How to stay safe on your stand up paddleboard

Here are the answers to the knowledge test at the end of the Preparation chapter in book 3. 

1. What are the three aspects of preparation?

Having the right equipment.

Making sure it’s in working order.

Knowing how to use it.

2. When is a good time to check your finbox, and what sort of things should you be looking for?

This one you can easily do while you’re putting the board away; it takes just a few seconds.

On any board with a removable fin, before taking the fin(s) off, give the fin a quick wobble to check that it is tight in the finbox.

On an inflatable board, check from time to time that the fins (if permanently fixed) or the finboxes are still firmly glued to the board. (A really good time to do this is when the board is deflated, particularly if it’s rolled up. It will be much easier to see if anything is becoming less well glued when the board skin is soft.)

Check whether your fin has taken any knocks or damage (usually very visible because it will look scuffed and worn) then take it out of the finbox and check for signs of stress or cracks around the fixing tabs. If it looks dodgy, replace it.

Check the finbox also, for signs of cracking. It’s really common for US-style finboxes on inflatables to get cracked at the back, which can lead to the fin falling out.

3. What sort of things should you be checking with regard to your leash?

Check the leash fixing point is firmly attached to your board.

The loop of rope that you attach your leash to – is it in good condition? If not, replace it.

If it starts to fray, throw it away!

On an ankle / calf leash, how are the velcro cuffs – will they actually hold together under a bit of tension?

Check that your leash is in good condition, which includes the fixings at each end.

If it’s a quick-release waist belt, how is that quick-release buckle looking? Howsabout that loop at the back which your leash attaches to – still firmly stitched into position? If it has a velcro auto-release system, is that all set up properly and in good working order?

4. What sort of maintenance and checks should you do to your paddle, and when?

Do this one while you’re rinsing your paddle off after a session. It only adds a few seconds but is the perfect opportunity to nip any potential problems in the bud.

If it’s adjustable or three-piece, strip it down, give it a rinse out and check the adjustment clips are all good.

Make sure the blade’s still firmly attached and aligned properly

Does it still float?

5. What sort of maintenance and checks should you do to your buoyancy aid?

Check that the straps and buckles on your buoyancy aid (permanent buoyancy or beltpack) are in good condition?

If you have a beltpack then this should be serviced at regular intervals. Unpack it at least a couple of times a season and check that the cylinder is fixed on properly and is not corroded, and the buoyancy aid has no leaks.

6. What is the second golden rule of safety equipment and does all your safety equipment meet this rule?

The second golden rule is that any item of safety equipment is USELESS unless it is in your hand when you need it. So have a think about how and where your safety gear is actually deployed. Could you get to it in an emergency?