In principle, paddle surfing or SUP is a simple sport that we can practice without major dangers all those who know how to swim with ease. And it is not a discipline that requires great physical qualities. But do not trust, because it has an Achilles heel that can cost you your life. It is a situation with which you have to be forewarned if you do not want to get a good scare. Every year it happens... Healthy and strong people disappear at sea. And you have to know how to act if that happens.
There is a singularity in this sport that consists, basically, in standing on a surfboard bigger than usual and moving forward with the help of a paddle. And that is its weakness. I often jokingly tell beginners that it's like sweeping the surface of the sea with a broom, but that your upright body is like a sail in the wind. And therein lies the problem.
Let's get down to business
What you have to fear most when paddle surfing or SUPing is to be surprised by strong winds from land to sea, which are those that separate you inexorably from the shore. Sometimes with strong breezes you can already find yourself in a bind, because you feel like you are not moving forward. And that the wind is dragging you irremediably out to sea. If you don't act correctly in this situation, you will find yourself in a predicament. And from there to panic and making fatal mistakes you are only a step away. Don't panic! Use your intelligence, your self-control and you will survive.
| The biggest mistake you can make is to abandon the board. © Shutterstock
What to do if you get caught in the wind while paddle surfing
If a wind comes up that you didn't count on and you realize that despite your efforts with the paddle you can't get close to the shore you must take action. Immediately. Let's go step by step.
First maneuver: The first thing you have to do is to stop being a sail for the wind. So sit on the board and start paddling sitting down. Crouch down as low as you can and don't lose your cool. Set a visual target on the shore (the closest one) and set a course for it. Avoid lurching. Focus and, once again I tell you: do not lose your calm. Don't rush but don't pause. But don't let the wind blow you away either. Act as soon as possible because the winds coming from land are greater the further you get away from the shore, which will be joined by the waves that are going to be formed, so much larger the further you are away from the shore.
Second maneuver: If you still don't make it because the wind keeps dragging you, you will have to lie down on the board, secure the paddle and try to swim as you do in surfing, with your body (legs included) on the board and pushing yourself with your arms.
Surfing with a partner:
If you are sailing with your paddle sup board and you are two people and you only have one paddle, the maneuver is as follows: try to make her go lying down, paddling with her arms. And you, as you can, do the same with the paddle.
And if you each have one paddle, sit down and paddle, each one on one side. Paddle with each other.
| If bad weather surprises you, lie down on the board and try to paddle with your arms. But above all, don't lose control of yourself and never stray from the board. © Shutterstock
But what if none of this works?
Well, what you should never do is leave the board and go for a swim. As long as you're on the board you'll float, you'll be safe and, best of all, you'll be seen. Don't get overwhelmed. Be patient. And assume that you may have to spend the night on it... but that's okay. but that's okay. They'll find you! Sure!
Take your legs out of the water to keep warm and wait patiently. If you see a boat nearby, signal it but never jump into the water. Use your paddle as a flag. If you are wearing a flashy swimsuit (and a big one, no small bikini or leopard thong ;-) take it off, put it on the paddle and use it as a flag, to attract attention. But don't stand on the board, because you can lose your balance and fall off, get tired, etc.
Some tips before you find yourself in a bind
1. Whenever you are going to go out with your SUP paddle board to sail , let someone you trust know of your intentions.
2. Check the weather forecast and avoid entering the water if there are strong winds from land to sea because those are the most dangerous. No doubt about it.
3. Another good tip is to take your cell phone with you in a good waterproof case with a strap so that you do not lose it. If you find yourself in a tight spot, call 112 and they will come and get you. But, as I said, never leave your board. It is your only salvation.
4. And the last and most important advice: DON'T PANIC!!!
| Paddle surfing or SUP is a safe and easy sport to practice as long as you keep in mind everything we have been telling you so far. © Shutterstock