Those who have ventured to the coast this summer are likely to have spotted paddleboards on and off the water. This is because stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, has quickly become one of the country’s most well-celebrated watersports.
It’s easy to see why paddleboarding is as popular as it is too. Unlike some other watersports, SUP is notably accessible, with individuals of all ages generally able to get started easily, soon finding their feet on the water. Paddleboarding does not rely too heavily on environmental conditions too, such as surfing, which necessitates a degree of swell. In fact, paddleboards can be taken to lakes and rivers just as they can to beaches, increasingly the landscapes that individuals can explore.
This popularity encourages a great number of newcomers to pick up the watersport each year. First-timers take to the water in greater numbers, eager to get out and explore. Before they do, however, they must ensure that they are aware of the basic safety tips for those new to SUP.
The Right Environment
Setting out onto a lake is an entirely different experience from that of the sea, and each individual environment has its own character. Areas with boat traffic, for example, are likely to be unsuitable for paddleboarders, especially beginners, because they can require swift decisions of navigation and are generally fraught with wake. The sea itself can be challenging with its swell and break being enough to knock beginners off their boards.
As such, it is recommended that first-time paddleboarders endeavour to set out onto calm waters, preferably a lake. This will give them the most tranquil and steady environment upon which they can find their feet and balance on the board before taking their confidence elsewhere.
Paddleboarders should wear a leash. This fundamental rule is for the safety of all paddleboarders, ensuring that when they become dismounted from their board, they are able to stay connected with a strong tether. Tides and river flow can very easily take a board out of reach, leaving paddleboarders stranded.
Leashes are available in a variety of styles and can suit numerous needs and comforts of paddleboarders. Many will choose to tether themselves to their board with an ankle leash. However, others choose to wear a leash around their waist instead. This can be for comfort but is often to prevent a pale ring around the ankle during the sunny weather!
Paddleboarding together isn’t solely a social experience, it’s a safe one too. Beginners are often advised to set out in pairs or groups to ensure that, should they encounter any issues, they are able to seek the necessary support or help.
This could be with the guidance of mounting a board while out on the water (quite a challenge for first-timers!) or even steering a board away from a tricky situation, such as a rocky area. If you aren’t able to find any friends to join you on the water, we recommend finding a local group or class instead.