Return to blog

Getting Back In The Water: SUP Safety Tips For 2024

Posted by Luke Green

Spring days are upon us and with this turning point in the year comes the real start of SUP season. While it’s easy to get carried away with the thrill of planning your summer of paddleboarding adventures, taking the time to properly prepare yourself to spend time in the water should be your priority. Just like your technique and fitness might need a bit of refreshing, your awareness and memory of how to stay safe in the water can lapse when you’ve had a break. 

To help you get back into the water with confidence, we’ve outlined our top SUP safety tips for 2024 in this article. 

Get The Right Equipment…

However you spend time in and around water, using the right equipment is paramount for ensuring your safety. Paddleboarding is no different and alongside the right board there are several other tools or items you will need to have peace of mind when paddling. You should always be wearing a suitable leash (either an ankle leash for non-flowing water or a quick-release waist-belt leash for fast-flowing water or tidal waterways) as well as a PFD to keep you afloat should you become separated from your board. Keep these items safely packed into your board bag so that you’ve always got them when they’re needed and don’t have to fret about whether you’re safe to paddle or not when you reach your launch point!

… And Check It Before Use

If you are getting back into the water after some time out over the off-season, this SUP safety tip is especially vital. Your board and safety equipment will naturally show signs of wear and tear over time and can deteriorate when stored away in the winter if you haven’t stayed on top of your paddleboard maintenance. Before you hit the water for the first time this year, get your board and equipment out of its bag and thoroughly inspect for any damage. Never be tempted to rush into the water if you’re not sure whether your equipment is fit for use; it’s better to err on the side of caution and if you check early in the season you’ll maximise the amount of use you can get out of investment in new gear!

Go With A Friend

Paddling with friends is not just a fantastic social activity and a great way to catch up with loved ones in the outdoors, it’s also really important from a safety perspective! Safety comes in numbers and if one of you gets into trouble, the rest of the group can help or get assistance if it's too dangerous to help yourselves. If you haven’t yet persuaded any of your friends to give paddling a go, see if there is a group you can join in your local area. At the very least, make sure that you always let somebody else know where you are going and how long you are planning to be out and don’t forget to take a phone with you in a waterproof bag so that you can communicate in an emergency.

Plan Ahead

No matter how frequently you are going paddleboarding, some SUP safety tips will always apply. For example, you should always plan ahead before you hit the water and, most importantly, stick to your plan! Check the tide and weather forecast thoroughly and pay attention to both the times you plan to be in the water as well as conditions reported for the whole day as this will give you a more complete understanding of how things could change suddenly.

Know Your Limits

For your first adventure of the year, it’s always wise to head for calm conditions and ease yourself back in. There will be plenty of time later in the season to tackle some more extreme paddles if that’s what you’re really into, but your first trip out should always focus on refamiliarising yourself with your technique and getting used to being back in the open again. When you do start to visit new SUP spots, stay within your limits and use equipment you are familiar with. And, of course, stick to the plan!

Dress Appropriately

The question of what to wear paddleboarding is not just about style and comfort; dressing appropriately is also important for staying safe. There are two essential things to bear in mind on this front: the season and being prepared to enter the water. Even if you’re not intending to go for a quick dip at some point during your paddling session, you should always dress as if you’re going to fall in as this will help to reduce any risk of cold water shock and keep your skin protected from any hazards in and around the water.