For the most part, stand up paddle boarding on lakes and other inland bodies of water come with little consequence as long as precautions are taken. They are ideal for one’s entry into the paddle boarding lifestyle. However, you may have felt an irresistible call from the ocean lately. Its distinguishing breeze, healing salt water, playful sea creatures, and sense of wonder all beckon. Perhaps even a mermaid. That said, you understand that the ocean also presents challenges that no upcountry waterway could ever deliver. We’re happy to hear this and glad to find that you’re on the search for tips for ocean paddle boarding. And as usual, Sea Gods has you covered with everything you need to know to ensure a fun, engaging, and safe experience. We even offer educational series for our SUP Folk. Let’s review!
5 Practical Tips for Fun, Safe, and Successful Paddle Boarding in the Ocean
Choose a Paddle Board Best Suited to Ocean Environments
The choice of equipment is exceedingly essential. You wouldn’t scale the Stawamus Chief with the same clips, line, and shoes one uses for an indoor climbing gym, so don’t paddle into the ocean with a SUP best suited to calm lakes. Instead, buy a SUP that accommodates your experience level and typical ocean conditions.
Beginner ocean paddlers should look for a top-rated SUP for stability, but it is also very good for tracking (how straight the SUP moves), maneuverability, and speed. The latter two are important because they allow you to enjoy the SUP more as your skills progress. The Medusa CX paddle board is an excellent option, as it is one of the market's most versatile and stable inflatable paddle boards.
Those who have tried their hand at ocean paddling before may want something stable that lets them venture beyond the calm shore. But when you do navigate out there, you must be prepared for choppy waters, which is where a touring board comes in handy. There are more advanced and speedier touring boards for you to graduate to, but we suggest starting with one that rates high for tracking, maneuverability, and stability. That all-in-one package is found with the Skylla CX Cross Touring inflatable paddle board.
If you have any additional questions about which Sea Gods ISUP makes the most sense for your ocean paddling aspirations, please call us. Otherwise, keep reading!
Bring the Right Gear
Your new Sea Gods ocean paddle board comes with a paddle, fin, leash, pump, maintenance kit, wheeled hiking backpack, and more—everything you theoretically need to get into the water. However, when it comes to the ocean, we suggest adding more essentials to the mix to enhance performance and safety. The good news is that all Sea Gods ISUPs feature bungee tie-downs to which you can affix your dry bag. What additional gear should you tuck into your dry bag? To ensure you’re prepared for whatever the ocean can throw at you, wear and/or pack the following:
- 3/2+ short or full wetsuit depending on season (ocean temperatures are colder)
- Personal Flotation Device (view PFD recommendations)
- Bottled water
- Energy bar
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Whistle and signaling light
- Smartphone with waterproof case
We know that we’ve put together quite the checklist. However, considering the ocean’s constantly changing currents, winds, and temperatures and the fact that you’re sharing space with watercraft and sea life, there is no such thing as being too prepared for ocean paddling.
3. Go for a Swim
When possible (summer months preferred), get to know the ocean you plan on paddling in. Familiarity with its temperature, current, and general personality will go a long way to building confidence. Swimming is the best way to get this in-depth knowledge. Begin close to shore for safety. If you plan to ride small waves on your SUP (more on this below), try body surfing the shore break beforehand. Doing so helps you understand when to launch your body (and eventually paddle) towards the shore with incoming sets. Swimming pre-session will also loosen muscles, get the blood flowing, and prepare your body for the ocean’s temperature.
4. Learn to Glide Before Riding Waves
Many people want to take up ocean paddling so that they can eventually enjoy the wave-riding experience. SUP surfing is most certainly a blast! We know that it looks easy enough from the shore, especially where waves are relatively small, but it’s not as easy as it seems - not by a long shot. So before you paddle out, turn, and point towards the shore to ride the next set - become proficient at tracking (paddling in a straight determined line). Once you can, you’re ready to point and shoot toward shore on an uneven surface and amidst the boat wake. Patience is a virtue when it comes to ocean paddling and SUP surfing.
5. Talk to a Lifeguard Before Paddling Out
One message we’ve repeated numerous times above is the ever-changing conditions of the ocean. Current, swell, and wind direction can change in an instant. The good news is that the beachfront that you may be paddling out from may have a lifeguard station or tower nearby. If so, find a lifeguard and ask them if there is anything that you should know before you paddle out. They understand the tides and all weather conditions that may challenge novice and expert paddlers alike. They will even know if there are harmful jellyfish in the area or concerns about bacteria and water quality. Worried about bothering them? Don’t be! Lifeguards wish every ocean-goer would take the time to ask them for insight. It makes your experience safer and their job easier as a result.
Extra Tip: When in Doubt, Don’t Go Out
We conclude with a “public service announcement” that lifeguards worldwide want you to do before heading into the ocean. If you arrive at the beach with your SUP in tow, but something out there doesn’t look or feel right, and there is no lifeguard to ask, deflate your ISUP and work on your tan instead. When in doubt, don’t go out. This is one tip for ocean paddle boarding you should always remember.
We are happy to say that all Sea Gods SUPs perform well on the ocean. Contact Sea Gods today if you have any questions about today’s featured paddle boards, other products and accessories, shipping, and more.