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Chris Kenyon, Academy of Surfing Instructors CEO for the UK and Europe ventured out onto the water to demonstrate a few elements when using a Quick Release Waist Belt for Stand Up Paddling.

Conditions – Air temp 11﮿C, Water temp 4﮿C.

Air speed and direction – 22 knots continual, 34 knots gusting. SW wind.

Location – Cliff Lakes, UK. Enclosed flat water location.

Wipeout with Quick Release (QR) waist belt – Demonstration of getting back on with a QR belt.

One of the concerns with anything attached to the paddle boarder will be the hinderance of stopping them getting back onto the board.

The QR belt did not cause Chris any hinderance when getting back onto his board. He was able to pull his upper body onto the deck quickly. The belt itself remained in place and ready to use.

Wipeout with QR belt/Buoyancy Aid (BA)

The added element of a Buoyancy Aid can also have the potential to stop the paddler getting onto the board. In Practice, although you are aware that the BA is there, it is still relatively easy to get back on the board even in challenging conditions. 

The BA was a fairly bulky item of kit and Chris could feel it on the rail of the board when pulling himself on.

More often than not it can be lack of upper body strength or not enough experience in getting back on a board that can slow or inhibit the inexperienced paddler from getting back on the board with a BA.

Attachment of QR belt – with correct length.

The Panda QR waist belt is easy to put on. Chris was using the standard length leash which was enough for his body type (32 inch waist). Before putting the belt on he inserted his ankle leash into the loop at the back. Chris finds this easier to do than trying to attach the leash while the belt is on. 

Once the leash is attached you simply put the belt on with the toggles at the front. Chris finds the middle of his stomach area to be the best place for this.

QR belt release in flatwater.

The last thing Chris tried out was taking off the QR belt in an enclosed flatwater location. 

Due to the conditions this was a more challenging task than he had imagined. Firstly, he tried to reach his ankle to see how easily he could access the leash. This was harder than he thought due to the wind and cold water. Although possible, it was much easier to access the waist belt toggle. 

Once Chris pulled the toggle the leash was released and he was able to swim away from the board.  Although it is still possible to access the ankle cuff fairly quickly, it was easier in the more challenging conditions to reach the QR belt toggle. This has to be considered when going out for a paddle session. 

Will the ankle cuff or the waist leash be your best option? 

Ability level and conditions need to be assessed. The wind was pushing the board and Chris in different directions and the cold made it harder for him to use his hands. 

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