SUP Safety Tips When Leaving Your Comfort Zone
To improve and develop skills in life, methodically getting out of your comfort zone is key! In stand up paddle boarding the same holds true. What ever your weakest link or links are, these areas will always limit you from gaining a more skilled repertoire. Breaking down the areas that intimidate you into smaller planned focused sessions can reap improvement both mentally and physically.
Here are some guidelines to consider when attempting to push your comfort zone;
1.) Never take large risks that could be catastrophic to yourself, others, or your equipment.
2.) Always file a float plan with at least one other person, preferably two.
3.) Wear a PFD. This rings true whether testing your limits or paddling recreationally.
4.) If you use an inflatable PFD, inspect and clean the CO2 cartridge before every paddle, and replace if needed. On longer adventures consider packing a spare cartridge.
5.) Have a working cell phone or marine hand-held radio that are fully charged. Make sure this equipment is well-secured in the event of capsize or falling off your boat.
6.) Check all marine conditions for the area you will be paddling in.
7.) Wear your leash and ensure it is properly connected to your board. Check webbing for frays/breaks and replace when necessary.
8.) Ensure you are dressed appropriately for the conditions, if needed pack additional layers in a dry-bag.
9.) Be aware of areas more prone to paddlers, and always avoid known sharky areas.
10.) Check with your local Fish & Wildlife/Watershed Management regarding Algae Blooms. These areas should be avoided at all costs when in bloom.
11.) When really sending it, consider paddling with a partner who you trust to know and act on the list covered above.
12.) If all hell breaks loose don't wait to call for help immediately. Don't be ashamed or scared to call the authorities.
Be smart, have a plan, and enjoy challenging yourself to improve your water skills on your stand up paddle board.