5 safety tips for stand up paddle boarding

Australia is probably one of the most amazing places in the world for stand up paddle boarding. (Let’s face it, any kind of water activity.) Stand up paddle boarding, also known as SUPing, is a great way to get fit, and surprisingly easy to master, once you get the hang of it.

But safety is important. You’re a small fish in a big pond, so you do need to know how to handle yourself on the water and react to certain situations.

Here are our top tips for staying safe on a stand up paddle board.  

  1. All hail the leash

No matter where you’re paddle boarding, a leash is a ‘must-wear’. Even if you fall off in the river, you’ll conserve energy getting back to your board, which is important if you’re far out from land.

It’s also safer for others near you, as your board is less likely to injure another person, or get in their way. If you’re in the ocean, don’t even think about heading out unleashed, as currents and waves could make it very difficult for you to swim back to shore.

  1. Start on a lake or river

Going out on the ocean straight up is not the safest or even the easiest way to learn how to stand up paddle board. We recommend learning on a lake or river, with an instructor or someone who knows how to coach you safely.

Once you feel confident on a lake or river, head out to the beach on a flat day when the wind is down. Always go with a friend or coach who knows what they are doing. Even if you’re great on a lake, it’s not worth being swept out to sea due to an unforeseen current.

  1. Respect others

This probably goes without saying, as every seafarer knows mutual respect is the name of the water game. If it’s crowded, stay alert and be vigilant of other people’s movements. You may be playing it safe, but others could also veer out of control and into your path.

If possible, try to stay away from crowded spots, and only venture into areas that allow SUPing. It’s also way more fun to have clear water around you, so safety and fun go hand in hand on this one!

  1. Know the water

When you are ready for the ocean, be sure to know what a rip looks like. Most Australians are taught this early on at school, but give yourself a refresher; just to be sure you know what’s what.

This YouTube video by Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) offers good information on what a rip looks like. Sometimes they can be hard to see, and according to SLSA, 2 out of 3 people don’t actually know how to spot one.

  1. Be weather smart

Most water lovers are more than a little obsessed with the weather. And there’s good reason why. Knowing what to expect in terms of the weather will improve your chances of having a great time, as you won’t get stuck in bad winds or even worse, a storm.

And while we’re on the topic of weather, don’t forget to be sun smart. It’s easy to get sunburnt on the water, so put on sunscreen, wear an appropriate hat and even a rash vest. These easy tips will certainly make life much easier for you.

Need your stand up paddle board covered?

Talk to us about competitive insurance for your stand up paddle board. We also insure kayaks, and other small vessels – just ask and we’ll let you know if it fits within the broad spectrum of vessels we cover.

Get a free quote on your SUP now.