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.

  • Wear a leash: (preferably a quick-release belt with a coiled leash attached to the board on flat water and; a straight ankle leash in surf), buoyancy aid and a wetsuit or insulating layers covered by a windproof jacket.
  • 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.
  • Know your limits: New to SUPing – Take a lesson. Be honest with yourself about your and your companions’ knowledge, fitness and ability. Only attempt going out if the conditions are within you and your group’s capabilities.
  • SUP with others: Always tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
  • 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).

SUPing on white water requires greater technical skills and knowledge. Sign up to a SUP White Water Course to further develop your SUP skills and your ability to assess and manage the risks when planning your adventures.

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 & Paddle
    – suitable for you and the activity – the size of both board and paddle must be right for you, if in doubt, take advice
    – fit to be used – no repairs needed
    – if using an inflatable SUP, it should be pumped to between 15-18 PSI – to be sure, check the manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Charged mobile phone in a waterproof pouch
  • Weather forecast and water conditions
    – Check the wind strength and direction again on arrival
    – Avoid any hazard or fixed objects in the water by a minimum of 2 board lengths
    On inland waters
    – Check river levels and flow – they can rise and fall quickly and increase in speed
    – Avoid areas of fast-flowing water, including weirs and falls
    – Lakes can be windy – Light onshore winds (under 10 knots) are ideal. Avoid offshore winds, even a light offshore breeze can sweep you out into the middle of the lake
    On coastal waters
    – Check tide tables for tide heights and check tidal flow – under 2 knots is ideal
    – It can be very windy at the beach. Light onshore winds (under 10 knots) are ideal. Avoid offshore winds, even a light offshore breeze can sweep you out to sea

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 – don’t leave home without it, it can always be kept in the dry bag attached to your board until needed
    • 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
    • Footwear – sandals, trainers, wet shoes anything that helps you walk across rough banks, beaches
    • Watch – or any reliable method of telling the time
Essentials - Safety bag/dry bag
  • A method of attaching your safety/dry bag to the deck
  • First aid kit
  • 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