Stand Up Paddle boards allow you to enter and cross most stretches of running water, lakes or the seashore. This is one of the most important reasons to start paddleboarding. However, whether you are on the water for the first time or as an experienced professional, it is important to make sure you stay safe. Safety on the water begins at home with the things you have to pack and bring with you - see the list of things
Although Stand Up Paddle is a relatively safe activity, it is important to realize that when things go wrong on the water, it happens very quickly. Therefore, you must familiarize yourself with the safety rules, be aware of the possible risks and be prepared to react sensibly already before you go on the water.
One of the easiest ways to stay safe on the water is to choose a suitable place for paddling. When making this choice, think of four Ws: WIND, WAVE, WATER WEATHER. If you are a beginner, be sure to choose a place that is protected from wind and waves. The ideal SUP environment for beginners and novice paddleboarders is one with water warmer than 19 °C, good access to water, many places to go ashore and minimal motorized traffic. Always follow these 10 golden safety rules for Paddleboarding.
1. Check the equipment
Make sure the equipment is in good condition before leaving the house and then check again at the boarding point. Make sure that your board / SUP is pumped to the recommended PSI value (15), the paddle is properly assembled and all your equipment is suitable for the conditions you are about to set off to.
2. Check yourself
Make sure you have dressed appropriately for the weather, but especially the water temperature. Dress so that you are also ready to fall into the water. It happens to us too :) Take the medication you need daily and please tell the instructor what medicine you need to take and/or what you are allergic to.
3. Use a leash (safety leash)
Use the quick-release ankle leash to keep the paddleboard / SUP close to you.
4. Wear a life jacket or PFD (personal flotation device)
Always wear a buoyancy aid or PFD belt (personal flotation device). If you get into any trouble on the water, remember "Float To Live".
5. Take your phone with you
Always let someone (reliable) know where you are going and when you plan to return. Even if you're amidst a fun activity, agree to call each other at a specific time to make sure you don't find yourself drifting somewhere without any backup. (Note: make sure the person at the other end of the line knows what to do if you call!) Take the communication device with you and if you get into trouble, call 112 or directly 150 for the Fire and rescue service in the Slovak Republic or 9155 for the Coastal rescue service in Croatia. Consider using applications such as what3word or WhatsApp for location sharing to help determine your location if you run into problems.
6. Check your weather forecast
Familiarize yourself with the different wind and tidal conditions and what they mean for paddleboarding. Make sure you look thoroughly at a detailed local weather forecast to know what the conditions will be like when you arrive and for the rest of the day. Be ready! If you are on a river, heavy rain falling upstream from your location can cause a sudden rise in river levels and cause even meandering rivers to become raging torrents in a short time. Fast-moving water carries extreme risk since waves, eddies and strong currents require advanced navigation training. If you are on a lake or at sea, an increase in wind speed of more than 3 Beaufort scale numbers or a change in wind direction can make paddling very difficult or even lead to overturning. See the forecast in Croatia Jadran and Croatia Nauticari or Slovakia.
7. Local knowledge = Ask around
Don't be shy and ask local watermen, surfers, kayakers, paddleboarders or sailors if you're about to set off. You will be amazed at the depth of knowledge they have about their native region - about hidden dangers, movement of the tides, direction of the wind and any local influence factors.
8. Paddleboard with a partner
When you go paddling, do it in a group or (at least) with another person. This way, paddling is a lot more fun anyway!
9. Practice makes the master
Whenever you have the opportunity, practice a rescue action in pleasant, calm and easy-to-handle conditions. Try to return on top your the board with all your equipment after a fall, paddle without a fin, paddle on your stomach and if you lose your paddle ... be creative!
10. Keep calm
This is the most important rule of all! If everything else goes wrong, YOU will have to do something about it, so there is absolutely no point in panicking or stressing because it will lead nowhere. In addition, remember you are close to the shore.
In addition to the above, a great danger in open water is motorized ships. In general, if the boat is bigger and faster than you, you give way. This is not a real nautical rule. It's just common sense. Jet skis and ski boats are unpredictable and fast on the water.
Risk identification and procedures for their elimination are the basic prevention against the occurrence of high-risk situations on the water. See the already identified Risks for Paddleboarding. Use common sense to stay safe on the water. Of course, if you take the paddleboard into harsher conditions, such as surf zones or wild waters, you will have to solve several other risks and problems.