2023 Jul 14th

River Paddle Boarding Safety

Paddle boarding on a river can be an exhilarating and tranquil experience, connecting you with nature in a unique way. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced paddle boarder, it's essential to prioritize safety to ensure a memorable and enjoyable adventure. In this blog, we will guide you through essential safety tips and precautions, helping you paddle board safely on the river while embracing the beauty of nature that surrounds you.

Choose the Right Equipment

Selecting the appropriate paddle board and gear is the first step towards a safe and enjoyable river paddle boarding experience. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind:

a) Paddle Board: opt for a board designed to handle rough waters and rocky shorelines. Low bearing paddle boards and long boards will not perform as efficiently on the water compared to shorter boards. All Newell Outdoors paddle boards are designed with river paddling kept in mind; therefore they can handle the rough terrain without popping or getting punctured and can perform very well in the rapids to allow for smooth, less physically-demandingride.

b) Paddle: Ensure you have an adjustable paddle that suits your height and provides a comfortable grip.

c) Personal Flotation Device (PFD): Always wear a well-fitted PFD. Even if you're an excellent swimmer, unexpected circumstances can arise, and a PFD can be a lifesaver.

d) Safety Leash: Attach a leash to your ankle or calf and secure it to the board. This prevents the board from drifting away if you fall into the water.

e) Protective Gear: Depending on the conditions, consider wearing a helmet, especially when navigating rocky areas or white-water rapids.

Research and Assess the River

Before embarking on your river paddle boarding journey, conduct thorough research to familiarize yourself with the river's characteristics. Here are some factors to consider:

a) Water Flow and Currents: Understand the river's flow and its potential changes throughout the day. Strong currents can make paddling challenging, so ensure you have the necessary skills to handle them.

b) Hazards and Obstacles: Learn about any potential obstacles, such as rocks, fallen trees, or rapids along your route. Knowing their locations helps you plan your path accordingly.

c) Weather Conditions: Check the weather forecast before heading out. Wind, rain, and storms can affect the river's conditions, making it unsafe for paddle boarding.

d) Local Regulations: Familiarize yourself with any local rules or regulations regarding paddle boarding on the river. Some areas may have restrictions or guidelines to follow.

Master Paddle Boarding Techniques

To paddle board safely on the river, it's crucial to have a good grasp of basic paddle boarding techniques. Here are some key techniques to practice and master:

a) Balance and Stance: Find your balance on the board by placing your feet hip-width apart and keeping your knees slightly bent. Distribute your weight evenly to maintain stability.

b) Paddling Technique: Use an efficient paddling technique by reaching forward with the paddle blade, submerging it fully in the water, and pulling it back to propel yourself forward. Practice alternating sides to maintain a straight course.

c) Maneuvering: Learn how to turn the board by paddling on one side more than the other. Use sweeping strokes or back-paddling to navigate obstacles or change direction swiftly.

d) Falling and Getting Back On: Falling off the board is a normal part of paddle boarding. Learn how to fall safely away from your board, and practice getting back onto it efficiently.

e) River Navigation: Understand river signals and basic river navigation techniques, such as eddies and ferrying, which allow you to navigate currents and obstacles effectively.

Safety Precautions on the River

When paddle boarding on the river, safety should always be a priority. Here are essential precautions to follow:

a) Buddy System: Paddle with a companion whenever possible. Having someone nearby enhances safety and adds to the fun of the experience.

b) Check Water Conditions: Observe the river's conditions carefully before entering the water. Look for signs of strong currents, debris, or changes in water level. If conditions appear unsafe, it's best to postpone your paddle boarding adventure.

c) Dress Appropriately: Wear appropriate clothing for the weather conditions. Consider a wetsuit in colder temperatures, and apply sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun's rays.

d) Hydration and Nutrition: Bring water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized throughout your paddle boarding trip. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and decreased concentration.

e) Stay Aware and Alert: Keep an eye on your surroundings and be aware of other watercraft or potential hazards. Stay alert and avoid distractions to maintain your safety.

f) Learn Basic First Aid: It's beneficial to have knowledge of basic first aid techniques, including CPR and treating minor injuries. Carry a first aid kit with you in case of emergencies.

Paddle boarding on the river is a thrilling and serene adventure that allows you to explore nature's beauty while engaging in physical activity. By following these safety tips and precautions, you can ensure a safe and exciting experience on the river. Remember to choose the right equipment, research the river's characteristics, master paddle boarding techniques, and prioritize safety at all times. By embracing these guidelines, you'll be well-prepared to embark on a memorable paddle boarding journey, enjoying the rhythmic flow of the river while immersing yourself in the tranquility and wonder of nature. Stay safe and happy paddling!