Paddleboarding is a fantastic way to explore the water and connect with nature. Still, just like any activity, there are certain things that you should avoid to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
In this article, we will highlight the key things you should avoid when paddle boarding.
So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner hitting the waves for the first time, keep reading to find out what not to do when paddle boarding and make the most of your time on the water.
Not Using a Leash
Leashes are essential for safety.
Using a leash is one of the most crucial safety precautions regarding paddle boarding. A leash is a simple yet effective tool that always keeps you connected to your board. By wearing a leash, you ensure that even if you fall off your board, it will stay within reach, preventing it from drifting away. This is especially crucial in areas with strong currents or busy waterways where losing your board can have serious consequences. So, always remember to use a leash and prioritize your safety on the water.
Types of leashes for paddle boarding
Various types of leashes are explicitly designed for paddle boarding, each with advantages. The most common type is the ankle leash, which attaches to your ankle and keeps the board close to you. An ankle leash is ideal for flatwater paddling, allowing quick and easy movements. Another type is the coiled leash, which reduces drag in the water and prevents the leash from tangling. This type is excellent for surf or whitewater paddling, where you need more freedom of movement. So, choose a leash that suits your paddle-boarding style, and always remember to attach it properly.
How to properly attach a leash
Attaching a leash to your paddle board may seem like a simple task, but it’s essential to do it correctly to ensure your safety. To attach the leash, locate the leash plug on the rear end of your paddle board. Insert the leash string through the leash plug and make sure it is securely fastened. Next, put the leash cuff around your ankle or calf, depending on the leash type, and fasten it tightly. It’s crucial to check the leash attachment before every paddle session to ensure it is secure and won’t come loose while you’re on the water. Taking these small steps beforehand will give you peace of mind and allow you to enjoy your paddle-boarding experience fully.
Ignoring Weather and Water Conditions
Checking the weather forecast
Before heading out for a paddle boarding adventure, it’s essential to check the weather forecast. Weather conditions can significantly impact your experience on the water, and not paying attention to them can lead to dangerous situations. Strong winds, thunderstorms, or unexpected changes in the weather can make your paddle-boarding excursion hazardous. By staying informed about the forecast, you can make informed decisions and choose the right time and place to paddle.
Understanding the impact of wind
The wind is a crucial factor to consider when paddle boarding. In addition to affecting your balance and stability, it can make paddling more challenging. If there is a strong headwind, it can slow down your progress and require more effort to paddle. On the other hand, a strong tailwind may seem advantageous, but it can make it harder to steer and control your board. It’s essential to know the wind direction and speed before embarking on your paddle-boarding journey and adjust your route accordingly.
Considering the water conditions
Apart from the weather, it’s equally important to pay attention to the water conditions. Factors like waves, tides, and currents can significantly impact your ability to paddle and navigate. If you’re a beginner, starting with calm waters, such as lakes or slow-moving rivers, is best to gain confidence and practice your skills. You can explore more challenging environments like the ocean or whitewater as you progress. However, it’s crucial to continually assess the water conditions and choose locations that match your experience level. Ignoring the water conditions can put you at risk of accidents or getting into situations beyond your capabilities.
Knowing the impact of currents
Currents are a powerful force in bodies of water, and it’s essential to understand how they can affect your paddle-boarding experience. It’s crucial to be aware of the direction and strength of the current, as it can make paddling against it highly challenging. If you find yourself caught in a strong current, it’s advisable to conserve your energy and paddle across it rather than trying to fight against it. Additionally, currents can also influence the behavior of your board, making it harder to control. Knowing the currents in the area you’re paddling will help you make informed decisions and ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure.
Not Wearing a Personal Floatation Device (PFD)
Importance of wearing a PFD
Wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) is an essential safety measure that should never be overlooked while paddle boarding. A PFD is a life-saving device designed to keep you afloat in case of an unexpected fall or emergency. Even if you are a confident swimmer, factors like fatigue, injuries, or sudden changes in weather or water conditions can leave you vulnerable. A properly fitted PFD will provide buoyancy and support, giving you added peace of mind and ensuring your safety on the water.
