Be AdventureSmart: When Stand Up Paddleboarding

It’s the weekend and you are planning a day on the water paddling your SUP.  You picture flat, calm, sparkling water and your board gliding along the surface, the great feeling that comes from physical exercise and exhilarating views of the British coastline, lakes or maybe a river.  You launch your board in sunshine and no wind but two hours later a strong breeze appears and drops of rain.  You look across to the beach and realise you have a long chilly, damp day ahead.  

Be adventure smart and make sure you are fully prepared for your SUP outing with our top tips.

  1. Wear a leash (preferably a coiled, quick-release leash attached from your waist to the board), buoyancy aid and a wetsuit or insulating layers covered by a windproof jacket.
  2. Check the latest forecast for your day – check the wind strength and direction again on arrival. River levels can rise and fall and at the coast, even a light offshore breeze can sweep you out to sea.
  3. Always carry a charged mobile phone in a waterproof pouch and keep it easily accessible. If you need help, call 999 and ask for Fire and Rescue Service (inland waters) or Coastguard (sea and coastal area).
  4. Know your limits. Be honest with yourself about your and your companions’ knowledge, fitness and ability. Only attempt a paddle if the conditions are within you and your group’s capabilities.
  5. If you can, always go with a friend. If you’re going out alone, always tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

Whether you are new to SUP or refreshing your knowledge, our SUP video, supported by British Canoeing will help you understand the basics to stay safe.  If that’s inspired you to learn more about how to be prepared and self-sufficient before heading out, check out Go Paddling.

Check out the series of short, sharp videos from WSA Ambassador and environmentalist, Cal Major and hear her top ten tips for safer SUPing on different waterways and in changing conditions.

Be adventure smart: Plan for a great day with our essential kit guide for being out and about on your SUP!

The essentials
  • Leash (attached correctly to the board, check out the guide to SUP leashes below)
  • Board (suitable for the activity and you, volume, length and width)
  • Paddle (the right size for you)
  • Weather forecast

Make sure you have the correct leash for your activity with the help of this infographic from British Canoeing.

SUP Leashes 18082021

    • Buoyancy Aid (well fitting buoyancy aid with an emergency whistle)
    • Windproof jacket (can always be kept in the rucksack until needed, don’t leave home without it)
    • Insulating layer (a thin fleece or gillet depending on the time of year)
    • Breathable base layer if paddling in summer (avoid cotton t-shirts)
    • Wetsuit (depending on the time of year a wetsuit long john or full suit can be great)
    • Safety bag / dry bag (with a method of attaching to the deck)
    • Foot wear (sandals, trainers, wet shoes anything that helps you walk across rough banks, beaches)
    • Watch (or any reliable method of telling the time)
Safety sack essentials (dry bag)
  • First aid kit
  • Charged Mobile phone in a dry bag (a ziplock freezer bag works as a cheap option)
  • Map & compass (even if you use GPS)
  • Torch or head torch
  • Suncream
  • Sunglasses
  • Bottled water (keep yourself hydrated)
  • Flask of hot drink (depending on time of year)
  • High energy snacks (to give an energy boost when tired)
  • Any necessary medication (with spares)
  • Spare warm clothing
  • Survival bag (just in case)
  • Emergency contact details