Equipment & What to Wear - Part 7 Planning a Coastal SUP Journey

What to wear?

Another tricky question to answer, it is so dependent on conditions and personal choice.  The water temperature is much colder out to sea compared with on the beach.  Consider if you fall in and have to paddle wet for 3 hours, in the UK this is hardly ever a comfortable thing.

I always think be too warm as cooling off is no problem.  Carrying spares so that you can layer up is essential on commited journeys.   A windproof and a warm hat are always in my bag, regardless of the season.    

Confident that I am ‘not’ falling in (I fell in February playing with my GoPro!), in summer I am starting to favour Merino Wool over neoprene tops because of Wool’s ability to keep you warm or cool.  I also favour fast drying windproof shorts over neoprene.

In the other seasons I’m lucky to own a dry suit and concentrate on the thermals underneath and how to keep my feet warm.  There is a lot more advice on this batting around.


What to carry on your board?

 A dry bag can be a damp and muddled thing, I pack thinner dry bags colour coded within it, orange for spares, red for an emergency, BDH for keys and blue for snacks.  I have learned the hard way to never put your drink loose in a dry bag.  Secure the dry bag to the board, I use a karabiner to hold the dry bag  closed and have a sling I put through the carry handle.

The ideal is for everyone to have their own dry bag and carry their own spares, snacks and drinks.

Spare clothes or layers and a pair of shoes can be useful in case you have to walk out.

Snacks and drinks are important even on short trips, as they provide energy and a morale boost, if anyone is cold or tired.  A hot drink is even better especially when the sea (or air) is colder.  Take something extra in case of an emergency.

A leash is a must and a buoyancy aid (the requirement to wear a PFD is an ongoing debate within the SUP community).  It is something to think about, remembering that a coastal paddle is an increased risk to a river or lake.  I feel if you are pushing your abilities in an unknown environment then a buoyancy aid is good practice, the bonus is they keep the wind off you.

Spares and a repair should not be necessary on your first journeys as there should be lots of egress points and you will appreciate keeping the weight down. On longer more committed journeys it is worth considering. Check kit such as paddle clamps and board pressure thoroughly beforehand.

A copy of the relevant OS map, ideally laminated and with your route marked on it.  Pack a compass, if you become disorientated, caught in fog or benighted it will help you identify where you are and the course you want to set.

A waterproof watch.

A camera so that you can share the stoke.

See also emergency equipment.