Choosing the correct PFD for paddle boarding
When choosing a PFD for paddle boarding, there are a few key factors to consider. First, opt for a PFD designed explicitly for paddlers, as they offer more excellent maneuverability and freedom of movement. Look for a PFD that is comfortable and fits snugly without restricting your range of motion. Choosing a PFD approved by relevant safety standards, such as the United States Coast Guard (USCG) or your country’s equivalent, is also essential. By selecting the correct PFD for your paddle-boarding needs, you can enjoy your time on the water without compromising your safety.
It is appropriately fitting and securing a PFD.
Once you have chosen the appropriate PFD for paddle boarding, it’s crucial to ensure it is properly fitted and secured. Start by loosening all the straps on the PFD and then put it on. Adjust the straps to achieve a snug fit, ensuring that the PFD is snug but not too tight, as this can restrict your movements. Ensure the PFD adequately covers your chest and torso and that the buckles and zippers are securely fastened. Double-check the fit by performing movements, such as bending and reaching, to ensure the PFD stays in place. Taking the time to fit and secure your PFD properly will enhance your comfort and safety while paddle boarding.
Standing in the Wrong Spot on the Board
Finding the right stance on the board
Finding the right stance on the paddle board is fundamental for balance and stability. Standing in the wrong spot can throw off your equilibrium, leading to difficulty paddling and maintaining control. The ideal stance is to position yourself in the center of the board, with your feet hip-width apart. This distributes your weight evenly and keeps you centered, allowing for better balance and control. By finding the correct stance, you’ll paddle more efficiently and decrease the chances of falling off.
Avoiding standing too far back or forward
One common mistake among beginner paddle boarders is standing too far back or forward on the board. Standing too far back can cause the front of the board to rise out of the water, making it challenging to maneuver and control. Conversely, standing too far forward can result in the tail of the board sinking, slowing you down and making it harder to paddle. To avoid these issues, find the sweet spot by positioning yourself in the center of the board. This will ensure your weight is evenly distributed and allow for optimal balance and stability.
Maintaining balance and stability
Maintaining balance and stability on a paddle board is crucial for a smooth and enjoyable experience. In addition to finding the proper stance, you can employ a few techniques to enhance your stability. Engage your core muscles by keeping your abdominal muscles tight, as this provides a stable foundation. Keep your gaze fixed on the horizon rather than looking down at your feet, which helps maintain balance. It’s also helpful to shift your weight slightly side to side or front to back to adjust to changes in water or wind conditions. You’ll develop better balance and stability with practice, allowing you to paddle in various situations confidently.
Not Using Correct Paddling Technique
Understanding the correct paddle grip
Using the correct paddle grip is essential for efficient and effective paddling. Gripping the paddle incorrectly can lead to unnecessary muscle strain and fatigue. The proper grip involves holding the paddle with both hands, ensuring that your hands are shoulder-width apart. Your top hand should be gripping the paddle shaft with your fingertips pointing down while your bottom hand holds the handle with your palm facing up. By maintaining the correct paddle grip, you can paddle efficiently and reduce the risk of discomfort or injury.
Using a proper paddle stroke
Mastering the proper paddle stroke technique is vital to maximizing paddling efficiency and minimizing energy expenditure. Start by fully extending your arm before you with the paddle blade submerged in the water. Pull the paddle through the water, using your core and upper body strength rather than just your arms. As you reach your hip, lift the paddle out of the water and repeat the stroke on the other side. Maintaining a smooth and fluid motion is essential, avoiding any abrupt or jerky movements. With practice, the proper paddle stroke technique will become second nature, allowing you to paddle longer distances quickly.
