If you're reading this, you're obviously contemplating some float time before the summer heat sets in. AWESOME!
Spring is a great season to be on the water. One of my favorite sights is a sweet row of fuzzy yellow goslings being led along the shoreline by a couple of proud parents. So cute!
The Osprey are out in full force as well, fishing and collecting nest material. I could watch those birds for hours.
A little more attention to prep is all you need for a safer Spring SUP session. Most of these should already be part of your FLAT WATER paddling routine but reminders never hurt...
#1. Leash - It's too easy, too comfortable, too important to skip. Even if you're not (intentionally) out in windy conditions, the spring current is fast! Your board can get away from you quicker than you think. The best way to keep an outing fun and safe is to stay out of the 50+ degree water as much as possible.
#2. PFD - No explanation needed, right? Just wear it 💚
#3. Clothing - O.K., this always comes up when I'm talking about paddling. Wet suits are solid protection. If you have one, wear it but be aware of overheating. If you're not wearing a wet suit try form fitting, synthetic materials. Think warm but breathable so you're not soaked with sweat and bring a change of clothes in a dry bag! If you do fall in, it doesn't have to ruin your session. You can change right on the board or paddle to the nearest shore, throw modesty to the wind and get out of those cold clothes!
#4. H20 - Anytime of the year, stay hydrated!
#5. Know the conditions - This is a big one. Spring means lots of extra water and that means currents that are much stronger than you saw at the end of last summer. Be aware of your ability level vs the pull of the current down river. It's fun to ride the current but hard work to paddle against it. Plan a one-way paddle or stay in protected, wider areas on the river if you feel like a more mellow session.
#6. Communication - Easy. Just tell someone where you're going! If it changes, text an update. Toss your fully charged cell phone in a waterproof bag or case. Your phone can double as a flashlight and sound maker/SOS call.
#7. Be prepared - This is a suggestion rather than a safety issue. If your board has been in hiding all winter, you could possibly get a little surprise once you're on the water. Dings that sing. Fins that are loose. Add a patch kit and multi tool to your SUP bag so you can make simple preventative repairs on the fly.
Have fun getting back on the water!!