Salmon Bay Paddle - SUP Instruction & Tours in the Pacific Northwest Tel: 206-465-7167 /


SUP Tips - How to Get on an Inflatable SUP

How to Get on Your Inflatable SUP - 
Today I got a call from a gal who is about to give up on SUP as she can't get back on her board. She has a inflatable that is 6" thick (standard thickness). All her friends can get on so she's getting frustrated and may give it up. Her concerns are not uncommon. But with a few of our tips, she should be good, even if it includes getting an epoxy/hard board which has thinner rails.

The problem with inflatables are that they're the same thickness from tail to nose. Hard/epoxy boards are usually thin on the ends, thick in the middle. This is called foil. Race boards tend to have a thick tail, thinner nose.

8 Tips on Getting on a 6" Thick Inflatable Paddle Board..

- Get on at the rail by the tail. You can reach over to the other side here, unlike the middle. 

- Always kick both feet (hard) to raise your body to the surface - while pulling on. If one leg is on, keep kicking the other. I do this all the time.  

- If the above doesn't work, use our Stirrup Technique. Fashion a loop from a rack strap, thick rope or nylon webbing. In shallow water, adjust the strap so you have 1-2 loops. Add a carabiner or similar gadget to the strap. When in the water, attach the carabiner to the metal D-Ring, handle or leash string on the back of your board (tail).  Facing the tail, drop the loop in the water. Place one foot in a loop, then while kicking the other leg, step up on the board. Adjust the loop if it's too low. Watch this video to learn how to attach a rope from your handle to use to climb fully on the board.

- Always wear a PFD/Lifejacket and leash. Practice in shallow water until you can get on. People have been rescued or have died from not getting on boards in cold water.  If you attach your PFD to your board (not recommended), make sure you can get it off easily. One guy a few years ago couldn't get on his board and couldn't get the PFD off to stay afloat in very cold water.  *If you're a bigger person, a vest PFD may limit your ability to climb on a board. The Hyde C02 vest is an option, though the company hasn't made one for bigger folks yet. Unlike waist belts, it fits on your chest unflated but easy to inflate with chest pull.

-Learn the Flip Rescue. A very easy tip to get anyone on a board. We did it successfully with a guy 405lbs who was 6'-8".  If you or your friends can't get on, the flip will save their life. Being the silly season, you'll see many in the water without skills. Be prepared. 

- Practice the flip and getting on regularly in all comfortable conditions. We do!

- Worse case, get an epoxy surf style board that has thinner, usually 4.5 at the middle and 2-3" on the ends. Much easier to get on. 

**One more Tip - Try your board before you buy it.  I see many out there who can't carry, lift, stand or get on their boards. 

Rob Casey - Salmon Bay Paddle / PSUPA
Seattle, WA USA / 206.465.7167
IG: @salmonbaypaddle

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