So far you have:-
· Understood the abilities of the group
· Agreed goals
· Thought about the conditions that you are happy to paddle in
· Picked a favoured location
· Scouted the route out for any features or areas which may have localised conditions affecting your journey
· Thought about the route and in which conditions it will work.
Like planning a walking route you now need to translate the information you have into a route, perhaps recording it on a route card or directly on to the map. Useful information will include:-
· The launch location, with great parking, an easy carry to the water and that you know you can safely set off from and return to.
· Land marks, points that are easily identifiable and may affect the conditions
· Estimated timings and so the state of tide (low tide, mid or high tide)
· Places appropriate for breaks
· What hazards are there and what action will you take? Ie. other water users, rocks under the surface, moorings, crossing a busy stretch of water
· Emergency egress points
· Are there any points to turn back at, if you are too late to get to past them?
Being flexible on your destination and having a turn back time rather than a place is a good idea.
One way journeys are great as you see more and can often use the wind and tides to your advantage. The down sides are that there are time consuming transport issues (unless you have a willing support crew) and you are committed to an end point.
Daylight hours is a consideration, everyone enjoys a sunset paddle, but depending on the time of year the light can disappear so quickly and on a stretch of water that you don’t know this can be problematic.
Now seems like a good time to talk about ‘faffing,’ we all do it, no matter how well we think we packed the night before. Someone in your group may be a consistent offender for a ‘faffathon.’ It’s important to distinguish between proposed meet times and getting on the water. Building in contingency time is really useful.
What speed will we travel on a SUP?
I get asked this a lot and there is no simple answer as it is dependent on ability, equipment, the conditions and probably the biggest impact is whether you travel in a straight line or like to explore every rocky outcrop and cave along the way. 2 km per hour seems to be a good guide for people with SUP experience on all purpose kit, moving but ducking and diving a little.