How to Tow a SUP
One of the ways is by towing. Giving the rescuee your leash is one way to do it if you don’t have a tow rope. The downside is that now you’re now leash-less.
Using a tow rope means that you can stay leashed up while still being able to tow the rescuee to shore. Read on to learn how to tow a SUP.
Types of Tow and Throw Ropes…
Waist Tow Systems
Designed to be attached to your waist via a Fastex quick release buckle. The can also be attached to your board. These systems have a carabiner on the end, and a floater just behind the carabiner to keep the biner on the surface. Some lines have floating rope as well.
I use NRS tow ropes as they’re easy to use hold up in heavy conditions. They also make great lines for cooling your beer while camping.
There’s several compact one and two line systems on the market which can be worn around your waist with a quick release buckle, or attached to your board via outfitting.
I prefer tow bags as a velcro pouch, so I can stuff the line back in quickly vs whitewater style where it takes longer to thread the line in.
These are designed for rivers but can be in non-river situations. They often don’t have a waist option. You either throw the bag or line at the rescuee. The NRS Standard Throw Bag (pictured) is a good example.
Either way, you should have a method of releasing your end in case there’s a snag, etc.
DIY Tow Systems
- The best way to attach a tow line to another board is to it’s bow/nose if it happens to have a leash plug or stick on loop (EZ Plug or NSI plug). But 99% of the boards out there have no attachments in this location. I’d recommend adding a nose loop attachment on your board (and rental boards).
- You can also have the rescuee hold the tow line end (usually a carabiner) or wrap it around the shaft of T-Grip of their paddle. It’s best to have them sit or lay prone (flat) to keep them stable while towing.
- Loop the end around the widest part of their board and carabiner it around itself completing the loop, then the remainder lines up towards the nose and attached to you (make sense?)
- For whitewater, you may consider getting a throw line/bag which is thrown from shore to a swimmer or pinned paddler.
- The rescuee’s line should detach easily if there’s a problem. Never tie either end in knot or permanently (unless you don’t have a choice of course).
Check out my SUP Water Safety Online Course which has detailed videos and text on towing and rescues.
SUP Water Safety (Online Course)