Taking the Plunge
No matter how hard you try to stay balanced on your paddleboard, you’re going to fall into the water at some point. Even the most experienced paddlers take the plunge from time to time. If you’re feeling wobbly, remember that SUP is a watersport, so it’s okay to get wet!
If you’re about to fall off your board, do your best to fall away from the board. Your instinct might be to grab your board as you fall, but landing on your board hurts and can result in an injury. If you get too wobbly and know you’re heading overboard, commit to falling off and direct your weight to the side of the board. Try to fall flat on the water, either with a belly flop or a back flop. This will help keep your body shallow so you’re less likely to hit anything below the surface. It’s always recommended to paddle with a board leash, but the leash can cause your SUP to come back to you quickly when you fall off, especially if you’re using the coiled type. Be ready, and perhaps put your hands in front of your face for protection.
If you can, hang on to your paddle when you fall. But if it accidentally slips out of your grip or you decide to toss it intentionally, no worries - most paddles are designed to float. Retrieve your board first, get back on, then use your hands to propel yourself as you retrieve the paddle. When you’re ready to get back on, grab the carry handle and position yourself next to your board and near the center. Grab the handle with one hand and pull yourself up until you can reach the opposite rail with your other hand, then kick yourself up onto the platform. It’s as simple as that!
Ocean Tribe Outfitters is a branch of Sanibel Sea School that helps the SWFL paddling community better explore, enjoy, and understand the ocean. Visit oceantribeoutfitters.org or follow us on Facebook to learn more.