Avoiding common mistakes in paddling technique
A few common mistakes in the paddleboarding technique should be avoided. One mistake is using just the arms to paddle, leading to muscle fatigue and inefficiency. Instead, focus on engaging your core muscles and using your entire upper body for propulsion. Another mistake is holding the paddle too close to the board, resulting in an inefficient stroke. Ensure that your stroke starts with the paddle fully immersed in the water, allowing you to generate maximum power. Lastly, avoid leaning too far forward as you paddle, which can reduce your balance and affect your stability. By being mindful of these common mistakes, you can improve your paddling technique and have a more enjoyable paddleboarding experience.
Neglecting Sun Protection
Importance of sun protection while paddle boarding
Sun protection is often overlooked while engaging in outdoor activities like paddle boarding. However, it’s crucial to prioritize sun protection to prevent sunburns, skin damage, and long-term health issues. The sun’s rays are intensified while on the water due to reflection, making it essential to take precautions. Protecting your skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays allows you to enjoy your paddle-boarding adventures without worrying about sunburn or other sun-related conditions.
Wearing appropriate clothing and accessories
Choosing the proper clothing and accessories is critical to protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics that cover your skin, such as long-sleeved shirts and pants. Consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat to shield your face and neck from direct sunlight. Don’t forget a pair of UV-protective sunglasses to shield your eyes from the glare and harmful UV rays. Additionally, water shoes or sandals protect your feet from hot surfaces and potential cuts or scrapes. You can enjoy the paddleboarding experience while minimizing sun exposure by dressing appropriately.
Applying sunscreen properly
Applying sunscreen correctly is another crucial aspect of sun protection while paddle boarding. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) and apply it generously to all exposed areas of your body. Don’t forget to cover commonly overlooked areas such as the ears, back of the neck, and tops of the feet. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more frequently if you are sweating or getting in and out of the water. Remember, even if it’s cloudy or overcast, UV rays can still penetrate the clouds, so always prioritize sunscreen for optimal sun protection.
Not Paying Attention to Surroundings
Being aware of other water users
While enjoying your paddle-boarding adventure, being aware of other water users is essential. This includes individuals on kayaks, canoes, boats, or even other paddle boarders. Being mindful of your surroundings helps prevent accidents and ensures a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. When encountering others, communicate clearly and give way when necessary. By being a responsible water user and observing right-of-way rules, you contribute to a positive and harmonious water environment.
Avoiding potential hazards and obstacles
While paddle boarding, it’s essential to watch for potential hazards and obstacles in the water. This includes rocks, submerged branches, floating debris, and even wildlife. Avoid paddling in areas with shallow or turbulent waters, as these present a greater risk of collision or injury. If you spot an obstacle or hazard, maneuver around it safely and with caution. By staying vigilant and proactive, you can prevent accidents and ensure a smooth paddle-boarding experience.
Understanding right-of-way rules
Understanding and following right-of-way rules is crucial for maintaining safety on the water. Please familiarize yourself with the rules applicable in your location, as they may vary based on local regulations and waterway usage. Larger vessels have the right of way over smaller vessels, and paddle craft should yield to motorized boats. However, it’s always a good practice to be courteous and yield to others as needed, regardless of the right-of-way rules. You contribute to a safe and respectful water environment by respecting these rules.
Attempting Advanced Techniques Without Proper Skill
Mastering basic paddling skills first
Before attempting advanced techniques on your paddle board, it’s essential to master the basic paddling skills. This includes paddling in a straight line, turning, and stopping effectively. Building a solid foundation of core paddling skills will give you the confidence and ability to progress to more challenging techniques. Spend ample time practicing and refining your basic skills before moving on to advanced maneuvers.
We are gradually progressing to advanced techniques.
Once you have mastered the basic paddling skills, you can gradually progress to advanced techniques. This may include pivot turns, surfing waves, or performing tricks. It’s essential to take a gradual approach, gradually increasing the difficulty level as you gain proficiency and confidence. Rushing into advanced techniques without the necessary skills can lead to accidents or frustration. Remember, paddle boarding is a journey, and it’s more important to enjoy the process of learning and improving rather than rushing to achieve advanced maneuvers.
