SUPing on the sea is an amazing way to enjoy your paddling and clear your mind.
To ensure you have a great time and return safely you need to take some sensible precautions before you get out on the water.
1) First thing is to check the weather. In particular the wind. Make sure it will not be too strong for you particularly if it is blowing away from the shore or creating too much chop for you.
2) Check the tides to make sure they are suitable for your trip and you won’t be battling against currents.
3) Plan your route whether it is just staying close to the beach a couple of hundred metres from your start point or heading further afield.
4) Ideally don’t go paddling on your own. Think about joining a SUP club.
5) Tell someone your plans and when you expect to get back
6) Take an alternative means of communication. A phone in a waterproof bag or case will be ideal, another option would be a VHF radio or you can purchase devices to alert the coast guard or other vessels that you are in trouble.
7) Make sure you have a leash. If you fall off, your board can fly ahead of you and quickly get caught by the wind and blow away from you. You will be surprised, in fact frightened, just how quickly your board can blow out of your reach and you cannot catch up. Never go on the sea without a leash.
8) Wear sensible clothing. SUPing can be hot but you need to consider how cold you will get if you fall in. Make sure you have a sensible compromise between sweating to death and freezing when you fall in. Don’t forget the effect of wind chill.
9) If you are going any distance take some water with you.
We don’t want to be tied down by too much gear when we are out paddling so there are a couple of easy solutions. I have a camel bag which is basically a ruck sack for carrying water which has pockets for some of your other gear.
Another option is you can fit, or may already have, a carrying net to your board. This is great for storing stuff.
The big elephant in the room here is a buoyancy aid. If you are going on the sea you really should wear a buoyancy aid. This can be unpractical for paddling any distance and many consider the leash your link to the board and this can be a type of buoyancy aid. In many countries it is mandatory to wear a buoyancy aid whilst SUPing. This has lead to the development of some practical buoyancy aids that are perfect for SUPing and I strongly advise you take a look at a few and consider purchasing one.
Lagoon Watersports run instructor lead SUP clinics and social paddles on the sea. Please see details,on line or call 01273 424842 opt 2.