Standup paddleboarding is a versatile sport which appeals to many people of almost all ages and skill levels. It can be a sport for the daredevils who’d love to ride through the breaking waves. Or it can also be a leisure activity for someone who just likes to paddle through the serene waters and get closer to nature.
Like all sports or other forms of recreation, standup paddleboarding has its own rules and regulations. Whether you’re a novice to this sport or already a pro, strictly sticking to the dos and don’ts of paddleboarding will ensure you top performance and, most important of all, safety.
1) Anyone may assume that standup paddleboarding is an easy sport to tackle. But like in all sports and other forms of recreation, paddleboarding involves some technique which enables you to perform better when you’re on the water. Before you proceed, first take lessons from an expert and professional instructor. It allows you to learn paddleboarding better, which makes for a safer and more enjoyable experience.
2) If you’re about to paddleboard in a new location, it is important to familiarize yourself with it. It’s best to inquire the locals about the possible risks involved such as the weather, rip currents, underwater hazards and extremely strong waves.
3) It is extremely important to keep your paddleboard always under control. Watch out for other surfers, swimmers (especially children) or other watercraft nearby.
4) Make sure you have a life jacket with you. It’s better if you wear it before hitting the waters. Besides, the U.S. Coast Guard considers paddleboarding as a vessel, so it requires paddleboarders to have a personal flotation device (PFD) at all times.
5) Make sure you wear a helmet. It serves as a protection to your head against impact from powerful waves or from sharp and craggy rocks at and near the shore.
6) If you get tired, you may want to sit down. Standing on the paddleboard for too long can tire and weaken your legs. Give your legs a break by sitting down on the board while paddling.
7) One of the things that you should expect about standup paddleboarding is that it provides a total body workout. It can tone your upper arms, shoulders and abdominal muscles. It can also stabilize the muscles of your leg. Paddleboarding for leisure is sometimes derided as a “lazy” sport. However, the truth is that even just a “lazy” type of paddleboarding can already provide you complete exercise that you need.
8) Make sure you wear a leash when paddleboarding. Use a safety leash which is specifically made for this sport. If you are paddleboarding in rivers, do not use a leash on your ankles or knees. Rather, look out for safety straps that are especially made for river paddleboarding, preferably the ones with an easy and quick release within your reach.
9) Don’t paddle alone. This is one of the biggest mistakes that paddleboarders often make, especially among beginners. It’s always better to have someone paddling with you. But if you do decide to do it on your own, you should tell anyone where you will be paddling. Have a backup plan should emergency arise.
10) Invest on a good-quality paddleboard. Consider paddleboards as an investment. Always remember that a paddleboard is different from a surfboard in terms of weight and construction, so do not confuse the one to the other. It’s a good idea to rent a paddleboard and try it out first to see if it’s reliable, before purchasing one.
In addition to these dos and don’ts, it’s always better to use a sunscreen or any other protection when paddleboarding. Paddling under the sun for too long can have adverse health effects. It can cause prompt exhaustion or more serious conditions like heatstroke and skin cancer. Always wear a sunscreen and a lip balm before proceeding to paddle. If you’re into leisure paddleboarding, it’s better to wear a hat as well.