RIVER PADDLING - IF THINGS GO WRONG ON YOUR PADDLEBOARD
Follow the Safety First rules to stay safe.
If you do find yourself caught in a strong current or headwind, try paddling while kneeling or sitting. If you are still having trouble, lay down, with the blade of your paddle under you, shaft towards the front, and paddle straight back to shore using your hands. Go slowly. Rest periodically.
Hitting obstacles. The best way to avoid hitting an obstacle with your board is prevention. Keep an eye out at all times for rocks, logs, shallow areas, shorelines that could snag the fin of your paddleboard, jar your board to a halt, and throw you off.
If you do encounter an obstacle at the last minute there are paddle techniques for making quick turns, which you can learn in a SUP lesson.
If you don’t know how to turn quickly, drop to your knees immediately. You can paddle from your knees and won’t fall off if your fin hits the obstacle.
If you do hit an obstacle, or encounter a condition such as a big wave, and start to fall, don’t try to stay on. Jump away from the board and paddle. The risk here is hitting your head or body on board or paddle as you fall. Water is soft, SUPs aren’t.
If you do fall off, always swim to the board first, then lay on the board and paddle with your hands to pick up the paddle. Paddles won’t drift too far, but your board will, and you can use a board to float on, you can't float on a paddle.
Climb back on. Move to the middle of the board, hold the handle, let your feet float to the surface, kick your feet and move yourself onto the board before trying to climb on as though you were mounting a horse.
If you are unsure about your ability to get back on a paddleboard or watercraft, never paddle alone and be very sure you can swim and are using all safety equipment at all times.
If you can’t get back on and you are alone, don’t panic and don’t struggle trying to get on, you’ll only get exhausted.
Don't remove your leash or PFD!
Stay with your craft. It is much easier for rescuers to find the board than a person swimming in the water and you can paddle your board much faster than you can swim.
Head for shallow water. Hold on to the side or back of your board, and kick your feet in the direction of shore or shallow water. Go slowly. Rest periodically. Don’t worry.
Call us to be picked up. That’s where your phone comes in very handy.
Use your whistle - three blasts mean “I need help”.