Stand-up paddleboarding is on the whole a pretty safe sport, as it is conducted at low speeds. However, like any water sport, there is the potential for things to go wrong, especially here in New Zealand where the weather can often change rapidly. So, however experienced a water-person you may be, have a read and think about the following points. These are primarily about SUP cruising, rather than surfing. If you’re planning on taking your SUP board out into the waves, please check out the SURF SAFETY page.
- Always wear a legrope!! This is 99% of your safety preparation. If you are safely attached to a large floating platform (ie your SUP board) you are in the best position to cope with most things, and easy to find should things go wrong. Note that if you’re going onto a river or any other fast-flowing water your leash needs to be of the appropriate style, with a belt-positioned quick release, NOT worn around your ankle. Consult your local retailer or school for more advice on this.
- Know the weather – Always check the forecast before heading out on the water; understand and think about what is likely to happen and how it could affect you.
Be especially careful about offshore winds – they get stronger the further out you go, and can make it difficult/impossible to get home
Check the tides – Do you know how the currents and tides will affect your location?
Don’t paddle alone – stay safe and paddle with a friend. If you must paddle alone, tell someone else your plans.
Don’t use the board in surf until you are confident. See the SURF SAFETY page for more on this.