With the arrival of summer and temperatures soaring, it's officially paddle boarding season! Here at Aquaplanet, we live and breathe paddle boarding, and there's nothing we love more than hitting the water under the glorious UK sunshine. While paddle boarding is a year-round adventure, there's something truly magical about gliding across the water on a warm, sunny day.

As seasoned paddle boarders, we understand that having the right gear and preparation can transform a good day on the water into an unforgettable experience. That's why we're sharing our top tips to help you make the most of these sunny summer months. Whether you're a beginner finding your sea legs or a pro looking to refine your skills, we've got you covered with expert advice to elevate your paddle boarding adventures.

Get ready to dive into our insider secrets and make this summer your best paddle boarding season yet!

Pick the right paddle board


Although it might seem obvious, having the right board for your choice of activity and skill level can massively impact your experience of paddle boarding. If you’re not quite a SUP pro just yet, don’t lie to yourself, invest in a wider paddle board. Wider boards will give you much greater stability on the water if you are just starting off. However, if you have more experience, then a wider board might be slightly slower on the water and feel a bit harder to turn. In this case, to use your paddle board to the maximum of your ability, boards with thinner widths are best. For the most experienced of paddle boarders, 29 inches wide or less tends to offer the most speed and mobility.

Most people like to use an all-round inflatable paddle board, however if you have a more niche paddle boarding hobby and want to make the most out of your time on the water, then investing in a specialised paddle board is probably a good idea. Activities that have specifically designed paddle boards include:

Racing - Longer, thinner shapes for more speed and glide

Touring - Long boards often with more stability and load carrying options

Yoga - Stable boards with an allround shape and a large deckpad/mat area

Surfing - Typically thinner, shorter boards with surf fin setups

Fishing - Wide, stable boards with lots of room for fishing kit and attachments

Likewise, if you are planning to undertake your paddle boarding adventures with a passenger, such as a pet or child, you will need to make sure that you have purchased a paddle board with the right weight capacity. If you overload a paddle board and exceed the weight limit, not only will the board perform poorly, but you and your passenger are also likely to end up in the water, probably more than once.

Safety First!

Before you even set foot on a paddle board, it's crucial to understand some basic safety skills. Ensure you follow these top safety tips:

- Ensure you know how to swim confidently, as this is your first line of defense should you fall into the water. Learn how to remount your board from the water — practice this in shallow, calm conditions before venturing into deeper water. Additionally, familiarise yourself with basic self-rescue techniques, such as using your paddle to maneuver yourself back to your board.

- Wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD): Always wear a PFD, especially in deep or unpredictable waters. Opt for a PFD designed specifically for paddle boarding to ensure maximum comfort and mobility.

- Check weather conditions: Always check the weather forecast before heading out. Avoid paddling in strong winds, storms, or rapidly changing weather conditions, and be aware of tide times and currents if you’re paddling in the ocean.

- Use a leash: Attach a leash to your ankle or calf to stay connected to your board. This prevents your board from drifting away if you fall off, which is especially important in windy or choppy conditions.

- Paddle with a buddy: Whenever possible, paddle with a friend for added safety. If you’re paddling alone, let someone know your planned route and expected return time. Carry a whistle or another signaling device to attract attention in case of an emergency. 

Dress to impress

So you don’t actually need to impress anyone, you’ll look cool on a paddle board whatever you’re wearing, but you do need to dress with the weather in mind. It is always advisable to check the weather forecast before you head out on a paddle board but you should always take the forecast with a pinch of salt and have some ‘just in case’ clothes, as UK summer temperatures can range between 12 - 30°C.

Summer is typically the easiest time of year to dress for paddle boarding, many people will be comfortable to wear their swimming costume and not a lot else, but having some decent board shorts and a light t-shirt will help to keep you warm if there is a cooler breeze. Be sure to pack some extra layers in case it is colder than you expect, such as a jumper or jacket. Remember that cotton T-shirts will be cold when wet, so quick drying synthetic fibres like a rash top or running shirt are better.

Due to the change in temperature that a breeze can bring about, you also need to consider the type of water that you are paddle boarding on when choosing your outfit. The open ocean tends to have stronger and potentially colder winds than a secluded lake or protected bay, so can feel a lot chiller even in the same climate. It’s always wise to ‘dress for the water’ so if you do have a swim, you will still be warm and comfortable. Having a few layers in your dry bag so you can adapt to changing conditions - a windproof top or neoprene jacket are a great extra to keep with you on your board.

Equipment care - Proper inflation


Inflatable paddle boards need to be inflated to the correct pressure to ensure optimal performance. Under-inflated boards can be sluggish and unstable, while over-inflated boards may be prone to damage. Always check on the paddle board for its recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) and use a pump with a gauge to achieve the right pressure. This will help your board perform better on the water and extend its lifespan.

Keep your board in the shade. Direct sunlight can damage your paddle board over time. Prolonged exposure to heat can cause the material to expand and weaken. Whenever you’re not using your board, store it in a shaded area or cover it with a protective tarp to prevent heat damage.

Be sun smart

Three people with sun glasses heading to the beach with Aquaplanet rucksacks

Don’t let sunburn and sunstroke ruin a fun day out on your paddle board, although the UK isn’t known for it’s summer Caribbean climate, UV rays from the sun can still be dangerous here. Aside from the obvious and vital ritual of regularly applying a strong SPF, you should make sure that you have packed other sun-protecting accessories such as sunglasses and a sunhat.

Dehydration is another risk of increased sun exposure so make sure you take extra water with you when paddle boarding in the summer and make time for regular breaks to avoid spending too much time in the sun.

We do recommend trying to paddle during cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late afternoon. Avoid going out for too long during peak sun hours (10 AM to 4 PM) when the sun is at its strongest. If possible, plan your route to include spots where you can take breaks in the shade. 

Be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion, such as dizziness, headache, nausea, excessive sweating, and muscle cramps. If you start feeling any of these symptoms, get to a shaded area, drink water, and cool down immediately.

Where to paddle board


An important feature of your paddle board experience is going to be where you actually decide to paddle. Ultimately, you can choose to paddle board on virtually any body of water although there are a number of popular choices such as ocean, lakes and rivers that are preferred by paddle boarders. When picking a place to paddle board you should take into account the conditions that may be present and your own paddle boarding ability.

For example, oceans can offer great opportunities to explore endless shorelines and coves but there can be choppy waters which make it hard for beginners to balance. Whereas, lakes can provide more sheltered and calmer conditions which make it easier to get the hang of paddle boarding techniques, but there is a smaller area to explore. So before choosing a location to paddle board you should decide what you would like to get out of your trip; are you more focused on travelling long distances or improving your technique? You should then research potential places to see which are most suitable.

Apart from the actual paddle boarding, when it comes to locations this summer, you are also going to have to think about other logistics. How far away is the car park? It’s probably not ideal if you’re going to have to carry your kit and lots of other belongings for miles in the summer sun. Likewise, is there somewhere you can keep your valuables safe whilst you SUP or will everything have to be taken with you on your paddle board? These, amongst other things, are important to plan before setting off to your paddle boarding destination.

With summer only round the corner, make sure you use these tips for making the most of your paddle boarding adventures this season!


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