Many of us will be taking to the water this year on our SUPs and there’s a few essentials you will need when heading out on the water.
The essentials are things you should have with you for every paddle whatever the time of year and these include:
- Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) including paddle and fins (pump if an iSUP)
- Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
- SUP leash
- Rescue whistle
- Headtorch if you’ll be paddling near the hours of darkness
- Waterproof phone case and phone
- Small first aid kit
- Water bottle or hydration reservoir
Your leash is your life line that will keep you safely attached to your board if you end up in the water. Although this can be a danger if the incorrect leash is worn depending on the situation.
Coiled leash – this leash will stay on the back of your board not trailing in the water, picking up debris or getting snagged on any obstructions. A coiled leash should be used when paddling on canals, lakes and calm seas, attached to the ankle or calf.
Straight leash – this leash is used if you’re heading out surfing or heading into surf waters. These leashes are much longer allowing you to fall off without the board recoiling back towards you.
Quick Release (QR) waist belts – these should be used on flowing water, such as harbours, estuaries and rivers. You can either wear a manual belt that you pull to release if snagged under water or you can get one that automatically releases when put under pressure. These belts simply go around your waist where you can attach your coiled leash onto, if you were to be caught by something under the water you can release yourself from your board and whatever may be pulling you under the water.
I have a Pandaboard Sports quick release belt that cost under £20, this could save my life so worth every penny and is one of my essential pieces of kit.
Clothing and Footwear
You must dress for the water temperature not the air temperature. Ending up in the water can happen to the best of paddlers and can happen very suddenly, so always wear quick drying clothing and avoid cotton which can chill you off quickly when wet.
For warm weather and warm water, pick clothes that will dry out quickly:
- Rash vest or other sun-protective shirts
- Board shorts and swimming costumes/trunks
- Watershoes/neoprene boots/sandals
- Cap to keep the sun off your head
For cold weather and or cold water, pick clothes that will insulate:
- Neoprene top and bottoms or full wetsuit
- Neoprene gloves
- Neoprene boots
- Wool/synthetic hat and socks
- Full dry suit if you paddle regularly in cold water
When out on the water there are some other pieces you might want to carry with you which include:
- Waterproof camera and camera mount
- Pen knife
- SUP carry strap for portages (walking with your SUP between launch points)
- Sun cream
- Flip flops
Whatever you choose to take out on the water with you make sure you keep all the essentials in a dry bag (you can buy these cheaply on amazon) and that you’ve got everything you need in case of an emergency. Make sure you have fun and stay within waters that your skill set is suitable for and just enjoy the wonderful blue spaces and immerse yourself in nature!