Through this blog series, we will explore the impact of different environments on your paddling experience and guide you in setting up effectively for your day on the water. This week, our focus will be on the sea.
Globally, there is an abundance of iSUP destinations to choose from. Practically every country offers a stunning paddleboard arena for you to explore. In the UK, we are fortunate to have some of the world's best coastal, river, and lake paddle spots without any undue bias. In this blog post, we aim to provide guidance on the distinctions between each setting and highlight factors to consider when selecting your location. For this blog, we assume you have already read our gear blog and have correctly set up for your day, focusing solely on your paddleboarding environment.
Coastal Paddle Boarding
The coast is the current top-rated destination for paddlers across the UK, particularly for beginners and those with intermediate ability. It's no wonder since Wales, Cornwall, the South Coast, and Scotland, in particular, showcase some of Europe's most stunning coastlines. Ensure your paddling adventure explores these breathtaking locations.
When paddling in the ocean, several important safety points exist, such as tide, wind, and wave breaks. To begin, it is crucial to choose a suitable entry point. Before embarking on your paddling adventure, conduct some research. Some of the best paddling beaches, like Coppett Hall in Pembrokeshire, may have hidden rocks in shallower areas, which can pose a significant danger if fallen upon.
Safety while Coastal Paddle Boarding
Furthermore, ensure that your leash is securely attached to your board. This will make getting back onto your board easier if you fall off. Lastly, carrying it perpendicular to the coastline is recommended when getting on your board until you are waist-deep in the water. Then, utilise your preferred technique to mount the board.
Moving past the wave break, most paddling coastlines with favourable conditions feature more minor breaks, which should be manageable. Here are some quick tips: Try progressing between waves and maintaining a stable foundation by slightly bending your knees and being prepared for the incoming wave.
Additional Safety Measures for Coastal Paddle Boarding
When it comes to safety, here are some recommendations from the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution):
Always go paddleboarding with a companion, if possible. It not only makes it more enjoyable but also ensures someone is there to assist you in case of any difficulties.
If you plan to bring your phone to capture memories, ensure it is secured in a waterproof pouch. This protects it from water damage and enables you to call for help in an emergency.
Before heading out, check the weather forecast and tide times. Rough waters can pose challenges, especially for beginners. Additionally, be aware that conditions can change rapidly.
Avoid paddleboarding in offshore winds. These winds can push your board far out to sea, making it exhausting and challenging to paddle back to the shore.
A suitable personal flotation device, such as a buoyancy aid or lifejacket, is recommended. Choose one that allows freedom of movement while providing necessary buoyancy. It not only keeps you afloat but also gives you time to recover if you happen to fall into the water.
Always use an appropriate leash with your paddle board. This helps prevent your board from drifting away if you fall off and assists you in staying connected to it in case of trouble. British Canoeing can provide helpful guidance for selecting the right leash for your needs.
When launching from a lifeguarded beach, use the designated area between the black and white chequered flags. This area generally has fewer swimmers, providing more space for manoeuvring. Additionally, familiarise yourself with the right-of-way rules in the surf, ensuring the safety of yourself and others.
By following these safety guidelines, you can enjoy paddleboarding while reducing the risk of injuries. Stay safe, and have a great time on the water.
You may be interested in our new blog on River Paddle Boarding.