When you start getting into any sport it’s important to be aware of the potential risks, and stand-up paddleboarding is no different. Between unexpected weather conditions, heat exhaustion and hypothermia, and improper safety equipment, there are multiple dangers you need to be aware of, and you’ve come to the right place! So read on below to learn about the five most common dangers when stand-up paddleboarding and what you need to do to avoid them.
Heatstroke and dehydration
One of the most significant dangers when stand-up paddleboarding is that of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Heat exhaustion happens when your body overheats from a combination of hot weather and prolonged physical activity. As your body continues to heat up you begin to sweat profusely, which can lead to dehydration and continue to increase your body temperature. Heat exhaustion taken can lead to heatstroke as your body temperature increases past 105°F, which is when it becomes a serious medical issue.
A few tell-tale signs of heatstroke are nausea, vomiting, dry skin, and even loss of consciousness. If heatstroke goes untreated it can cause serious damage to the heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys. To help prevent heat exhaustion and heatstroke, always bring bottled water with you when you SUP. Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing that keeps your body protected from the sun but will still let air circulate on your skin. Always wear sunscreen and consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat. Not only will this help protect you from heatstroke, but it’ll also fend off any uncomfortable sunburns.
On the other end of the spectrum, when paddleboarding in cold water you need to be aware of the danger of hypothermia. A common mistake is to assume you don’t need to worry about hypothermia if the temperature is above freezing, but this is not the case. Hypothermia happens when your body temperature drops below 95°F, so it’s a danger even in water that’s well above freezing temperature.
If you’re paddleboarding in water that’s under 65°F, be sure to wear a wetsuit to help your body insulate better, and if the water is below 55°F you should be wearing a full drysuit to completely keep the water off of your body. In locations where hypothermia could be a risk, it’s important to make sure you don’t paddleboard alone and make sure you communicate with the other members of your party if you begin to feel unusually cold or experience a lack of coordination.
Getting caught in nasty weather
Other weather events besides extreme hot and cold can also be significant dangers when paddleboarding. This includes thunderstorms, severe wind, large waves, and more significant events like hurricanes. Always check the weather before you go out on the water so you know what you’re getting into. Additionally, make sure that you let family or friends know where you’ll be so that if worst comes to worst they’ll know where to send a search party.
When you first start paddleboarding it’s easy to become confident and think that you’re safe paddling in big waves and harsh winds, but this is not the case. While the wind may not seem like a big deal, when you’re standing on top of your paddleboard you essentially act as a human sail that the wind can use to push you and your board further and further out to sea. Paddling into the wind can be extremely difficult or impossible in many circumstances, so if you feel winds start picking up head back to shore immediately.
It should be obvious, but if you see lightning or hear thunder it’s important to get off the water as fast as possible. Water sports and thunderstorms do not make a good combination, so play it on the safe side and stay away from the water completely during storms. It’s helpful to check for any thunderstorm warnings in your area before you go so you don’t plan a day out just to have it ruined by the nasty weather.
Not wearing a board leash And Not Knowing How To Get Back Up On Board
Your most important piece of safety equipment when paddleboarding is a safety leash to keep you with your board. Being on top of a paddleboard helps you move through the water much more efficiently than swimming, so it’s harder to float out too far with the current. If you get hit by a big wave and fall off your board, you’ll want to have your board leash on and it can be potentially life-saving. Even if you don’t have a life jacket on, if you’re attached to your board you’ll be able to stay afloat. A board leash not only keeps you safe but also helps you keep your property by ensuring your SUP doesn’t get away from you. At the same time, you should definitely know how to get back up onto your board if you fall off. We have a blog post just for that as well as a Youtube video. All Surfstar SUPs come with a safety leash with a neoprene-padded cuff that goes around your ankle to keep you and your board safe from harm.
Not wearing a PFD
Almost as important as your safety leash is a personal flotation device, or PFD. This can come in the form of a traditional life jacket or a rapidly inflatable PFD belt or vest that you can activate in case of an emergency. These rapidly inflatable PFD’s can be a great option for SUP racers or those who plan to paddle for a long period of time and don’t want to wear a bulky life jacket. Which style you go with doesn’t matter, just make sure you choose a coast guard approved PFD so you can be sure it will function properly when the time comes that it is needed.
Paddleboarding is one of the most enjoyable water sports out there but can pose some serious risks if you don’t take the proper safety measures. There are chances for you to encounter marine or small wild animals, but usually they would leave you alone if not feel threatened. We have blog post just for that. But we thought these 5 aspects are the most common mistakes people got in trouble when go SUP. Please mind the risks out on the water to keep you and your friends and family safe. Remember to drink water, wear appropriate clothing, mind the weather, wear a board leash, and wear a personal flotation device. Your future self will thank you!