We know multiple stories of unexperienced people and groups who left alone other paddlers during their downwind adventure creating certain safety issues. We ask a downwind expert and lover Mr. Fernando Coronel from the Velauno Paddleboard Store in San Juan, Puerto Rico a retail SUP store - SUP promoter of the downwind modality for many years in the Caribbean. They carry brands like SIC Maui, Surftech, Bic and many more.
We ask Mr. Coronel for a few tips regarding the amazing sport called Downwind SUP:
|Maliko 14′ – Series 1 – Jeremy Riggs, M2O 2012|
- Know the Starting location launch.
- I always recommend to have a minimum of (2) two people paddling together. If the group has more people; couples of similar level should paddle together.
- Never spread over 300 - 400 meters; the idea is to be together for a great adventure. This is not a contest of who will arrive first or demonstration who is better. We want to promote camaraderie, not the "I'm harder than...”. The concept is to share an adventure.
- Learn and know the path you will do (reefs, tides, currents, rocks and the sea characteristics of the area you will travel).
- Learn and know the arrival location; and where and how you will enter your arrival location. As I do, always anticipate the situations. Remember you are using large boards, be aware of the waves, breaks and the ocean level with the ocean floor (fin), etc…
- Study and know carefully the starting coast for the downwind path as well as where you can exit the water along the coast that you will be downwinding in case you need to get back to shore at any point during the ride. It is imperative to know which areas not to try to go (example: Reefs coastal stones on coast, shore breaks). This is very important because in the anguish to be out of water, things can get dangerous; which can be solved easily by exiting in the right places.
|Dakine Waterman hydration pack|
- Carry a communication artifact (phone, radio, etc…) for a rescue possibility (if necessary-emergency only). It is important to keep in mind that a water rescue has a service charge, if the rescue was done by Coast Guard or the State police (either via helicopter or boat). Remember that if this was caused by your negligence, you are responsible for the rescue cost. Please keep this in mind before entering the water.
- Bring water for hydration; we have the Dakine Waterman Hydration packs for this type of sport.
- Wear a Leash, ideally the one that is on top of the board (short or coiled leash).
- You need to know well your Paddle board; start with short trips to familiar places, with conditions that do not require a great challenge. This is a learning process and it is recommendable to use some tracking element for the route, such as a Garmin, or any iPhone (android too) application. This will allow you to understand the performance when a longer trip is planned. Also this will help you know the time that route took and avoid to put you at risk of something we cannot do physically.
- It is imperative to know how to swim well and you need to feel very comfortable in the sea, tides, waves, and some other little fish that we can pass on the side. On my downwind experiences I been accompanied by Dolphins many times.
- Learn to paddle with some minimal technique.
We at Velauno have trainers that can teach you how to paddle efficiently."