Seeking professional instruction or guidance
If you aspire to explore advanced paddle-boarding techniques, seeking professional instruction or guidance is highly recommended. Enroll in a paddle boarding lesson or join a guided tour led by experienced instructors or guides.
They can provide valuable insights, offer personalized feedback, and teach you the proper techniques and safety measures for advanced maneuvers. Professional instruction helps you develop the skills and knowledge to safely and confidently attempt advanced techniques.
Overestimating Your Abilities
Knowing your limits and abilities
One of the most critical aspects of paddle boarding or any water sport is knowing your limits and abilities. It’s essential to be honest about your skill level, fitness level, and comfort in different water and weather conditions.
Overestimating your abilities can put you at risk of accidents, fatigue, or getting into situations beyond your capabilities. Always paddle within your comfort zone, gradually pushing your limits as you gain experience and build confidence.
Avoiding overly challenging conditions
While it can be tempting to seek out extreme or challenging conditions for an adrenaline rush, it’s crucial to avoid overly challenging conditions unless you have the necessary skills and experience. Factors like strong winds, large waves, or fast currents require advanced paddling skills and the ability to make quick decisions under pressure. If you’re not confident in navigating these conditions, staying in calmer waters and gradually building up to more challenging environments is best. Remember, safety should always be the top priority.
Refraining from taking unnecessary risks
When paddle boarding, it’s essential to refrain from taking unnecessary risks. This includes attempting maneuvers or exploring areas beyond your skill level or comfort zone. Acting recklessly or impulsively can lead to accidents, injuries, or even jeopardize the safety of others.
Always make sensible decisions based on your abilities and the prevailing conditions. By exercising caution and avoiding unnecessary risks, you can enjoy your paddle-boarding experience while keeping yourself and others safe.
Disregarding Board Maintenance
Proper care and cleaning of the paddleboard
Paddleboards, like any equipment, require proper care and maintenance to ensure their longevity and optimal performance. After each paddleboarding session, rinse your board with fresh water to remove saltwater, sand, or dirt. Use a mild soap or board cleaner if necessary, ensuring it is suitable for the material of your board.
It’s essential to thoroughly dry the board before storage to prevent damage and the growth of mold or mildew. Regularly inspect your board for any damage, such as cracks or dings, and address them promptly to prevent further issues.
Checking for damage or wear
Regularly checking for damage or wear is crucial to maintaining the integrity of your paddleboard. Before each use, inspect the board for any signs of damage, such as cracks, scratches, or delamination.
Pay attention to the fin box, leash plug, or any other areas prone to wear. If you notice any issues, it’s advisable to have them repaired or replaced by a professional. Neglecting minor damages can lead to significant problems down the line and affect the performance and lifespan of your board.
Storing the board correctly
It is appropriately storing your paddleboard when unused, which is essential for its safety and longevity. Store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. If possible, keep the board in a board bag or protective cover to minimize the risk of damage.
Avoid resting heavy objects on the board, which can cause deformation or cracks. If storing the board vertically, use proper board racks or stands to ensure stability. By storing your paddleboard correctly, you’ll prolong its lifespan and keep it in optimal condition for countless future adventures.
In conclusion, paddle boarding offers a beautiful way to connect with nature and enjoy the beauty of the water. However, it’s crucial to prioritize safety and avoid common mistakes to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Always use a leash, pay attention to weather and water conditions, wear a PFD, find the proper stance on the board, use the correct paddling technique, protect yourself from the sun, stay aware of your surroundings, progress gradually, know your abilities, and take care of your paddleboard. By following these guidelines, you can make the most of your paddle-boarding adventures while keeping yourself and others safe. So, grab your paddle board, embrace the beauty of the water, and have a fantastic paddle-boarding experience!