
Text: Ana “Shankara” Santos, a certified SUP, SUP Yoga and SUP Pilates instructor by the Spanish Federation of Surf (Fesurf Federación Española de Surf, FES) and the International Surfing Association (ISA) based on the Ibiza Island, Spain. She is a founder of Paddle Surf Spain and Sup YogaPilates. They provide a wide range of stand up paddle boarding activities from events and classes to holidays, camps and tours
Cover photo: Korobovaphoto / Unsplash