Wind is the biggest danger for new and inexperienced paddlers.
The large surface area of a board makes it easy for wind to blow the board across the water’s surface, with you on it. Before you know it, you can be far from land, or blown out to sea if you are paddling in a coastal location.
The wind doesn’t even have to be very strong to get you into trouble.
When you are paddling with the wind, it pushes you along. It feels easy to paddle and you can travel quite fast. However, if you have to paddle back the way you came, you will be paddling directly into the wind. You may have to paddle especially hard and have good levels of stamina. Otherwise, you could become tired very quickly and find yourself in serious trouble.
Always check the wind direction
Is the wind blowing from the land out to the ocean? This is the most dangerous. This wind can carry you out to sea very quickly and you may have trouble paddling back to shore.
- Spend some time working out the wind direction before setting out on your paddle.
- Ask the lifeguards or ask Surf or SUP school instructors if unsure.
- Check weather reports and flags on the beach – they show which way the wind is blowing and the forecast ahead.
- If in doubt, stay close to the shore.
- Only go out in the ocean when there is little or no wind.
- Alternatively, paddle on rivers and canals where you can easily get to shore if you start to feel tired.
- Always be aware of distance from shore when you are paddling. Look around you to see how far you have travelled.
- Remember, wind is your enemy. It can change at a minutes notice.
- Don’t let your guard down.
- Visit a SUP school and join in their paddles. Have lessons or enrol in courses to learn more about paddling, wind and the weather where you know you are in good hand