Pau Hana ambassadors take a paddle board adventure in Barbuda
Often people are put off attempting multi day SUP trips when they realise how much planning it involves, but if you take the time to plan a trip properly we guarantee it will be worth all your efforts in the most rewarding way. Planning can also be a lot of fun, once you have established your team for the trip, letting everyone get involved in the planning process can create great team building and trust in the group.
You’ll want to start by planning the route you want to take. Google earth is a great resource for souring potential put ins, take outs and camping spots, then look around on the internet for local advice on that area. You need to be aware of any potentials laws, park guidelines or restrictions in the area you may have to adhere too. You may even need to acquire a permit if you want to paddle or camp within a national park.
You will also want to establish if your trip is an A-B style or round loop trip, if you are planning an A-B trip you’ll want to make plans to set a shuttle or have a ride at the end waiting for you with some cold beers and fresh snacks.
When you have your trip plan complete with intended set off and return dates, make sure everyone in the group has a copy and also make sure a trusted friend or relative not going on the trip also has a copy. You may also be required to leave a trip plan with the park ranger if paddling within a park. Your trip plan should include:
Date of departure.
Date of return.
Route and camp spots.
A form of contact.
Next you’ll want to think about how long you intend to be out on the water, take the whole group into consideration and always base the trip around the weakest paddler in the group. If Jimmy can only paddle 20 miles a day, then that’s all the group will be paddling. If the route you have chosen is 60 miles in total then your trip will be 3 days on the water, with two nights at a camp. Always account for a couple of lay over days on the trip and be flexible with your set off date, this can allow for that unforeseen storm to roll through before you set off or if the conditions are working against you you will have extra time to complete the trip if you need it.
If your trip is on the ocean you’ll want to take tide times into account and factor that into your trip calculations.
Do some research on the average temperatures of both the weather and the water for the time of year you will be there, and when the time comes closer to the launch date check the weather forecast. Pack your clothes and gear based on those findings and always pack one extra layer just incase. Don’t forget sunglasses, even if it's cold, the light reflecting off the water can still be intense.
If you are planning a trip on a river you’ll also want to check the river levels as even flat rivers can become dangerous with fast currents and poor water quality when they flood.
Another thing to consider is cell service. Will the area you intend to go have cell coverage? You can find this out online with a quick Google search. If there is good coverage you can take a couple of cell phones and portable charging devices to use as a GPS tracker, map and emergency contact. If cell phone coverage is limited or not available then you will want to carry another emergency contact device such as a SPOT or InReach. These devices are expensive but totally worth it if they can save a life.
Along with your emergency contact device there are a couple of other items you’ll need on your trip:
A first aid kit, including any medications that maybe needed by any group members and some basic first aid knowledge.
Sunscreen and insect repellent.
A SUP leash so you can be connected to your board at all times.
PFD - personal floatation device, required on all multi day SUP trips.
Lights, for use on the water at night and finding your way around camp.
Bright clothing / water compatible clothing (cotton and denim are not a good choice to use in the water).
See the article PACKING FOR A MULTI DAY SUP TRIP for the full article on how to pack for a multi day trip. Remember too pack for the conditions and if in doubt, pack extra just incase. Make sure you have access to plenty of hydration, do your research into weather you will have access to a fresh water supply on the route or if you will need to carry it all with you from the start or if you can take a filtration system with you and filter water as you need it. For most multi day trips its nice to make a meal plan for the whole group as cooking together is fun and it can reduce a lot of weight if you are all eating the same food and cooking in the same pots.
Research your campsites and decide what sleeping arrangement is going to be best, backpacking tents, hammocks and good options depending on the different conditions you may have. Our Endurance and Endurance XL touring paddle boards accommodate a sleeping pad on the deck of the board so you can pull them up onto shore and use it as a base for your sleeping pad.
Now you have an idea of how much weight you are taking with you, its good practice to go paddling with that same weight on your board before the trip, so you can get used to how the board handles differently and where to distribute the weight so you board sits evenly on the water.
So now you have your trip planned and all the logistics are in place, the last thing to do is get paddle fit! Paddling countless miles on consecutive days can take a big toll on the body and muscles, and no matter how fit you think you are. The best preparation for paddling is, well, paddling. You want to devise a training plan that gets you out on the water covering a fair few miles ahead of the trip, but be careful not to overdo it so you’re too tired when the time comes to launch. Incorporate some balance exercises, core and legs with your paddling routine and you will be on your way to optimal paddle shape. Check out our FITNESS ARTICLES for ways to keep in shape even if you can’t access the water everyday.
We’d love to hear about your multi day paddle board adventures. Leave a comment or get in touch through our social channels.
Jen Chrimes is a marketing and design professional that has worked with the outdoor industry for over 9 years. She is also a professional kayaker and avid outdoor enthusiast who loves sharing her knowledge and passion through her work. You can find more about Jen and her work at jenchrimesdesign.com.
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