Over this series of Blogs, Lets take a look through the difference environment can have on your paddling experience and ensure you are set up correctly for your day on the water. This week will focus on the Sea.
Globally, the choice of iSUP destination is endless. Essentially every country can provide a breathtaking paddleboard arena for you to battle. In the UK, we are extremely forutnate to have some of the worlds best, and most beautiful without being too biased, Coastal, River and Lake paddle spots. In this blog we want to point you in the right direction as to the difference between each setting and things to bear in mind when making your decisions of location. For this blog, we will assume that you have read through our Gear blog and already have set up correctly for you day and instead, focus purely on your setting.
The current most popular destination for paddlers accross the UK, especially at the beginner to mid ability tier, is the coast; and why not, Wales, Cornwall, South Coast and Scotland in particular boast some of the most beautiful coastline in Europe.
When paddling in the ocean, there are a number of safety points to consider, including; Tide, Wind and Wave Break.
First things first, lets pick an entry point. When you first start out paddling an area, do a little research first. Some of the best paddling beaches, like Coppett Hall in Pembrokeshire, also have hidden rocks in shallower areas which can be pretty dangerous when falling in. Secondly, ensure you have your leash attached, this way, if you do fall off, it is nice and simple to get back to your board. Finally, getting on your board. My suggesstion here would be to carry your board, perpendicular to the coastline, our until you are waist deep, and then use your favourite mounting technique to get up on your board.
Next is getting out past the break. Generally, a lot fo the better Paddling coast has a smaller break in the favourable conditions so shouldnt be too much of an issue. However, some quick tips would be to make up as much ground between waves as you can and be in a solid foundation pose for when the wave comes, i.e. kneed slightly bent and prepared.
In regards to safety, here are some suggestions from the RNLI: If you can, always go with a friend. It’s more fun, and they can help you if you get into difficulty.
Bringing your phone to take some photos? Make sure you keep it in a waterproof pouch. That way it won’t get wet, and you can use it to call for help in an emergency too.
Check the weather forecast and tide times before you set out. If the water is too choppy, you might find it difficult, especially if you are a beginner. And be aware, the conditions can change quickly.
Avoid offshore winds. They will quickly blow your paddleboard far out to sea, which can make it extremely tiring and difficult to paddle back to shore.
You should wear a suitable personal flotation device. This can be a buoyancy aid or a lifejacket. Choose one that still allows you plenty of movement so you can paddle freely. Not only will it keep you afloat, but it will also help give you time to recover should you fall in – and chances are you will!
You should always use a paddleboard with a appropriate leash. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to swim after your paddleboard if you fall off. The leash will also help you stay connected to your board if you get into trouble and help you float. British Canoeing has some great tips to help you decide which leash is right for you.
If you are launching on a lifeguarded beach, make sure you launch and recover between the black and white chequered flags. There should be less swimmers in this area, giving you more room to manoeuvre. Consider other water users by learning the rights of way in the surf. This can save you and others getting injured.
Next time we will look at River Paddling.