If you’re anything like us, then you love to paddle board as much as possible. Whatever the weather might have in store, you aim to hit the water every chance you get. Of course, some conditions are much safer than others. Clear and sunny skies? Perfect! A bit breezy with some clouds? Not too shabby. Light to heavy rainfall? Well, this one is a bit trickier. That’s why we’re here today to tell you all of our best tips for paddle boarding on a rainy day. Keep on reading below for everything you need to know!
Do NOT Go Paddle Boarding in a Thunderstorm
First and most importantly, NEVER be on the water during thunderstorms. The chance of being hit by lightning simply isn’t worth it. If you’re on the water and it looks like lightning, head back to shore immediately. Trust us, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. As for non-thunderstorm conditions, we do have a lot of tips and tricks to keep you safe out there.
Check the Weather and Water Temperature
Before you leave the house, begin by checking the weather and water temperature of your paddle boarding spot. If there are thunderstorms in the forecast, we recommend staying home.
Head to Toe Protection
If not, dress accordingly from head to toe, preferably in water-resistant layers. For example, a good hat will keep your head warm and dry, a wetsuit or dry suit—suit yourself—will serve you well, and waterproof gloves will make your life a lot easier. With them, you will be able to keep a strong grip on your paddle at all times. Without them, you can expect that paddle to slip right out of your hands, which is the last thing you need in the middle of a heavy rainfall!
Also, make sure you have proper footwear, such as waterproof socks or shoes, as your board will be extremely slippery in the rain. Finally, please wear a waterproof and bright light that will increase your visibility. Should anything go wrong—such as falling into rough waters, heavy rainfall limiting your range of vision, or both—your visibility could be incredibly important, especially if anyone needs to assist you.
Be Aware of the Water Level
Speaking of falling into the water, before you leave the shore, make sure you know the water level of the area you’re about to enter. More specifically, be aware of any significant effects that the rainfall could cause. After all, a strong storm can quickly turn a lazy river into roaring rapids.
Bring Your Safety Equipment and Accessories
If you do fall into the water, you’ll want to be wearing a high-quality leash, such as our Atoll 10-Foot Coil Paddle Board Leash. Of course, if the water is moving faster than you expected, then you’ll also be glad you brought a personal floatation device (PFD). Between the leash and the PFD, getting back on top of your stand-up paddle board (SUP) will be much more doable, especially if you’re in the middle of a heavy rainfall.
Furthermore, be sure to store your valuables in a high-quality dry bag, such as our Atoll Overkill Dry Bag Waist Pouch Fanny Pack. While you’re at it, make sure you have a waterproof GPS as well. This is especially useful if it’s raining heavy enough that you could get lost, even if you already know your route inside and out. Again, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Remember, whatever the weather may be, a dry bag, GPS, leash, and PFD will always be essential additions to any expedition.
What to Do Before You Leave the House
Before you embark on your SUP adventure, be sure to tell someone about your plans. That way, should anything go wrong, you’ll have someone waiting in the wings, ready to check on you and help you out, if needed. On a similar note, another way to help yourself out is learning your route; better yet, share it with the same person from before so they know exactly where you’ll be if you need anything. Speaking of things you might need, bring a thermos full of your favorite hot beverage. Trust us, in a cold rainstorm, nothing hits the spot quite like a hot cup of your favorite drink.
Last Steps Before You Begin
Almost done, do a warm-up before you leave the shore, as it will get your muscles a bit more ready for any conditions. This can make a world of difference during heavy rainfall, especially if you run into anything you weren’t expecting and suddenly need to hoist yourself back on the board, make a sharp series of movements, etc. Also, if the waters are looking less than favorable, or even if you just want to play it safe, please feel free to stay close to shore. This will make it a lot easier to get back to land, which could make a massive difference when you need it most.
Plan a Practice Paddle
Perhaps the best piece of advice we can give is this: plan a practice paddle. More specifically, if you want to prepare for paddling in the rain, then the best way to do so is real-life experience. After all, the only way to get better at something is by doing it. Therefore, if you want to learn how to safely paddle in a heavy rainstorm, then begin with a practice paddle in light rain. You’ll get practical experience, including slippery conditions, lower visibility, and almost everything you’ll encounter in a heavy rainstorm. Also, if you have any fears or reservations, just stay closer to shore. It will make life easier, keep you safer, and you can get out of the water even quicker!
Trust Your Gut
Or, if your instincts tell you otherwise, then trust your gut! No one knows your capabilities better than you. If you ever feel like something isn’t safe or you shouldn’t do it, then please don’t do it. Whether it’s an absolute downpour or crystal-clear skies, if you ever feel less than safe, please acknowledge those feelings, honor them, and act accordingly. After all, you’re the one paddling; you’re in control; and it’s your decision to make. When in doubt, better safe than sorry.
Now that you know all of our best tips for paddle boarding on a rainy day, you’re almost ready to get out there. If you have any remaining questions, please feel free to contact our team of SUP professionals at Atoll Boards. We would be more than happy to help you in any way we can. Stay safe, have fun, and happy paddling, everyone!