1: MAKE SURE YOU ARE WEARING THE RIGHT CLOTHING
For a comfortable, safe paddle, you’re going to need to be wearing the right type of clothing. When the water and air temperature gets colder, make sure you adjust what you’re wearing. Ideally, you should be layering up with a dry suit or a semi dry two piece suit depending on the activity you are doing. More on winter paddle clothing here.
2: CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST & TIDES
The weather in the UK is unpredictable but in the winter, mixed in with cold weather it can be dangerous for people out on the water. Make sure you have checked the wind direction, the wind speed, swell and temperature. As a rule of thumb, I don’t go out in anything above 12mph but this depends on the location and where the wind is coming from. If there is an offshore wind, avoid all together! Don’t know what an offshore wind is? You need to do you research before heading out on your SUP! What is the tide doing? Is the direction of the tide going to impact your paddle?
3: CHECK YOUR KIT
When was the last time you used your paddle board and equipment? If it’s an iSUP have you checked for damage or punctures if it’s been away for a while? Make sure you have your waterproof phone case with you and make sure your phone is charged. Check your leash before you go out to check it isn’t damaged. Make sure your buoyancy aid isn’t damaged, this is a must, a buoyancy aid is a SUP essential to keep you safe if you fall in the water or get into trouble.
4: FIND A SUP BUDDY
Paddling with other people is much safer, especially in the winter months. Accidents happen so it’s better to have someone with you who can help you if in need.
5: KNOW HOW TO SELF RESCUE & YOUR LIMITS
If you fall off your board, do you know how to self rescue? If not, watch some YouTube videos, head to a sup school and practice before heading out. How far have you paddled so far? Do you know your limits? How confident are you paddling against a strong tide? Your fitness levels are important in knowing how much to push yourself.
6: WHO YOU GUNNA CALL?
No it’s not Ghostbusters. If you get into trouble, do you know who to call? If you find yourself in an emergency situation or spot someone else in trouble, you should call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard. The RYA SafeTrx app monitors your boat journeys (or SUP) and can alert emergency contacts should you fail to arrive on time. It is an app for both Android and Apple iOS smartphones that allows you to track your journey on your phone. More details here.
7: CHECK THE WEATHER AGAIN
Weather changes all the time, before you take that first paddle stroke, check the weather again!
The wind in particular can be a hazard for paddleboarders. An offshore wind can quickly take you miles away from the shore. If there is a strong off shore wind, DO NOT go paddleboarding.
Do you know how to paddle into the wind?
Sometimes the weather changes no matter how much we have checked! Do you know how to paddle into the wind?
👉🏼 Get low! Standing tall can make you a bit of a sail so reduce the wind resistance on your body by bending at the hips and dropping your shoulders.
👉🏼 Move your hands further apart on the paddle for a wider grip to get more power.
👉🏼 Make sure your body weight is more forward on the board to help keep the nose of the board down and wind getting underneath it (particularly important for round nose boards).
👉🏼 Try shorter paddle stokes – they will feel more effective and less effort than a longer, slower stroke.
👉🏼 Don’t stop paddling! You don’t want to go backwards! So, if you’re still struggling get on your knees & paddle to lower the resistance.