My favourite type of SUPing is surfing closely followed by downwinding.
On a good day downwinding can be like surfing a wave for hundreds of metres way out too sea.
The aim is to choose a passage from A to B travelling with the wind on your back, hence the name downwinder.
Downwinders need a lot of planning. As a rule they are foolish to embark on as a solo mission. The wisest thing would be to go with some more experienced paddlers that have already done some downwinders. This is where joining a SUP club can be a great idea as you are likely to have some keen and experienced people to help you along the way.
Things you need to consider before embarking on a SUP downwinder
- Check the weather and tides
- Choose a route from A – B, say Brighton Marina end of the prom to Hove Lagoon. Choosing the right route is critical. You have to bear in mind that the wind may change direction and consider how you would deal with that. For your first couple of trips it would be best going on routes with other more experienced SUPers.
- Make sure you have the right safety kit for SUPing on the sea.
- Downwinding is easier on a longer board, you can use a standard 10’6 board. To get the most fun from your trip a board over 12 foot is ideal. Again this is where being a member of a SUP club can be an advantage as the club or its members may have more suitable boards that you can borrow.
- It is always worth giving the coast guard a call to let them know you will be out at sea on a trip. You may be perfectly safe but a member of the public may see you out to sea and think you are in trouble and call the coast guard. It has happened to me. It is a bit of a shock when you find a lifeboat and helicopter descend upon you when you are perfectly safe having fun. It is also embarrassing and a waste of recourses. It only takes a few minutes to notify them when you leave, your route, an ETA and then a quick call once you are back onshore.
Enjoy your first glide