With the growing popularity of Stand Up Paddle boarding there are more adventurers out on the water than ever before. Most of us, even brand new beginners can get ourselves on the board even if it’s just kneeling or sitting and have the ability to paddle forward. You may not be using proper form or the most efficient or effective strokes, you probably don’t even have the paddle turned in the proper direction, but you’re moving forward. What happens then when you’re out in the middle of the bay in boat traffic and you need to turn your rig around? While it is always my advice to take a lesson from a professional even for a basic recreational paddle, here are a few guidelines to get you started should you decide to venture out on your own.
1. KNOW THE WIND DIRECTION
If nothing else, know the wind direction before you paddle out. Begin paddling into the wind and allow the wind to be at your back when paddling back in to shore.
2. KNOW HOW TO TURN
Even if you aren’t proficient in proper technique you’re probably still going to be able to move your SUP forward with relative ease and if the wind is at your back you will be well on your way. But how do you get back? By watching my good friend and teacher, Mitch Mitchel in the you tube video below you can learn proper technique to getting your board turned around and paddle safely back to shore. Before heading out for a distance paddle, practice these fundamental strokes and turning techniques close to shore.
3. WEAR PROPER SAFETY GEAR
I know, I know. Nobody wants to wear the cumbersome PFD (Personal Flotation Device) but if you find yourself in deep water and in the position of needing one it suddenly becomes your best friend and it’s required by the US Coast Guard and needs to be worn at all time. Wear it. If your journey is going to take you beyond the swimming confines, in addition to wearing your PFD, you want to make sure you are wearing a leash and always carry a whistle or some sort of distress signaling device.