‘Plus, New Bluefin SUP Safety Equipment!’
Whether you’re brand new to stand-up paddleboarding or have many years of experience out on the waters, it’s always worth brushing up on your SUP Safety knowledge.
With paddling becoming increasingly popular, it’s super important that the basic paddleboard safety requirements are readily available to our SUP Community. So should you be heading out onto a calm lake, a rapid river, or to the sea, you’ll be prepared for whatever may come your way.
The old saying goes: ‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail,’ and SUP safety should always be prepared for and your no.1 priority out on the water; allowing you to experience some incredible adventures without any of the worry.
PADDLEBOARD SAFETY – The Basics
- CHECK YOUR SUP EQUIPMENT
Before embarking on your SUP adventure, it’s always worth having a quick check over your paddling equipment to ensure that nothing surprises you on the water. From checking for board leaks to securing your paddle correctly, there’s nothing worse than a piece of SUP equipment hindering your experience.
We recommend that you always have your Bluefin SUP ‘Minor SUP Repair Kit’ to hand if you ever need to patch up a minor tear quickly. We also recommend that you consider making a small first aid kit an essential part of your SUP safety equipment, so you can look after yourself if you ever need to. You never know when you may need it after all!
It may sound a bit daunting, ensuring that you have everything you need with you when you hit the water, but it will be well worth it. We’ve even got a checklist for you below to ensure that you’re well equipped for everything that you may need, everytime that you hit the water: Beginner Paddleboarder, What do you need
- DRESS APPROPRIATELY FOR THE WEATHER
Suppose you are a fair-weather, seasonal paddler and are likely to only emerge with your SUP in tow in the warmer months. In that case, you’re in need of SUP clothing that dries quickly, is light and comfortable – so that you don’t get too hot or even too sunburnt out on the water (more in-depth information on this in the blog mentioned above). Extra accessories for the warmer months may also include a sun hat, sunglasses, a swimsuit/trunks/bikini, and even some suncream.
Should you also be looking to paddle in the cooler months, all-weather paddlers this is for you, you’ll need to be much more considerate with what you are planning on wearing, to keep you warm and safe against a higher chance of adverse weather conditions, and even cold water shock. Here we’d suggest investing in a wetsuit, neoprene shoes, and have a few extra layers that you can quickly throw on or take off while on the water, to keep yourself at a comfortable temperature at all times. Additional accessories here would be a hat, gloves, and a waterproof jacket.
Regardless of the weather, we always recommend that you have a towel and spare clothing to change into after your paddles. No one likes to travel home wet or damp, and in the cooler months, there’s nothing like throwing on a coat, scarf and gloves to warm you up quickly.
- WEAR A PFD
A PFD is a personal flotation device, otherwise known as a buoyancy aid. You should always wear one on the water as it will help you float, cutting the risk of any problems occurring should you fall into unknown waters.
PFD’s are even recommended for the strongest of swimmers, as you never fully know if there’s any hidden undercurrents or riptides present within the water when you fall in. Wearing a PFD should assist you with getting back onto your board or back to the shore.
PFD’s can come in all shapes and sizes, for children, adults and even your furry pals – as they need protecting too! We recommend always having one with you as should you get into any difficulty; the chances of survival are significantly increased by wearing a PFD, giving you a greater chance of being rescued and being able to get back to the shore or coastline!
- WEAR A LEASH
Included within all of our Bluefin SUP packages is the ankle leash. This type of leash is perfect to wear when paddling on calmer stretches of water, helping you to keep your paddleboard close should you fall into gentler waters. We have more in-depth information on our ankle leashes here: Leashes Save Lives
However, for SUP adventures which may entail more obstacles and faster flowing water, the best leash for you is a quick-release waist leash.
And you heard it here first, coming soon, Bluefin SUP is carefully engineering our very own Bluefin SUP – Quick Release Waist Leash.
A quick-release waist leash is best used when facing fast-flowing waters and is also used for whitewater paddling! The idea is that when you fall off the board on fast-moving water such as a river, stream, rapid, or the sea, instead of getting stuck with the board attached to you, where problems may occur such as: the board going around a tree, with you the other side and the current starts pulling you under. Instead, you can quickly and easily pull on a toggle, and the leash will release from the belt around your waist, so you are no longer attached to the board. This way you’ll have greater control and mobility away from your board to get to safety.
We are currently hard at work at Bluefin SUP in releasing our new Quick Release Waist Belt! Rest assured that you’ll be the first to know once we get there!
- TAKE A PHONE & LET OTHERS KNOW YOUR PLANS:
Bluefin SUP has made it easier than ever for you to take your phone out with you on the water by providing each of our SUP kits with a waterproof phone case! It’s not just great for taking selfies and uploading the perfect SUP snap onto Instagram; carrying your phone with you on your SUP adventures allows you to keep in contact with loved ones and also call emergency services if you need urgent attention.
Smartphones also enable you to share your location with your family and friends, such as on Find My Friend or the Whatsapp APP, which is another excellent way for others to keep an eye out and be aware of your location. It’s also useful to have Google Maps handy as should your adventure take you to pastures new, you’ll be able to navigate a route back.
There are also many great apps to download to assist your paddling adventures. One that we would highly recommend, and is useful for any outdoor expeditions, is the ‘what3words’ app. This app has given a unique 3-word combination to every 3m square in the world. So wherever you are, no matter how lost you may be, if you’re able to contact the emergency services and inform them of the exact 3-word combination of where you are, they should be able to locate you.
- CHECK THE WEATHER + CHECK THE WATER:
In other words, know exactly what you’re heading out into! Is there a storm coming at 2 pm, is hail scheduled? Will it be high tide by the time you are trying to head back to shore? By checking the weather and the water that you’re heading out into, you’ll be able to fully prepare for your paddle and be able to keep away from any potentially dangerous weather or water conditions!
And don’t forget about checking for Low and High water tides as both of these can directly affect your paddling, with each one marking a change in the direction of the water flow. For example, as Low Tide approaches, the water flows back out to sea and away from shore. When absolute Low Tide is reached, water flow reverses, and the race is on towards High Tide. It’s always worth noting whether the water you are on is Low or High tide and whether it is likely to change while you’re out on the water, as it may mean that you tire more easily, either being pulled away from shore too quickly or struggle on your return. A great app for checking the changing tides in your location is the: MultiTide app or simply Google it!
You should also avoid going out paddling when offshore winds are present, as they can quickly blow you far out to sea, making for an exhausting paddle back to shore. If you are on a lifeguarded beach, keep an eye out for the orange windsock to see which way the wind is blowing. The WindAlert, WindGuru or the Windy app are great for checking on the wind direction and strength before heading out.
- PADDLE TECHNIQUE
You’ve bought a paddleboard and it’s super easy to pump up and get out onto the water – but suddenly you question: how do you paddle? It’s possible to pull muscles should you paddle incorrectly, so getting the appropriate level of training should be on your agenda!
From taking a SUP lesson with a qualified SUP instructor to being a part of a SUP paddle group, having a few sessions with others who have paddled for some time will be beneficial in helping you learn the right technique, as well as all the ‘dos and don’ts’. This should also hopefully mean you’ll quickly learn how to spend more time standing up and less time falling in!
We also have a blog on perfecting your SUP technique too: Working On Perfecting Your SUP Technique
So there you have it, the basic SUP Safety requirements to take note of before you head out to any body of water, with calm or fast-flowing waters. Another great resource to take note of is the following from the RNLI who have some pointers after rescuing paddlers on the water over the years.