As with any watersport, paddleboarding has its risks. We list a few basic safety considerations to make sure you are adequately prepared for your next paddle adventure.
Although common sense is the most important requirement, the risk of accidents can be minimised by following some simple guidelines.
Only paddle in areas that suit your ability, if you are inexperienced make sure to choose locations that have calm waters with little or no tidal flow. As you become a more accomplished paddler, you can start to explore more interesting locations, catching waves, shooting some rapids or enjoying full day paddle routes.
You should wear a suitable personal floatation device. This can be a buoyancy aid or a lifejacket. Be sure to choose one that allows easy movement so as not to hinder your paddling.
Avoid paddling alone. Not only is it safer to have a buddy with you in case something goes wrong, it’s a lot more fun having someone to share an awesome paddles session with. If you do paddle alone, be sure to notify someone that you are going and how long you intend to be gone for.
You should always have a leash attached, especially in the surf zone. This prevents your board hurtling towards an unsuspecting victim who could get seriously injured, but will also help conserve your energy by preventing your board drifting too far away from you, even if you are on a calm lake or river system.
Always consider the weather conditions. Make sure you check the latest weather report, avoid stormy and unpredictable conditions, especially when starting out. Choppy water or large waves can be unpleasant and dangerous.
Choose adequate attire. For those winter sessions, consider a wetsuit or even dry suit if required. Even in summer, enjoying the sun-filled months you may consider something warmer for longer sessions out on the water.
Skincare. Always use sunscreen when out on the water, even when overcast that nasty UV radiation can damage skin and lead to skin cancer. So about 2 hours before heading out, lather up with some SPF30 or higher sunscreen.