Due to the fact paddle boarding is low-impact, it is a relatively safe sport. This doesn’t mean that injuries and accidents can’t happen. Wherever you choose to SUP, aside from making sure you have fun, you should make sure that you and your group are safe. SUP can take us in all types of water, including rivers, the sea, lakes, ponds or canals, meaning that the type of potential accident is endless.
If you’re paddling in the sea, wait for the waves to die down before you hop on your board. It’s also good practice to carry the board at your side, rather than in front or behind you. You can imagine what would happen if you carry your board in front of you and a big wave were to come. It’s never a wise idea to underestimate the power of moving water.
Try to be aware of surf zones and stay within specific SUP areas if possible. On a SUP, it’s hard to make any quick movements which means that you’ll not easily be able to move out of the way of danger. If you’re a beginner, it is best to SUP in a spot which is a bit quieter so that you can stay safer.
Wear That Leash
It’s tempting to go without one, but they do serve a good purpose. Yes, you might be a great swimmer and can easily get to your board but consider this. If you paddle in the surf zone and fall (which is likely) not only will your board get away from you, but it could also injure someone else. Try to be considerate of other people’s safety as well as your own.
Wear a PFD/Life Jacket
This is more important if you’re paddling in the river because your fall can be far more dangerous than the open sea, however, it is good practice to wear one in all environments.
Whether you’re in a river, lake or the sea, a wetsuit will go a long way to preventing a serious chill, or worse, hypothermia.
Sometimes the weather can change in an instant. One minute it’ll be flat calm and the next, it can be stormy. It’s best to do a weather check before you head out so that you don’t get caught off guard.
Aside from the fact having a friend can make it more fun, it’s also safer. If something is to happen to one of you when you’re touring or just paddling, the other one can quickly deal with the situation. If you’re on your own, all you can hope is that someone will see the danger that you are in.