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”.
Paddle with a partner whenever possible or at least tell someone your paddle route and stick to it.
Wear a leash when you SUP. Always. A leash is the simplest way to stay with your SUP, no matter what happens.
Wear an approved PFD. If you must take it off (and we don’t advise it) ensure it is safely tied to your board and always within reach.
Make sure your PFD has a whistle attached. Sometimes they can fall off and not be noticed by staff. It’s your responsibility to ensure you have what you need. It’s the law.
If you are in a kayak or canoe, also be sure you have a bailing bucket and tow rope.
DO NOT stand up close to shore, obstacles, or waves/boat wakes you are not sure you can navigate. Kneel or sit, not stand, when launching or coming in, and be sure the water is deep enough and obstacle free before standing up. (Obviously, this pertains to paddleboards, never stand up in a canoe or kayak.)
Wear the right apparel for the weather (ie a hat in the heat, a wetsuit if water is cold, etc.)
Take a mobile phone to use in an emergency. They are also great for taking photos and knowing what time to return. Campbellford SUP has floating waterproof pouches for sale, if you don’t have one.
Don’t go out hungry or thirsty. Blood sugar and hydration levels can drop with heat and exercise. Eat before you go, or take a snack and a non disposable water bottle. We have drinking water available and water bottles for sale. We no longer provide free plastic disposable bottles of water because of the number of bottle being left behind in the river.
Listen to and follow staff advice, such as location of hidden obstacles, direction of current or wind, etc. but also be ready for the possibility of something changing. Think ahead about possible risks and what you would do should things go wrong. Be prepared.