Safety Rules for Stand Up Paddling

When I look out the window today I see sun, blue sky and calm water. Is it really February? Feels more like summer; and since it feels and looks like summer then let’s paddle. My paddling has traditionally been relegated to a standup paddleboard, but for 2015 I have broadened my horizons to a couple different types of paddle craft. Over the last couple of months I have been paddling outrigger canoe (one man and six man), prone (think a 12-foot surfboard that you paddle on your tummy) and, by far the most of amount of fun, has been paddling SUP in the surf. Standup paddle race boards are still my paddle craft of choice, but it sure is nice to shake things up a bit and see the water sitting down and laying down.

While the gorgeous weather has afforded us ample opportunities to get out and play on the water, I have noticed a big uptick in the standup surfers at many of the Northern California surfing beaches. In fact, at one surf spot in Marin County, the standup paddle surfers outnumber the lay-down surfers.

While this is all fine and good, a couple of guidelines should be considered when SUP Surfing:

1) Always wear a leash

2) Keep control of your board. This is extremely important as SUP Surfboards tend to be a little bigger and not as controllable as a regular surfboard

3) Be respectful. We all need to keep an eye out for one another out on the water, but there are some unwritten rules amongst the surfing community that everyone should follow. Don’t drop in on other surfers or SUP surfers, be mindful of your wave count and don’t take all of the waves just because you can. If you are somewhat of a beginner then maybe paddling to a peak or place that’s not as crowded would be safer and more comfortable.

These are just guidelines and frankly these are the guidelines that I follow when I am out in the surf. At the end of the day we are out on the water to try new things, have fun and take advantage of the incredible weather we have had lately.

2015 has already started out as a great year of paddling, so enjoy your time on the water.

Questions about SUP or this blog post? Email me at [email protected]