So you’ve tried SUP on holiday, or perhaps with friends, but you want to start going further, paddling more or just feeling more relaxed on the board? Here’s some tips to build your confidence paddleboarding this summer.
If paddling alone: Have a float plan
If you’re heading out by yourself, it pays to have a float plan. A float plan is basically a fancy name for all of the details about where you’re going, your route, what time you’ll be on the water and what time you expect to be off the water which you share with someone else (friend/partner etc) before you paddle. You then set an agreement with this person that you will text them when you’re off the water, and if they don’t hear from you by the time that’s agreed on your float plan, they should contact either your next of kin, a life guard or maritime. Having a float plan will give you peace of mind while on the water, knowing that someone is looking out for you.
Find SUP buddies
Paddling is heaps more fun with SUP buddies! Additionally, SUP buddies are great to boost your confidence and inspire you to venture further or to new locations. If you’re new to SUP and seeking SUP buddies in your local area, check out the She SUPs Community on Facebook, we have hundreds of women from across Australia in the community, so I’m sure there will be someone nearby to you!
Be SUP safe: check the conditions before you paddle
Wind is probably a paddle boarders favourite (or least favourite) topic of conversation! Knowledge about wind, currents and tides is vitally important for paddle boarders. Check out websites like Seabreeze and Willy Weather which offer a great hour by hour wind and tide forecast before you SUP. As a guideline for wind, my safety limit for She SUPs paddles is 12 knots of wind. Typically if the forecast is 12 knots (approx 22 kph) or above, it isn’t going to be an easy or enjoyable SUP experience for newbies. If you’re heading to a new location that you haven’t paddled before, ask around either within your friendship groups or ask a local kayak/SUP business in that area to gain information about how that location is impacted by tides, currents and wind so that you’re equipped with knowledge before you arrive!
Breathe, enjoy and have a laugh!
Possibly one of the greatest things about SUP is that it’s a relaxing, whole body exercise, that is incredibly fun and incredibly social!! There is no pressure to go fast or far, some of my favourite SUP memories have just been just floating around a small bay with friends, lying on my Red Paddle Co inflatable board soaking up the sun and occasionally jumping off the board for a swim. The more you paddle and the more fun you have, the more you’ll naturally learn about the conditions, environments and boost your confidence.
Happy paddling and maybe see you on the water!
Vikki Weston is the Founder of She SUPs, an all women’s stand-up paddle boarding community. She SUPs’ aims to empower women and girls through SUP education, lower barriers to entry by designing unique SUP experiences exclusively for women, and cultivate a strong supportive network of like minded SUP-loving women from around the world, that can inspire each other to hit the water, and gain all of the incredible mental and physical benefits that being on the water brings.