How to stay safe on your stand up paddleboard

Here are the answers to the test at the end of the body problems chapter in book 3.

1. If you start feeling really quite ill while out on your paddleboard in deep water, your initial actions should be?

Get down: If there’s any likelihood that you might get the wobbles, kneel or even sit down on your board so that you’re less likely to fall into the water (which really will not help in any way right now).

Get your buoyancy aid working: If you feel like you’re going to pass out or become more incapacitated, then sort out your buoyancy aid now while you still can. If you’re wearing a beltpack, now is the time to activate it. You can do it manually if you feel well enough – just get it on. If you’re wearing permanent buoyancy, simply check it’s tight.

Let someone else know: Alert the other paddlers you’re with, if you’re alone then phone home or call someone for help. If it’s serious and you’re calling the emergency services, remember to say where you’ll meet them – assuming you can make it to shore.

Get yourself to shore: Once you’ve done those other three things, get yourself to shore. Stay down, kneeling or seated, while you paddle. If there are others with you, ask someone to paddle close by so they can keep an eye on you – and if necessary, take you under tow.
If you’re alone, and something is really very wrong and you think you might not make it to shore, are there any closer options? A nearby boat with people on board, perhaps? Use your comms, do whatever you can to attract people’s attention.

2. The most common injury is to which part of the body? And what can you do to mitigate this sort of injury?

Foot injuries are by far the most likely thing to happen in paddleboarding, albeit caused by stepping (or falling) off a board rather than the act of paddleboarding itself.

Footwear is of course a great way to reduce the risk of injuries to the feet, even though it’s not considered cool by many.  Thinking about the depth of water before you step off (and if in doubt, getting off slowly rather than taking that quite literal leap of faith from a standing position) is another really good way of avoiding twists, sprains and tendon injury, as well as the risk of standing on something sharp.