DIY Tow Ropes & Lines for SUPs

Whether you're an open water paddler, instructor or downwind warrior, carrying a tow line is a smart idea if playing in rough seas, off shore or with paddlers of of questionable skills

Over the years, I've towed kite surfers in trouble, capsized kayakers, fatigued swimmers, and my
NorthWater Micro Tow Line for SUPs
students who simply were tired.  In one case, a student did a cross fit session before our class - not recommended.  SUP is considered so easy by the public, many over do the length of their first paddles or not knowing to check the weather, end up in a wind or heavy surf situation.

No matter how ended up needing a tow, it's great practice for the real thing when you come across a person needing a real world rescue.  If in a group class, if you want to avoid embarrasing the fatigued person, just say "hey I got this new tow line, mine if I give you a free ride back to our beach?" Most are stoked!

I use tow lines by NorthWater in Vancouver BC. I prefer the open bag designs that close with velcro. After a tow, I like to throw all the line back in the bag quickly vs feeding the line into a small hole,
common in whitewater throw bags.  Salamander and NRS also have good products.

Throw bags and towlines aren't cheap and if you're the DIY type, here's a few innovative methods for making your own.  Idea that isn't below is a self retracting line, though saltwater and sand may jam the smooth flowing concept of this.

Probably the simplest version of them all – scroll to bottom of this blog:

Got other tips, leave a comment below!

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