How to stay visible and safe on a standup paddleboard


I don't care if you like or dislike the way trucker hats fit your melon, they can save your butt. When you are paddling in conditions, downwinding, or even out with a large group, a bright hat can keep you safe.  

Last weekend, a small group of us went out in 25-30 mph winds and 7 foot seas. It was a blast, but we had wetsuits on, there were dark skies and little visibility as people dropped behind swell peaks and into troughs. Our dark suits plus dark skies plus dark, stormy Seas meant we had to trust the others would get there. In general, that's not good. Add in the fact that you are actively stabilizing your board and there's very little time to turn and look over your shoulder for your co-paddlers, and you can have a very difficult time keeping track of each other. I was the only one with a bright hat and they could all see where I was at all times. I had to look for the dark silhouette on the horizon to find them, which took time and I had to stop to look.

A second and perhaps even more important reason is bright hats help boats see you. Especially large boats like ferries, barges and tugs. Annabel Anderson was talking about a downwind run she takes in New Zealand along a ferry route. She downwinds one direction and takes the ferry back. There are shipping lanes and the captains are used to seeing her bright hat. They actually radio each other to warn each other that there's a paddler out there. Annabel stays out of the shipping lanes, but close enough that if a ferry had to go off course to avoid something else, they might be in the same water. If a bright hat means a boat can visually recognize there's a person near them, you're are one step ahead.

We have a tidal mart here that supplies copious amounts of inexpensive beer. It also has bright orange trucker hats for $4.99. I love the 404 hat and the Hinano hats picked up at the Carolina Cup.

Pick on up. Pop it on. Protect your melon from the sun and stay visible.  

Neon Trucker hats can save your butt

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