A few keynotes you can take away from this article and what we will be covering today our...
1) The best times of the day to go Paddle Boarding...
2) How you can prepare for a paddle boarding day trip...
3) Where to actually go paddle boarding where you'll know you're safe...
4) Places to avoid while paddle boarding...
5) General precautions to consider...
Best Times of the day to go Paddle Boarding
One of your biggest considerations you will find when paddle boarding is wind speed. It can be your greatest asset or your worst enemy.
Depending on the nature of the ride you are looking for, wind can be a huge determining factor on the type of ride you experience. For a more advanced paddle boarder, you may want a higher wind speed which will give you a faster ride on the board but for a beginner, you want to go out on a relatively calm day.
Unlike with kayaking, a lower tide doesn't affect much, but for the lower wind speed, you are looking for you generally want to go out early mornings and evenings. These are ultimately the best times for paddle boarding for the most comfortable ride.
Higher wind speeds can create choppier waters, which can become a bit dangerous if you're not that experienced yet. Consider a wind speed slower than 10 knots starting out.
When combating a wind speed at the start of your paddle, you want to go against the breeze, so your later trip back to the shore won't tire you out.
Plan your excursion around the tides. The levels of the tide can make for an entirely different trip paddling back. Be sure to check the tides before going out to ensure your safety and avoid exhaustion on your trip back to the shore.
How You Can Prepare for a Paddle Boarding Day Trip
You want to take the same general measures as if you were going out on a boat, you always want to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Safety is always first.
Before you take voyage and embark on your journey, you want to make sure you have everything marked off your checklist and all of your equipment and accessories required, the essentials.
- Your Paddle Board, which is a given 😉
- Your Paddle
- Personal Flotation devices, as required by the Coast Guard
- Safety Whistle, as required by the Coast Guard
- Water Bottle
- Sun Screen
Now certain things may not be considered exactly essential for you but having these items listed above can only make for the best experience.
But do make sure you keep in mind the U.S Coast Guard classifies paddle boards as vessels. This means if you are out paddling away from the surf or swimming area you must by law have a (PFD) on board or risk being fined.
Now adults aren't actually required to wear the flotation device or life vest, but children must wear one at all times. It is for your safety, you will be glad you had one on board in the event you ever did run into a problem. If you are paddling in the right place at the right time, this is a precautionary measure, and you need not worry.
To warn other boaters it is necessary to carry a safety whistle as well. Sometimes an oncoming boat may not take notice of a smaller vessel especially in poorly lit conditions, or if you are in a blind spot.
Having a safety whistle can alert this boater of your presence, and could mean saving your life. You always want to make sure you are aware of all your surroundings at all times, and very alert. Make sure to look out onto the horizon to give you ample time to prepare for any oncoming boats or other vessels.
If traveling at night make sure to be extra cautious, and carry a light with you. You want to make sure you are seen way before any other vessel comes in close contact with you. This light can be mounted and propped off the front of the paddle board to act as a spot-light so you are seen in plain sight.
Now, these may not be requirements but can make for an even better experience...
- Water-Proof Baggie to keep your electronics safe...
- Water-Proof Speaker to listen to some tunage...
- A lunch for a nice picnic...
- A camera or your phone...
- A pair of cheap sunglasses, just in case you lose them...
- A hat to keep the sun off your head, and your neck...
- A fishing pole and a bait bucket and cooler if you wish to go fishing...
- Power bank...
Now that you have checked all the items off your checklist you're now ready to get out there on the open water and go paddle boarding, well not quite...
Where to Actually go Paddle Boarding Where You'll Know You're Safe
The biggest things to consider when going paddle boarding is your surroundings. You want to make sure you are in an area that does not have a lot of boat traffic, and you always want to have a good exit strategy.
If not that experienced, you want to avoid the surf as you can leave yourself more prone to falling off the board and possibly experiencing a pretty nasty tumble.
Until you get your footing you want to follow the tips above and shoot for more calm waters, low wind speed, and pretty open water to give you plenty of space to practice, and less chance of putting yourself in a more dangerous situation.
We would advise avoiding the ocean at first until you become a bit more advanced and have a good balance and feel comfortable on the board. At first, it is best to practice on a lake, calm rivers, a pond, waterways, and canals. Brackish water (which is a mix of salt/fresh water), and fresh water are the places to shoot for, as you will generally find a more relaxed situation.
Feel free to scope out the area for a good 20 minutes, and talk with fellow paddlers and boaters in that area so you know exactly what to expect. It is always best to bring a partner with you so that you can stay accountable for each other and keep one another safe.
Places to Avoid While Going Paddle Boarding
Most of these places to avoid have been covered above, but to further elaborate you want to most importantly go where you feel safe, avoid choppy water, avoid high traffic areas, avoid places where you can get stuck because tide is far too low, and avoid the ocean at first until you are more advanced.
The ocean can be a blast to paddle in, but you want to make sure you don't paddle out too far, the current can easily pull you out. You don't want to be pulled out so far that it can make it difficult to paddle back into shore, or where you'd find yourself too exhausted to make it back.
You may find yourself in a rip tide, which is a strong current caused by tidal flow that will pull you out to sea if you're not careful. If you ever find yourself caught in a rip tide, and being pulled by the ocean outside of your control, remain calm and paddle parallel to the shore. Following these directions will get you out of this nasty situation, once you're out and safe, paddle back to the shore and give yourself a break until you're ready to go out again.
General Precautions to Consider
As stated at the beginning of the article safety always come first. If you ever feel unsafe trust your instinct, and make adjustments, or paddle back to shore. Take all precautionary measures and always make sure you are fully prepared.
Bring a buddy so you will be able to look out for each other. If you don't have someone to go with, make sure you stay close to shore or have an emergency contact easily accessible on your cell phone that is fully charged, as well as a fully charged power bank as a backup.
This can be a fun sport and an awesome hobby for someone of all ages, I hope you were able to take some keynotes away from this article and you were able to learn something today.
Now get out there and have a blast paddle boarding and feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!