5 Essential SUP Safety Tips That You Should Know Before Paddling

SUP can be a great day out, however it always pays to be safe and ensure that you have everything to make sure you make it home safely!

1. Always use a leg rope. A paddle board leg rope is a critically important piece of safety gear. SUP leg ropes prevent you from becoming separated from your board — which can happen in a split second if the conditions are windy or there is strong current running. This can easily be avoided by simply wearing a leg rope.

2. Sun Protection. Protecting your skin from the sun's powerful rays is something that might not come to mind when you think of SUP safety, but it's a serious issue that everyone should take seriously. Being on the water for hours on end is a perfect way to get sunburnt. Make sure you wear good quality sunscreen, a hat and rash vest when you are on the water.

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3. Paddle with a Friend. Let someone know where you’re going or better yet bring a friend along with you. While SUP is a great way to escape the noise from every day life, play on the safe side and always let someone know where you are in case the worst happens. In the event something does happen, you have someone to help and get you out of trouble.

4. Keep an eye on the weather. Conditions can change quickly (particularly in Victoria!) and a perfect day for paddling can become a write over in a matter of minutes. Always check the weather conditions before you head out, so you can avoid any nasty surprises. We recommend keeping an eye on the BOM App (Bureau of Meteorology) for wind and warnings, and Coastalwatch for swell conditions.

5. Lifejacket. While they may not be the most beautiful to look at, a lifejacket is critical if you are taking a child, not a confident swimmer or if you are paddling long distances. The laws in Victoria state that if you are paddling more than 400m away from the shoreline then you must wear a lifejacket (Type 1, 2 or 3). When it comes to flotation, most paddlers typically use a traditional life jacket or inflatable belt PFD when paddling. Find out more about Life Jacket laws here.

Remember: Always paddle within your limits and if you are unsure on if it is safe to paddle then speak to a local who knows the area well or don’t go out.

Liam Robertson