Talk SUP - Water Safety

 

 

It is so important to hold a basic understanding of the weather conditions for SUP for those making journeys. It's also useful to hold greater respect for open water, such as the sea. There is so many important elements to consider such as winds, waves, tides, or swells (to name a few). A good way to think of it is that you are always a guest of insignificance when paddling in the ocean, and conditions can change dynamically within an instant, so it's vitally important to hold solutions and answer the 'what ifs'...

 

When planning SUP journeys, it's a good idea to pre-plan, check the kit is in working order, and in the lead-up to launch day review three reputable weather source applications to get a good grasp of what the weather is likely to be doing. However, please be mindful it's not exact, so do take the opportunity to speak with local experts wherever possible, such as RNLI Beach Lifeguards. The team are highly trained in safety and understands the local landscape and equally the hazards which may exist for that particular location and also conditions for that day. *Even then you you may still require to react and pivot if conditions change while you on the water (which can happen) - you need to be able to analyse and dynamically assess the landscape to help minimise risk and keep it memorable for all the right reasons.

Planning is Key

To expand on our planning point above, for any SUP Adventure within the coastal environment planning is paramount to reduce risk and maximise self-safety.

It is useful to study and understand the Beaufort Scale for which we've provided a handy table for you to refer back to below:

Once you've mastered the table, we'd recommend 'check and check again' a minimum of three weather applications to gain a better handle on what the weather forecast might be for the route you have in mind. You'll need to get in the habit of checking the night before, and then performing a 2nd check on the day you want to paddle. Beaufort Force 0-2 is generally ok, even 3, however, it all comes down to competency, awareness and understanding of the conditions you can paddle in, and how to read the environment. 

 

 

The apps above are all useful to compare and contrast meteorological components such as wind speed/gusts, wind direction, wave height, swell distance etc. 

To learn more on the formation of each feel free to check out our Wind, Wave and Swells & Tidal Formation articles. 

If SUP Wales were to offer one piece of advice, above all, it would be to communicate effectively, whether you're on a lesson, in a shop, at the boathouse or beach to ask open questions and listen with an open mind, the more information you process, the easier it should be to retain and pass on that information to others on how to assess the water dangers which once understood can help to reduce risk and help save lives. Seeking solid professional guidance from professional local services can help here too. 

Coincidentally, the AMAZING RNLI in Swansea, United Kingdom recently posted an important announcement that we'd highly recommend reviewing which reveals Top Beach Safety Advice for Paddleboarders. You may find the link here. 


 Finally, SUP Wales would like to take a moment to say thank you to the RNLI for their continuation of work within the Welsh community to keep the public safe, both on & off the water. 

Such a superb charity - Diolch yn fawr iawn a daliwch ati gyda'r gwaith da!