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10 Tips for Paddleboarding in the Wind

Paddling in the wind can be a challenge, but with these ten tips, you can make it a little easier. In this article, you will learn how to carry your board properly, choose the right location, and more. So, whether you are a beginner or an experienced paddler, read on for some helpful advice.


#1 - Use Proper Board Carrying Techniques

When you exit the water with the board, know that your SUP is going to function as a sail in a crosswind. In this case, hold your board on the downwind side of your body, and, when possible, point the nose of your board into the wind while carrying it.

Assessing the Ocean Conditions

#2 - Choose a Sheltered Location

If possible, try to find a sheltered spot to paddle in, such as behind (on the lee) an island, in a bay, or behind a headland. Even if it currently is not windy, paddling in a shelter location will reduce your risk of wind exposure out on the water.

Discovery Islands Coastal Touring Course

#3 - Use the Right Board

Mild wind can have a significant impact on an inflatable paddle board especially if it's a large board. This is why we would recommend using a hardboard in windier conditions.

A hardboard is heavier reducing the wind's ability to lift you off the water. You can get them with a displacement haul which more inflatables are not, improving your board's ability to cut through not only the water but also the wind.

If you want to learn more check out these blog posts:

  • Differences Between Planing and Displacement Hull Paddleboards

  • The Ultimate Guide to Inflatable versus Hard Paddleboards

Paddleboard Leash

#4 Always Wear Your Leash

This rule should always apply but is especially important when it's windy out. Falling off of your board without a leash even on days when it is slightly windy out can leave you stranded.

Paddleboard Fins

#5 Make Sure You Have Your Fins!

Ensure that you are going out with all of your fins on. The fins on your paddleboard improve its ability to track (go straight) in the water. They help the board to cut through the waves more efficiently. Without the fins, your paddleboard would just spin and you'd go nowhere.

#6 - Feather the Blade

When paddling in the winds, feathering your blade will reduce drag on your paddle, increasing your stroke efficiency. This will not only make it less exhausting, but it will increase your stability and overall confidence while out in windier conditions.

So how do we do this exactly? It’s a simple concept but may take some practice. At the end of your stroke, while keeping your paddle in the water, turn your paddle parallel so that you are literally slicing the water during the recovery phase of the stroke.

#7 - Get Low, Kneel, or Prone Paddle

Your body can act as a sail when exposed to winds, making it more difficult to remain stable. By crouching low or kneeling on your board, you will lower your center of gravity and reduce the amount of surface area the wind has to push against. Kneeling is a great way to increase your stability and put more power through each stroke.

If you're struggling to make ground with the kneeling method, try lying face-down on your stomach and placing your paddle blade under your chest. After that, just do a front crawl like a surfer would until you make it back to shore.

#8 - Move to the Front of your Board

The front of your paddleboard will be the most efficient place to paddle in windy conditions as it will help keep the nose of your paddleboard down. Moving your body weight forward is critical on inflatable boards or boards with round noses.

#9 - Wear the Proper Clothing

Another way to combat the wind is wearing proper clothing. Wearing well-fitted gear will reduce your body's drag increasing your arrow dynamics and therefore efficiency.

If you plan on paddleboarding in the cooler weather, we suggest you wear a windbreaker and rain paints over the top of your wet suit. Not only will this protect you from rain and water breaking over your hull, but it will also keep you warm and comfortable which is always good for morale.

If you want to know more check out this post: What to wear while paddleboarding.

Proper Paddleboarding Cloths

#10 - Don't STOP Paddling

This is one of the cardinal rules of paddleboarding but is often broken when people get tired, or in this case, when they start to drift. If you stop paddling, you will lose all forward momentum and it will become increasingly difficult to make headway. Keep those arms moving even if it's just a slow crawl until you make it back to shore.

So there you have it, paddleboarding in the wind doesn't have to be scary or dangerous if you follow these simple tips. If you are looking to get a better understanding of wind and how to paddle in windy conditions confidently, consider joining Blue Jellyfish SUP Adventures for a Paddle Canada Course and/or take a lesson to work with Pam 1:1 on your skills.

Happy Paddling!

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