13 steps to take before you stand up paddle SUP

  1. Check the weather forecast: Make sure there aren’t any weather systems moving through, thunderstorms.
  2. Check the wind forecast (windalert.com is the best) and plan your route accordingly. You always want to go into the wind first, then back, because if your get tired, the wind can always blow you home.
  3. Check the tides and currents. The last thing you want to do is get stuck trying to get home through a change in tide or current.
  4. Check the radar: It’s always good to check with your own eyes whether there are storms moving in.
  5. Pick a route: You’ve checked the radar and the tides and currents, now pick a route that will be best for your fitness or fun goals. Paddle a route that fits your level. If you aren’t used to doing more than 3 miles, don’t attempt a 12.5 mile circumnavigation of an island in the hot sun.
  6. Tell someone where your route and when your are paddling: If you get stuck or stranded, it’ll help if you’ve told someone, “I’m paddling at 12 around money island. If I’m not back by 3, come find me.”
  7. Know where you can get help along your route: a police station, Coast guard, friends house. It’s not just about you. If someone else needs help, it’s good to know where to go.
  8. Bring a friend: The buddy system is the safest way to paddle. Paddling by yourself leave no room for error.
  9. Bring a phone in a dry case: If you are in trouble, or stuck, it’s so much easier to be able to call someone to come get you. If someone else needs help, you have the tools to get them help fast.
  10. Bring water/hydration/food: It gets hot and you’re exercising. As you get dehydrated, you lose balance and eventually turn into a raisin. Don’t turn into a raisin. And a power bar or snack can go a long way if you get tired or stuck.
  11. Make sure you have your PFD: It’s the law. Also, if someone else needs help, you can use your PFD to help support them in the water.
  12. If you are on a downwind, in the surf or in current, consider a leash. (This doesn’t apply to whitewater—they have their own specialized equipment. In the surf it’s mandatory. If you lose control of a 11 foot board, it could cruise in and really hurt someone. If you are downwinding or on a river and fall off, your board can get away from you quickly. There’s nothing worse than having to swim after your board in a 25mph wind. I’ve been there. If you are new, especially if you aren’t a strong swimmer, a leash is good to have at all times.
  13. Check your equipment. Are your paddle, board, pfd, leash, etc. in good shape? Are there cracks? Is everything watertight? Is the seal on your dry pack closed completely?

Have fun.






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