Paddleboarding or SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) has lately become the fastest growing water sport. You can stand, sit or lie on a paddleboard, and even make yoga exercises on it.
How to take your dog on the paddleboard
It is obvious that before you take your dog on the paddleboard, you should try it first on your own and learn some basic control maneuvers. And of course, both of you must be swimmers.
If your dog can’t at your command climb from the water onto a solid surface, first exercise and teach him to do it onshore. Once he has learned to do it, try the same in the water near the shore by holding the paddleboard for him and helping him to stabilize it.
But doing this, the dog will become familiar with the feeling of standing, sitting and lying on the paddleboard floating on the water, and you will have everything under control. You can even feed the dog on the paddleboard and thus evoke in him pleasant feelings associated with the paddleboard.
If you have a helper or if you and your dog make a good team, you may go straight on the water. The easiest way to start is in a sitting position. But paddling will be easier if you kneel. The ultimate goal is to be able to paddle in a stand-up position.
Place the dog as close to yourself as possible, so that his backside is (provided it is not too unpleasant for him) as much between your astride legs as possible. This way you will be more stable and have the dog from the start under better control. Ideal at the beginning is to make the dog either sit or lie, depending which of these positions is more natural and comfortable for him.
You can correct him in the position with the leash attached either to his harness or life jacket. To free your hands, you can keep the leash down by kneeling on it with one knee. This way the leash will be also readily available if you need to help the dog back into the position. But using the leash might not be necessary. It depends on how easily your dog can be controlled, how self-reliant he is, and if the two of you are a well-coordinated team.
Don’t let your dog (at least at the beginning) walk freely on the paddleboard. Any movement will rock the board and disturb its stability, and by counterbalancing it you will be destabilizing each other. Once both of you have become more confident, you can give your dog more freedom. Although it is said that those who don’t fall in the water ride below their ability, unless your dog is an absolute water lover, he will first need to gain confidence and trust in the new craft. Introduce the paddleboard to him calmly, and prevent unexpected falls into the water.
Very practical is also teaching your dog to jump from the paddleboard at your command. You will appreciate it when returning back to the shore. Because to most dogs, the approaching shore will be a challenge to jump. They don’t want to wait until their owner, at last, gets to them, they want to make a contribution by their own activity. However, not all paddlers can withstand an unexpected dog’s leap. Your fall in the water might provide an entertainment for onlookers, but at that moment it is less funny for the paddler.
Main benefits of paddleboarding with your dog:
- It enhances the balancing system of both, the person and the dog
- SUP can be mustered quickly even by a beginner with a minimum of equipment
- The dog does not sit in water all the time, as is often the case in a boat
- With your help the dog will climb onto the board easily even from water
- It is an ideal activity for the whole family
- Pack the paddleboard in the provided rucksack and off you go
- In warm weather, it is ideal to combine paddleboarding with swimming
What you should watch for:
- Overheating and hypothermia of both yourself and your dog, sunburn
- Wind – can quickly blow you away from the shore, and it will be difficult to get back; better first sail downwind
- The fin – make sure that you don’t break it off in shallow water
- That you don’t drown the paddle – although it floats, it does so only for a while and only a little
- Never underestimate the water and never overestimate yourself and your dog
Available in the market is a large selection of various types of paddleboards. We have selected for you three types which we found to be the most suitable ones.
Both can carry one or two paddlers with one to two medium size dogs. Once you have tested them and want to go for a ride, you won’t want any other. They are brisk, easily maneuverable, and fast.
A universal paddleboard for the whole family (1 to 2 persons or 1 person and more than one dog or a child). Because of its large surface area, it is very stable even when jumping into the water. The board has two additional pairs of rubber grips, one on each side, plus a grip at the bow and at the stern, which will help you to get out of the water easily. Ideal for swimming and short trips.
Each paddleboard comes with a rucksack, a pump, a repair kit, a fin (rudder) and a leash (which you attach to your foot to prevent the paddleboard from drifting away).
The SUP paddle is foldable and has an adjustable length. It is a standard accessory mainly of universal, basic types of paddleboards. But of course, there are differences among them as well. Those paddles which are a standard accessory of the paddleboard are usually made of hardened aluminium (the most common, the cheapest and heavier and less sturdy). The paddleboards selected by us do not come with a paddle. Out of the large selection available, we prefer paddles made of carbon and fiberglass composition. Such paddles are strong, unbelievably light and sturdy.
Sun & Water Collection Handy could be also getting a life jacket for yourself and your dog, a waterproof bag for your possessions, a mobile phone case (we offer those which allow photos to be taken and a touch screen to be operated), fast-drying and against UV radiation protecting suits, etc.
Life jacket for your dog It’s not a necessity always and for all, but when wearing one, your dog will be safer if you embark on a trip farther offshore or on more choppy waters. And, last but not the least, it will make it easier for you to help your dog climb back onto the board. Pulling him by the jacket loop is perfectly simple for you and comfortable for the dog. You will actually appreciate having one on the paddleboard. But beware – it’s relatively warm wearing one. Make sure your dog is not wearing it for too long out of water in warm weather. There is quite a big choice available in the market. We have again selected only one which should meet our needs perfectly. The Finnish life jacket is intended for dogs who can swim, it serves merely as a safeguard, but does not restrict the dogs in their movements.
A SUP is easy to transport. You just pack it in the provided rucksack and are ready to hit the road. The kit weighs on average between 9 and 11 kg.
Enjoy the summer. Wishing you a lot of holiday fun,
Yvona and Míša Andr