Safety Gear for Stand Up Paddler- A beginners guide for Winter SUP

Ever wondered how you can stay safe while being on a SUP trip? Alone, or with your children, friends, and family? Especially now in wintertime when the water is really cold and the rivers and lakes are very quiet and empty. Find some tips below about safety options for your SUP tours.

The Leash

Your board is your biggest and most important floating device. That means, make sure it is attached to you in the right way.

Definitely use a quick releasable leash in white water, which should be attached around your waist, for full control of the leash. Follow the link to see a nice solution for a waist belt leash.

When the water flow rate is fast and the conditions are bumpy and full of branches and other stuff where you can get caught on, you might consider not wearing a leash at all.

Otherwise, I would recommend to always wear a leash when you are alone out on the water.

However, a leash is such a comfortable way to stay connected to your board. Most of the leashes are lightweight and have soft material. They come coiled and uncoiled. The choice is, as always, up to you. Test it out and decide what suits your needs best. I have a coiled leash, and would always opt for one again.

The Lifejacket

A life jacket can be quite an uncomfortable undertaking. Nevertheless, a lifejacket is unnegotiable the right choice when going out on the water with kids. Additionally, you should always consider wearing a west when you go out alone during wintertime with Water temperatures under 12°C.

You know my mantra – test before buying. You need to feel comfortable when paddling in your west. Try on different options and make sure that you have the full range of motion while doing your routine. Find the link for the NRS range, the brand I am wearing, here.

The better the west fits, the more likely you are actually wearing it.

Originally, life jackets were made of cork, balsa wood, and other natural material. Nowadays, mostly used materials are plastic foams, such as polyvinyl chloride and polyethylene.

Make sure your west fits and is the right choice to avoid unnecessary plastic trash.

Other PFD Options

A PFD short for Personal Floating Device does not necessarily have to be a Lifejacket. More comfortable and elegant options are available. Brands like NRS and RESTUBE offer PFDs that open after releasing a little CO2 cartridge.

Those smaller devices have the clear advantage that they can be worn as a belt and do not disturb any paddling activity.

The downside is that cartridges need to be replaced. Compared to a west that does the job all the time with no additional cost. Otherwise, what also can happen is that you are going out without a cartridge, as I did on the pic below 😉


The appropriate apparel

When Summer temperatures invite you to only wear shorts or a bikini, it is the best and most carefree time you can have with your board.

Otherwise, when outside temperatures are low and the water temperature dropped to almost freezing, this is the time when you need to be prepared for worst-case scenarios.

A neoprene solution or a drysuit, depending on temperature, conditions, and activity should always be considered.

One can easily overestimate their swimming capabilities and protecting cloth will keep you covered, at least for a while.

Also, please consider all the forces that you can face on the water such as wind and rain when preparing for your winter trip.


Additional Tips

  • Safety whistle
  • Flashlight when out after dark or exploring unknown territory
  • Sun protection
  • A hat ( rain, sun & cold)
  • Mobile Phone
  • Use Windy or Windfinder to check weather conditions

In that sense stay safe on the water, as those items might be a lifesaver in the end. Enjoy your time on the water and make sure to leave a comment if you found this any useful.

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