Planning a Long-Distance Standup Paddleboard Trip

Planning a Long-Distance Standup Paddleboard Trip

Whether you want to spend a few days leisurely paddling along a secluded beach or a lively trip down a river, multiday standup paddleboard (SUP) trips can change your status from beginner SUP owner to an experienced adventurer.

So if you’ve had your fill of one-day excursions and are ready to take your paddleboarding to the next level, you should give multiday trips a try. However, unlike trips to the local waterfront for the day, you can’t just grab your board and head out on a multiday trip. Extended trips with your SUP board require some advanced planning.

Just like any other trip, you have to make some basic preparations, but because multiday trips on the water are so unique, you also have additional needs to consider, and this post has you covered. If you want to go out on an extended trip with your standup paddleboard, this post gives you all the details you need to plan your trip, stay safe, and have a great time.

standup paddleboard

Considerations to Make Before You Schedule Your Trip

While you may want to get online and start searching for destinations right away, you still have a few things to think about before you narrow down your choices. The following considerations require that you be very honest with yourself and anyone going with you to keep your trip safe and fun:

  • Your experience level: There’s no easy way to say this, but beginners shouldn’t take multiday trips. You may have just purchased your SUP board and are eager to get the most of out it that you can, but you should resist the urge to take on more than you can really handle. Overnight trips with your paddleboard are a big deal and require plenty of paddleboarding experience. Even if you’re an elite athlete, that doesn’t mean that one of your first trips can be a multiday one. Know your limitations and get plenty of experience in different types of water and weather conditions before you head out on a long-distance trip. You need to also consider the experience level of each person going with you, and plan your trip based on the person with the least experience.
  • Your comfort level: You may have experienced rough water and navigated it just fine, but that doesn’t mean you’re comfortable with it. So consider what you’re comfortable paddling through for several days and also check out the comfort level of everyone going on the trip with you. That way, you can select an itinerary that everyone is comfortable with and will enjoy.
  • Your fitness level: If you’re used to going out on the water just one day every couple of weeks for about an hour or so, consider that a long-distance trip means your body is powering your transportation. So be realistic about how much paddling you can physically handle each day in specific conditions. While you and your friends don’t have to be top-notch athletes to complete a long-distance SUP board trip and enjoy it, you need to consider how much paddling you can do so that you don’t take on too much distance each day. If it’s your first trip, start small and go short distances each day to give you plenty of time to recover. You can also plan for just two or three days rather than a week-long excursion.

standup paddleboard

Planning the Details of Your Long-Distance SUP Trip

Once you get a rough idea of what types of conditions and distances you and your friends can handle, you can begin to plan your trip. The following list gets you started thinking about all the details you need to account for:

  • Plan your route. Your route plan needs to be detailed. There’s a big difference between paddling in the same area each day and paddling to new locations each day. If you’re paddling in the same area, you might just camp out or find accommodations nearby the same point from which you launch and return. If you plan to launch and land at different locations each day, you need to plan not only for new accommodations each day but also for transportation to your launch points as well as transportation to pick you up from each new landing point every day. Part of your planning should include research about the route itself. While hitting a new spot and unfamiliar territory is part of the fun, you need to be sure that the route and all possible stopping points are safe. It’s helpful to also see whether the route convenient spots for impromptu stops where you can stop for rest, an emergency, or just to have some fun off your SUP board.
  • Check the weather and water conditions. Even if you’re familiar with the area, check out the weather conditions that normally occur in that location for the time of year you plan on traveling. Be sure to check out wind conditions and average temperatures and not just whether it may rain. Remember that conditions can change fairly quickly so knowing what historically happens in that location can be helpful as you plan. Be sure to understand water conditions for the season as well, from water temps to whether you’ll face calm or rushing water. Of course, be sure to check conditions as you get closer to your travel dates and plan for any conditions you might encounter.
  • Pack your gear. What you pack depends on what your specific plans are. So if you don’t already have packing lists, now is a great time to create them. Create a list for cold weather travel, overnight travel, and in addition to what you normally pack for a day-long SUP board trip. Keeping each list separate means that when you plan a long-distance trip, you can grab the right lists, depending on the details of your trip.

Whether you want to spend a long weekend on a winter standup paddleboard trip or stay a week in a warm, exotic destination, planning is everything. If you’re prepared with lists to make your packing easy and ensure that everyone in your party is comfortable with the arrangements, then you can be sure that you’ll have a great time on the water.

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