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When Is It Too Windy To SUP? (Paddle Boarding Wind Speeds)

when is it too windy to SUP

Wind is one of the most important elements to determine whether or not we can go on a stand up paddle boarding session. There are some days where the sun is shining, and there is not a single cloud in the sky, but the second you leave the house you get blown away by gusty wind. Especially for beginners, this can be very dangerous. So if you’re new to this watersport, you may be wondering when it is too windy to SUP.

Beginners should avoid wind speeds higher than 10 knots (11,5 mph). Experienced stand up paddle boarders often enjoy sessions in stronger wind. SUPing in wind speeds higher than 15 knots (17,3 mph) is only recommended in onshore wind and with a number of safety precautions in place.

Whether you are new to the sport or a seasoned stand up paddle boarder, never head out without being properly prepared.

This article is going to teach you everything you need to know to have a safe and fun SUP adventure on a windy day.

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When Is It Too Windy To SUP? – Resources

As the ideal wind speed for SUP boarders depends on your experience level, You need to decide for yourself what wind speeds you can handle.

For beginners, we strongly recommend to avoid windy days, focus on your technique and get rid of shaky legs before you tackle the next challenge. Once you are more comfortable, start by practicing on a slighly windier day (e.g. in 6 knots) and see how you feel.

You can use the Beaufort Wind Scale to understand what the different wind speeds mean.

If you live in North America, check the NOAA ( for wind and wave predictions.

For an accurate wind forecast worldwide we highly recommend the Windy App. Another great resource is

Remember that wind is often accompanied by other weather characteristics, such as rain, thunder and lightning.

Check with your local weather station and National weather service ( before you head out to make sure that you are not going to get caught in a thunderstorm while you’re out paddling.

Stand up paddle boarding in rain can be fun, but you don’t want to take any risks and be well prepared.

Read also: How tight should a wetsuit be?

Tips for Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Strong Wind

If you’ve decided that you’re ready for a windy adventure on your stand up paddle board, make sure to be well prepared.

stand up paddle boarding on a windy day

Paddle on Familiar Waters

Choose a body of water that you are already familiar with. That way, you know which places get windy during what part of the day, which areas you should avoid due to strong tides, etc.

Don’t Paddle in Offshore Winds

Before you head out on a windy day, check the wind direction. Always paddle into the wind and never head out into offshore wind, meaning wind that blows away from shore and in the direction of the open ocean.

It is also extremely important to know whether or not the wind is expected to change direction later in the day.

On a day with very strong onshore wind, paddling can be a great workout. Try to paddle against the wind and when you’re tired, just let it carry you back to the beach.

Read also: What Do You Wear Under a Wetsuit? (Costume vs Commando)

Beware of Gusts

When you check the wind forecast, also take a close look at the speed of gusts. Those sudden strong winds can be quite dangerous.

Gusty wind makes it harder to keep the balance on the board. If you are surprised by this kind of wind while stand up paddle boarding, kneel or sit down.

Research Tides

An incoming tide combined with strong onshore winds causes larger waves, while offshore wind in the same conditions results in choppy water.

The stronger the tidal current and wind, the harder it is going to be to keep your balance.

In general, stand up paddle boarding beginners on the ocean should plan to practice during slack tide. Slack tides occur shortly before and after high tide and low tide. The term describes the moment when the tide turns and changes direction. When this happens, the water is moving minimally.

This means that you can fully concentrate on keeping your balance in the wind, without also being confronted by extremely difficult water conditions.

Can I Inflate my SUP with a Compressor?
Read also: What Kite Size Do I Need? (Kite Size Chart)

Use Your Senses

Once you have thouroughly studied the wind and weather forecast, make sure that it’s accurate. When you arrive at your stand up paddle boarding spot, take a look at the surrounding trees and flags to confirm the wind direction and strength.

Monitor the Conditions

Continue to keep an eye on the conditions while you’re out paddling. For example: If whitecaps appear on the waves, this could be a sign that the wind is getting stronger.

Wear a PFD

Paddle Boarding for Beginners 101: Wearing a life vest or an inflatable life belt could save your life. You should really always wear one, especially when stand up paddle boarding on windy days. You don’t have one yet? We can recommend the Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports CGA Life Vest.

Wear Your leash

Another no-brainer. If you stand up paddle board in strong wind and fall into the water, you won’t get your board back if you don’t have a safety leash attached to it.

Read also: Best Wetsuits for Swimming in Cold Water (2022 Expert Guide)

Bring a Cellphone

When paddle boarding in strong wind, I highly recommend you bring a cellphone for emergencies. Schedule a call with a friend or family member after a certain amount of time to let them know you’re okay.

If you do get lost, call the Coastguard. We also recommend apps, such as what3words that help to locate you in case something goes wrong.

Paddle With a Friend

Especially in difficult conditions, the best advice I can give you is to paddle with a friend. Two pairs of eyes can monitor the weather twice as good – and it’s going to be double the fun.

By the way: Stand up paddle boarding with your dog is another really enjoyable activity that you should put on your SUP adventures bucket list!

Expert Advice for SUP Boarding in Strong Wind

Last but not least, here are some extra tips for your SUP adventure in strong wind:

  • Kneel down if you are struggling to keep the balance standing up.
  • Prone paddling is the most efficient way get upwind in heavy wind.
  • Downwinders are a fun activity for a day trip. Let someone drop you off and organize a pick-up at a location further downwind.
  • You can also surf downwind. At around 20-25 knots (23-28 mph), this is something more experienced paddlers may want to do.
Read also: Should I Inflate My SUP With A Compressor? (Expert Advice)

Final Thoughts on Stand Up Paddle Boarding on a Windy Day

Let’s sum up: When it is too windy to SUP is up to you. (At least up to a certain point. Don’t be foolish and head out in wind speeds that you can’t handle.) And if you’re still a beginner, keep it under 10 knots – there will be enough beautiful calm days for a relaxing SUP session.

Happy paddling!

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