Make sure you understand the Life Vest Safety Laws before you venture out into the water and follow the rules of your city or country.
Even though I’m a very experienced and seasoned paddler, I always wear a floatation device at all times. Mother nature can be unpredictable at times. Respect her, and it might save your life.
Personal Floatation Device (PFD)
There are two types of PFD’s, a belt or a vest. Vests are more secure and reliable, however, a belt is much more comfortable giving you more range of motion. The belt PFD releases a CO2 cartridge that is released when the bright colored tab is pulled. Similar to ones on planes. These will inflate out around you to use in emergency.
Keep these important tips in mind.
Make sure it is secured so that it does not slide up and down. Test this because you don’t want to slide down into the vest making your emergency situation even more difficult.
Make sure that the bright colored tab is positioned in front of you. The tab should never be behind you near your bum. Also make sure the cartridge is replaced when necessary, otherwise it does no good if you have a used or expired cartridge.
Leashes (Coiled vs Straight)
Leashes are not required, however, they do serve a really great purpose. Leashes are designed so you don’t have to chase after your board after taking a splash. It’s definitely recommended if you are surfing or facing turbulent water conditions. Let us go over the two types.
A coiled leash is designed for calm, flat water conditions. The leash is coiled and works as a gentle spring effect. This means if you take a splash, it will bring the board back to you. This makes it easier and quicker to retrieve your sup and get back on.
A straight leash is designed for more turbulent water conditions. It is used a lot in open ocean treks and surfing. In rougher water conditions, you do not want the board to spring back at you potentially causing injuries. This is why a straight leash is better here because it’s relaxed and reduces recoil from occurring.