Photo via: Mitch Garcia
In light of recent tragic events that have happened in the SUP world, Community Assistant and BIC SUP athlete, Alex Mauer, has put together a few tips to remind us on how to stay safe when standup paddling:
When a tragedy occurs in the standup paddle world we all feel it. In trying to create awareness in safety when paddling, here are a few tips to paddle by, for outfitters and rental shops, to people renting, buying and paddling.
1. Always be aware of the conditions you are paddling out into. Take measures to ensure your safety in those conditions. If it is a windy day, be aware that you will most likely be paddling in rough or wavy conditions.
2. Make sure you are wearing a leash. That way if you fall, the board cannot float away. This insures your safety as well as the safety of others trying to enjoy the water.
Photo via: Darren Bridges
3. Always have a backup plan! Leashes break or come undone sometimes. If you don't feel comfortable swimming back to the beach in rough conditions, make sure you carry a safety whistle with you. Also, paddle with someone who can help you.
4. Be sure you tell someone where, when and who you are paddling with.
5. Wear a PFD. PFD's (personal floatations devices) have been a sore topic in the paddle world. Many advanced paddlers feel that they don't need them or that they are an unnecessary item because the board floats more than the device. The most common statement is... "If I fall in the first thing I will grab is the board not having to worry about a PFD." In some cases the board can be swept away so fast or kicked yards away when you fall in. Anyone who is inexperienced or timid in the water should consider wearing one. Plus, it's better to be safe than to be sorry!
Photo via: Espen Haug
6. Make sure you are renting from companies that are doing their best to ensure your safety! I hold the rental and sales operations responsible for the safety of its customers. Anyone working at owning or running one of these operations should take an ACA certification class to understand safety and how to prevent tragedies from happening. The outfitter is directly responsible for making sure that the clients are taking safety measures and understand the repercussions of their actions!
Please be safe when out on the water and remember, when in doubt, don't paddle out!