Paddle boarding can happen in just about any body of water. But that doesn’t mean it’s the same in every type of water. Each type of water has different currents, waves, weather conditions, and various other things you might have to factor in. Sometimes certain bodies of water aren’t even available to you if you’re living inland. But if you’ve got access to the ocean, you’re likely wanting to use it as the place to paddle board.
Today I want to focus on how to paddle board in the ocean. It’s not necessarily as easy as you might think it is. But, there are certain things you need to know before jumping on a board and heading out to sea, and we’re going to cover it all right here. So, let’s not waste any more time and dive right in!
Is Your SUP Ocean Worthy?
If you’re considering going paddling in the ocean, you first need to ask if your paddle board is ocean-worthy. The general dimensions you should be looking for when determining if your board is good for ocean conditions is it being 11 feet and about 32” for width. Anything less than these dimensions might bring some unwanted issues depending on the brand. Something like the Aqua plus is a good affordable option. You can read my detailed board review here.
Check The Weather Conditions
When you go to the beach or coastline for activities other than paddle boarding, you’re already checking the weather conditions. So if you’re going paddle boarding, you should be doing the same thing! You want to focus on the weather, water temperature, and wind speeds. Many resources are available to help you determine these factors, such as helpful apps and websites.
Check The Tides
Just like you should be checking the weather, it would be wise to do the same with the tides. Use resources like Tide Forecast to find accurate visual representations of tide heights in your area. Most paddlers usually opt for paddling before the height of low or high tides. You can paddle during the middle of a tide but be sure that when you’re paddling out, you’re paddling against the movement of the ocean, and when you’re coming back, your paddling with it.
Plan A Route
You want to start in calm waters, like in a bay or harbor away from the boats. Then you leave the breakwater and head further out into the ocean. Take note of the wind and water direction while on the paddle board so you can adjust accordingly.
Find The Best Entry Point
There are many things to consider when it comes to the entry point for paddle boarding in the ocean. First, of course, you’re going to want to start on the beach or use a boat or dock launch. But this is the relatively easy part as you’ve got to really focus on the breakwater aspect of paddle boarding in the ocean.
Break Water Entry
Here’s what you need to do when it comes to launching into the break water entry point:
- First, you want to wade into waist-deep water before hopping on your board.
- Next, go towards and into the break waves on your knees. Make sure your knees are toward the back of the board.
- Lean back when going over breaking waves.
- Now it’s time to gain momentum, as much as humanly possible.
- Try to get strokes in at the top of waves to propel you over and catapult you forward.
- You’ll repeat this until you’re out of the surf zone.
Accessories You Need For Ocean Paddle Boarding
Don’t forget the essential accessories you’re going to need when ocean paddle boarding:
- Drinking water
- Paddle that floats
So let’s recap quickly:
- Determine if your board is capable of being in the ocean.
- Check the weather and tides.
- Ensure you’ve got all your gear and accessories ready.
- Plan your route.
- Find the best entry point.
It’s always advisable that you go with a partner if it is amongst the first few times you’re paddle boarding in the ocean.
Now you know how to paddle board in the ocean. It’s not as complicated as I maybe made it out to be, but it’s by no means the same as a lake or river. So take this advice and be safe when you’re paddling out at sea.