Rob Casey is the owner of SUP school Salmon Bay Paddle in Seattle, co-founder for the PSUPA and is the author of two paddling guides.

Monday, December 29, 2014

How to Get on your Paddle Board from the Side

Many try to avoid falling off their SUP, but eventually you will fall in - and it's no big deal or a fail if you do.  I say that as I hear all the time 'did you fall?' It is a water sport and in my opinion if you're not falling, you're not trying hard enough or not having enough fun.

That said, how do you get back on?  Most will try to get back on from the side in the middle. For most boards this is actually the most difficult place to get back on as the board will be the thickest, and unless you're tall like me, you may struggle to grab the handle or opposite side to help pull yourself back on. It's actually easier to get on at the back 1/3 of the board by the tail where you board should be less thick and where there's less width.  Watch for future videos from me on other mounting techniques.

Here's a few tips for getting back on from the side...

Why folks fail in getting back on:
- Their vest style PFD is catching on the rail as they try to pull themselves up.

- They lack upper body strength to pull themselves on.

- Their board is really thick thus making it more difficult to pull up on (5-6" thick)

- They have an inflatable which may be 6" thick from nose to tail thus difficult to get on and slippery.

Your Paddle:
- Hold on to your paddle when you fall off.  If you let go, get on the board the prone paddle to your paddle (paddling on chest like a surfer with alternating hands)

- While getting on, place your paddle on the deck and hold with one hand while getting on. Or stick in deck outfitting or bungees to keep you hands free to climb on.

Getting on Easier:

Holding on to the side of the board with paddle in one hand, kick your feet vigorously which will raise your body to the surface.  You should be creating whitewater with your feet. As you body reaches the surface, begin to pull up on the board simultaneously.  Grab on the deck handle if that helps as you pull yourself on.

I don't quit kicking until I'm 100% on the board. Thick race boards with heightened rails can be difficult to get over, as well as some 6" and 8" thick inflatables.

Alternative to Side Mounting:
- Get on the tail of the board. Place paddle on deck in front of you as you use both hands to pull on.
- Get on the deck next to the tail (last 1/3rd of board).
- Attach a caribiner connected to a short car rack strap to your leash plug string and use as a step or stirrup to assist in getting back on. Search this blog for how to do this.

Tip: Use surf wax on your rails to make them stickier thus easier to grab.

Note of Caution: If your PFD is strapped to the deck but you can't get back on and are in cold water, you may have a problem. Consider wearing your pfd (waist or pfd) to stay afloat if you're too cold or tired to swim or stay afloat.




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