Important SUP safety tips to combat offshore winds
One of the biggest dangers to stand up paddlers is offshore winds, which are the winds that blow from the land out to sea. These not only affect sea paddlers, but those on lakes and rivers too.
The wind can have a huge influence on where you are paddling, especially if you are new to the sport. You need to ensure you don’t put yourself in a situation where you are at risk or getting blown out to sea.
It is recommended that before you head out on any watercraft, be it canoes, kayaks orSUP boards, you check the weather and pay particular attention to wind direction.
If there is a strong offshore wind and you are not sure if you will be able to handle it, stay out of the water. This is particularly important if you are paddling in an area that you are unfamiliar with.
Next, we will look at some important safety tips you should remember in order to combat offshore winds if they strike whilst you are out on the water:
Make sure you are using correct safety equipment and always wear your ankle leash. The only exception to this is if you are paddling on a river, where it is advised that you wear it above your waist. You should also make sure you wear or have a life jacket close by – it is the law in many areas but it is also good common sense safety.
The lay down SUP technique
If the wind picks up when you are out on the water and you find that you are no longer able to paddle forward, you will want to lay down, secure your paddle in between your board and chest, and alternate your stroke right and left to get back into shore.
Whilst stood up on an SUP board, you are essentially acting like a sail. But when you lay down, there is much less wind resistance and you are able to cut through the wind much quicker than before.
Kneeling SUP technique
Other situations that may present danger, such as approaching a rocky area or facing a large amount of side-chop that you cannot stand up in, may call for you to kneel down on your board and paddle it like it were a canoe.
You will want to bring your hands down the paddle so they are towards the bottom, with your hands in a semi-wide grip. This will allow you to paddle your SUP like a canoe to get out of trouble.
Tell someone where you are going
You should let someone know when and where you are headed on a paddling trip, whilst also giving them a rough time of when they should hear back from you. That way, if you do get into trouble, there is a record of where you have been.
These are just a few safety tips to bear in mind for next time you head out on your paddleboard, and don’t forget to check our website for a range of boards and accessories to help you stay safe on the water.
Photo courtesy of Ralph Daily, under Creative Commons