How to Fall Safely Off your SUP

Last summer, a friend of ours was downwind surfing at Hood River, Oregon. At some point in his run, he fell on his board breaking a few ribs. He was out of action for at least 2 weeks until he was comfortable enough moving enough for paddling.  Another friend fell on her board during a rough water race a few months late bruising her ribs.  And it happens to even the best of us - last week I was paddling in shallow murky water when my fin hit a rock which threw me forward onto the board. I landed on my knees worried I may of dinged the board. Instead I left a pretty good sized pressure ding on the nose. (Pressure ding is a dent).

Along those lines, you may respond to the above thinking "I never fall" or a one I've heard before, "I haven't fallen in two years!"  Those worried about falling aren't having a good time as they will take less risks, not surf a sweet bump and beginners we see look really stiff.

Falling isn't a failure.  Falling doesn't mean you don't know what you're doing, are showing others you're less experienced or a kook. Pros fall all the time. Falling means you're trying, are pushing yourself and as a result am having more fun.

3 Rules for How to Fall off your SUP - 

- Always fall away from your board, whether it's behind the tail or away from the rails.

- Always fall flat. This means landing like a pancake. For those old enough, remember the Hi-C fall?

- Always wear a leash so your board doesn't get away from you after your fall.  When I pivot turn then fall, the board shoots out like a rocket and can land 10' or more away with no leash. In wind, the board will keep going.

*Tip: Wear a vest style PFD to stay warmer and provide body protection if you hit the board, especially in big water or downwinding. 

How to Practice - 
- Dress for immersion. You'll have more fun and learn more if you're not cold.

- Start by practicing near shore if you're unsure if you can get back on your board.

- Fall in water waist or chest deep (or deeper) to prevent injury.

- Fall of the side of the board and tail.

Check out this great video from Blue Planet Surf on falling off a board.  

Fall Away and Flat!

Model: Salmon Bay Instructor Alex Vaughan

Any questions give me a holler: / 206.465.7167
Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - beginning to advanced instruction and PSUPA Certification.

Photos by John Patzer