Paddleboarding can be relaxing as well as intense. If you occasionally want to do something different and want it to be exciting, you should try paddleboarding in whitewater. But it can dangerous if preparations are not done properly. There are a few things you should know before taking on whitewater with your SUP. If you want to give it a try, be sure to check out our safety tips below first.
Before you decide to try out whitewater paddleboarding, it is essential that you have all the necessary supplies. First-aid kit, mobile phone, radio, all need to be kept in waterproof plastic bags. Also, remember to pack up food and water. The attire will depend on how hot-blooded you are, but a full wetsuit is standard. Carry a personal floatation device and clip a knife just in case you get entangled on one of the restrains. Remember to bring along a whistle for emergency purposes.
Know Your Trip
Whitewater has several stages, depending on how intense the water is. You should be able to know what stages are suitable for your SUP since not all boards endure the same kind of whitewater rapids. Whitewater is classified into Class I to Class VI, with the latter having extreme waves and exploratory rapids.
Unless you have visited the river before, ensure that you carry a map, clearly showing all the natural features including rapids, obstacles, and the distance of your entire route. Before heading out, check the level of the water as they vary with seasons.
Be Aware OF Hazards
Once you decide to paddleboard on whitewater, you’ll need to be vigilant and aware of incoming hazards. Before plunging in the water, look for hazards that may flip your board like large boulders or a falling tree. Segment your trips into different moves and determine which ones are possible to maneuver. You should as well consider the possibility of getting ejected out of your board. When this happens make sure you have your leash on.
Watch out for eddies as they are your safe spot for relaxing when the waters become too bumpy. Typically, “U” shaped eddies are your best bet. If the eddies portray a frowning face, avoid heading that direction as you might get trapped.
Follow The Rapids
One big mistake rookie SUP’ers make while heading to whitewater is skipping the lower classes of rapids and start out with the intermediate levels. In essence, the easier levels may seem too easy but they set the foundation for more advanced classes.
Choosing The Right Board Is Crucial
There are boards specially designed for whitewater while others are all-round. As a SUP’er, an inflatable SUP board is best to begin with since they will bounce off rocks and obstacles. Additionally, inflatables weigh less than hard boards, which tend to be heavier and harder to control in whitewater.
Choose a SUP board with a larger surfaced deck pad. General, paddling on murky waters will force you to move around the board and you’ll want a top that has less traction as you try to get balance. A deck pad that shelters at least half of the front end of the board is the most suitable for whitewater. A paddle board like Goosehill SUP would be appropriate.
You should consider fins that are low-profile to shield you from getting entangled on obstacles. Paddleboards with a low fin allow you to surf on whitewater and helps you stay on the board even on knobby waters. 3-Fin setups are also suitable for paddling in such conditions as they prevent any hurdles associated with fin boxes.
Paddling in whitewater definitely carries certain safety risks. So if you really want to do it, safety precautions are necessary.