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How to Safely Fall off your SUP

Forrest Wells // May 15, 2018

Forrest Wells

General Manager, Guide & ACA Instructor
Forrest is a BCU 4 star paddler, ACA open water advanced instructor, ACA SUP instructor, Alaska Kayak Guide and has his 200 ton Master's ship license. In addition to keeping the OOC ship headed in the right direction and running efficiently, he is an avid outdoorsman and kayak/SUP racer. He also helps coach water polo, plays a mean guitar and can cook up a tasty oyster on the half-shell.


Learning how to safely fall off a SUP board and how to get back aboard are important skills to master. This article sites the best way to land in the water and different techniques for climbing back on the board, rescuing your paddle and standing back up on the board.

At some point, especially as you push the edge of your skills envelope, you may fall off your board. When you do lose your balance, fall away from the board and don’t land on your paddle. Never fall head first, you might strike an underwater object; either fall flat or land feet first. In a perfect world hit the water with your backside to avoid injuring your feet and ankles especially in a shallow water scenario near shore, in the surf or in the river.

When you’re in the water, you’ll want to stay with your board; you can use the board to go for your paddle, but not the other way around. Always wear a leash, to ensure you don't become separated from your SUP.

To get back on the board from the side, use the carry handle to assist in pulling your chest onto the board. When climbing up on the board from the tail, push the board down and slide your chest over the tail (back of the board). Be aware that when wearing a foam life jacket, or an inflatable waist PFD in the front, they can snag on the board as you climb on. Once you’re back on the board you can hand paddle your way to gather up your paddle.

To stand back up on the board, start by laying the paddle across the board in front of you. While hanging onto the paddle, get up on your knees and one-at-a-time, bring your feet up onto the board and lift yourself up with your legs, like recovering from a squat.

At this point it’s important to get your paddle in the water. An active paddle provides a stabilizing point for keeping your balance.


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Forrest Wells

Author

General Manager, Guide & ACA Instructor
Forrest is a BCU 4 star paddler, ACA open water advanced instructor, ACA SUP instructor, Alaska Kayak Guide and has his 200 ton Master's ship license. In addition to keeping the OOC ship headed in the right direction and running efficiently, he is an avid outdoorsman and kayak/SUP racer. He also helps coach water polo, plays a mean guitar and can cook up a tasty oyster on the half-shell.