Standing Safe: Accessories For Safer Paddleboarding

Friday, 21 April 2017

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Who doesn’t love paddleboarding? There is an overwhelming sense of freedom when you’re out on the water; it’s just you, your paddle, your board, and a vast amount of water all around you. When you’re out paddleboarding, you get to control where you go and your energy is fuelled by the excitement of exploring local bays, lakes and rivers; there’s nothing quite like it! There are health benefits too, but that’s secondary to the fun feel-good factors in our opinion.

Like any other water sport, paddleboarding does pose a few risks. While we want everyone to have fun while they're out on their paddleboard, a couple of safety measures – ones that enable you to steer clear of any dangers – are a huge priority. As the northern hemisphere heads into summer, paddleboarding will soon become a daily activity for most. Before you head out for a paddle though, make sure you’ve got these essentials ready to join you on the water.

Paddleboarding leash

This may seem like basic paddleboarding 101, but it’s an essential that is all too often overlooked. Your leash attaches you to your paddleboard so that, in the unfortunate event that you lose your balance or get knocked off your board, you can stay close to each other. One big gust of wind can send your paddleboard away from your reach – and having to chase your board is a recipe for exhaustion.

While most boards will come standard with a leash, it’s all about the right kind of leash for your application. Those of you who prefer river paddleboarding will know that, when you fall off your board, being attached to a leash is not ideal as the cord can quickly get tangled amongst branches and rocks. A quick release (breakaway) leash is vital for survival in these sorts of settings, and an important investment to keep with all your paddleboarding gear.

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Bouyancy belt

Balancing can be hard enough but when you throw a big, bulky life jacket into the mix, it can definitely make paddleboarding more difficult (not to mention, not quite as sexy!) Unfortunately, paddle boarding is a water sport and, as such, requires the use of a buoyancy device (it’s even the law in many countries). However as much as we know that we’re all supposed to ‘suit up’ every time we’re out on the water, many of us are guilty of not always doing so.

No matter how close you are to the shore, or how experienced you are as a swimmer, for optimum safety, some sort of lifejacket is a fashion accessory you’ve just got to learn to love! However, there are options. If you’re after something a little bit more low key, so as to not ruin your street (or water!) cred, you don’t have to look far. We love the trend towards more ‘bumbelt’ type inflatable lifejackets on the market. Hutchwilco’s one has twice the buoyancy of a conventional foam lifejacket and inflates with CO2 at the pull of a cord, turning the wearer onto their back. It’s also got a zip up pocket for keeping your sunscreen and sunglasses in; now that’s handy!

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FUSION StereoActive

This bad boy is more than just a music playing device and, although it’s not the number one safety essential while you’re out on the water, it can definitely help in a few ways! Before you head out, you need to be equipped with more than just your board and paddle – you also need some degree of knowledge of the weather conditions. Not only is being stuck on the water in the middle of a storm dangerous, it’s also not entirely fun. The StereoActive has a built in Weatherband radio (USA only) to make sure you know what you’re in for before you head out for your adventure, and to keep you updated on the ever-changing weather conditions while you’re out on the water.

Having your phone run out of juice is a nightmare; after all, it’s the all-important source of your paddling playlist. Not only that though, it’s also your way of contacting help if you got into trouble out there. It’s only any use though if it’s got some battery! Short of yelling out to an unlikely passerby, the StereoActive enables you to charge your phone; it’ll be full of juice again in no time.

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While it seems that lots of the latest smartphones are waterproof, dropping your phone into a puddle (or out of your pocket and into the toilet bowl… we’ve all done that!) is vastly different to dropping it into an ocean or lake where you can’t see, or reach, the bottom! Luckily, while you’re paddling you can keep your phone safe and dry in the ActiveSafe – a watertight compartment that stores all your valuables while you’re on the water.

Slip, slop, slap – and wrap

At the risk of sounding like your mother here, there is little more important than slip, slop, slapping on plenty of sunscreen to protect you from the sun’s harsh rays. When you’re out paddleboarding you have minimal shade or protection from the sun, so regular application is vital.

When you’re out for hours at a time, having to reapply sunblock can be a hassle, especially if you’ve fallen off a few too many times and you’re dripping wet. Make sure you wear either a wetsuit (for the cooler months) or a rash shirt to protect your skin from sun damage. Even if you’re only going out for a quick morning paddle and the weather looks cloudy, be sun safe – because sunburn is never sexy!

Images thanks to RED Paddle Co.

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