Paddle boarding is a social activity. There is no better way to spend quality time with friends or family than jumping on your boards and heading out on a group paddle.
However, we are well aware that some paddlers paddle solo from time to time. We would always recommend paddling with at least one companion but if this isn’t possible, here are some vital tips to ensure you can paddle board are as safe as possible. We would also strongly advise taking a SUP safety course to ensure you are as well prepared as you can be.
Tips for paddle boarding on my own
1. Pick three emergency contacts
Choose three trustworthy people and tell them about your plans before you head out
- Drop a pin. When you have decided on your paddling location, open your Maps app and screenshot your location to share with your contacts. If you’re not technically minded, just tell your contacts exactly where you are padding. Do it by text so it’s there in black and white! Next and most importantly, STICK TO THE PLAN! If something goes wrong nobody can help if they don’t know where you are.
- “I’ll be home for tea!” Let your contacts know when expect you home. Ask them to pop a reminder on their phone to check you have got back safely. Obviously your paddle may take slightly longer than anticipated so agree an acceptible margin. Send them a text to let them know that you’re alright, and then tell them when they will hear from you next. Again, STICK TO THE PLAN.
2 Pack essential kit
Keep a PFD and drybag permanently packed with your essential kit. Store it with your board and, this way, it’s always ready to go. These are our suggestions for some essential kit.
- PDF / Life Jacket and whistle
- VHF Radio
- First aid kit
- Mobile phone
- Change of clothes
- Portable phone charger bank
- Calorie dense snacks (i.e. protein bars, chocolate, etc)
- 1L of water
- Any medication you are on
3. Check the wind and tides and know your limits!
Paddling out might be easy, but just remember that you have to paddle back! Get and app like Windy and learn how to read it. Understand how tides and wind will affect your paddle boarding trip and plan accordingly.
4. Do your homework
Make sure you know your route – where to put in and get out. If you’re paddle boarding on a river, what is the current rate of flow? Will there be storm debris in the water? Ask local paddlers. There may be local Facebook groups. If possible follow published and tried and tested paddle routes.
5. Look after your Paddle Boarding kit
Always make sure your paddle boards are in the best possible condition. Wash them down after use. Check valves are tight and the board is free from damage. Also check your paddle and leash for any damage.