Paddle boarding on a Windy Day
Wind and Paddleboarding don't always mix well. For those days that are a little windy here are our best tips on making it a crazy fun adventure!
As we’ve mentioned in other blog posts, the wind is not your friend on a stand up paddle board. In fact, it can create very dangerous circumstances as your high center of gravity causes you to act like a sail on your board. With the proper precautions, you won’t find yourself in harm’s way.
First and foremost, make sure that you are wearing both a leash and a PFD when you head out. A strong wind can create a lot of chop that knocks you off your board.
If you aren’t attached to your board with a leash, that same wind can send your SUP far from you and you may not be able to catch up to it by swimming – especially when you factor in the fact that you need to keep track of your paddle as well.
Check the wind forecast before you head out for the day. Windfinder.com is a great source that will tell you the current speed of the wind at the body of water you are heading out to and what to expect the rest of the day. I
t will also give you an idea of wind direction. If the wind is blowing stronger than 10-12 mph, you may want to skip your SUP session.
Check the Wind Direction
It’s critical that you don’t start your paddle with the wind at your back. This is especially important if you are paddling in the ocean and have an offshore breeze.
Before you know it, you will be way too far out, and you will have to expend quite a bit more energy when you try to get back or you could find yourself stranded.
Use landmarks like flags and trees to determine which way the wind is blowing and start your paddle session heading into the wind.
Learn to read the water in terms of which way the ripples are moving. Whitecaps obviously mean it’s blowing hard. You will end up working strenuously at the beginning of your paddle but will then get a nice respite on your trip back.
Depending how hard the wind is gusting, you may have an exciting joyride on the way back.
Strategies for Paddling into the Wind
You will want to lower your center of gravity as you head into the wind so that you aren’t as large of an obstacle to be pushed against.
Bring your lower hand a bit closer to your upper hand which will force the paddle deeper into the water which will increase the power of each stroke.
Make sure to “feather” your paddle as you remove it from the water so that the slide of the blade can easily slice through the wind. If you still aren’t making headway, try getting down on your knees and paddling from there.
The smaller you are, the less resistance you will face. If that doesn’t work, lie flat on your stomach on the board with the front of your paddle facing against the board and your chest holding it down.
Paddle with your hands just like the surfers do. You will find that you are able to cut through the wind easily in this position.
Wind is a fact of SUP life. With the proper understanding, strategies, and precautions it shouldn’t be a dealbreaker and can actually add some excitement to your paddle board excursion.