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Tips for Open Water Paddling

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There is no better feeling that been out in the elements with the wind in your hair and the waves underneath you. However, the step up from flat water paddling to open water can be daunting – with that in mind it is important you are adequately prepared before taking on the challenge. 

Bring your safety gear: Wear a PFD and a leg leash attached to your surf ski, dress for the conditions and if paddling downwind take a waterproof phone or emergency flare.

Paddle with a friend or in a group: Paddling with others is an added safety measure, it also helps with confidence and learning, and is a lot more fun.

Practice your remounts: Arguably the fastest way to build confidence in rough water is to know you’ll be able to get back on if you fall off. This essential skill is too often overlooked - take the time to practice in flat and rough water.

Surf your ski: Take any opportunity you can to surf waves with your surf ski. Sandbars lightly offshore offer great practice areas, as you can ride the wave repeatedly in a comfortable setting without worrying about being dumped on the beach. Surf ski paddling is about acquiring a feel for the ocean as much as it is stroke technique and fitness.

When ready, leave your comfort zone:  Ultimately, the only way to become an open water paddler is to paddle in open water. At some point this will mean heading out into water conditions that you haven’t paddled in before. It will likely be intimidating at first but stick with it and you’ll be hooked – the thrill of paddling a surf ski on open water is one of life’s great gifts.

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