When stand up paddle boarding it is really important to take extra care in and around shallow water to avoid injuring yourself. Whilst exploring there will be times you come across shallow water, rather than attempting to remain standing, we strongly recommend kneeling down until the water becomes deep enough to stand back up again.
By kneeling down you will help to reduce the risk of falling from a height and hitting the bottom where there may be rocks, debris, litter or other potentially nasty objects. You’ll also reduce the risk of being jolted forward or backward onto your board with force. Not only are there potential risks to yourself when paddling in shallow water. But, you may also cause disturbance to precious spawning grounds for fish. Please avoid walking across shallow gravels unless absolutely necessary. If you do walk across these gravel beds please make sure to pick your paddle board up rather than drag it across.
It’s also incredibly important to take extra care when launching and getting off from the water’s edge. To help we have put together the following advice on how best to launch and get off safely.
How to launch from the shore
- When launching from the shore you’ll want to ensure the board is floating and the fin(s) aren’t touching the bottom. This will help reduce the risk of the fin scraping the bottom and causing you to jolt. Plus, you’ll be protecting the underside of your board and its fin(s).
- Start by kneeling or lying down on your stomach until you have moved away from the shore into deeper water.
How to return to the shore and get out
- When returning to the shore you will want to be kneeling down before the water starts to get shallow.
- Stay kneeling until the water is knee deep. It’s here where you will want to get off the board to ensure the fins don’t scrap the bottom.
- Avoid dragging your board through the water and instead carry it using the central carry handle.
How to launch from the bank
- Before placing your board in the water make sure the banking is safe and check to see if there’s anything that could pose a risk lurking under the surface. If the water is cloudy you can check by using your paddle.
- When getting on from the bank you will want to place your board in the water alongside the bank side. Don’t forget to keep hold of the leash.
- With the board afloat, sit down on the bank to then safely get on board.
- Once on board you will want to either stay keeling or lie down before gently pushing yourself away from the side.
- Once you are away from the bank and in deeper water, you can look to stand up.
How to get out from the bank
- When returning to the bank you will want to be kneeling down before the water starts to get shallow.
- Make sure you check the bank is suitable before getting out.
- Pull up alongside the bank slowly to avoid hitting the bank and being thrown forwards.
- Place your hand on the bank to secure your position then cautiously get off the board.
You can click here to watch our short YouTube video on how to launch your paddle board safely.
So there you have it our advice on what to do when paddle boarding in shallow water. Plus, some top tips for how to launch or return to the water’s edge to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable trip. We have lots of safety advice and top tips on our paddle board blog.