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What’s a guy to do with a 2′ swell? Go SUP’ing! That is on flat water. We’re headed off to our favorite spots on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula to paddle the inner coastal areas with the sup. A high pressure system will bring blue skies and sun, and a slightly chilled October air. NOAA is calling for a 17′ swell next week. Winter’s coming.

Tips for Flat Cold water Paddling:
I always bring a water bottle in fanny pack. Also in the fanny pack goes a energy bar, waterproofed flares, a compact emergency blanket, neoprene gloves, a neoprene skull cap or hood, and a waterproof camera. I attach a waterproof watch to the exterior to watch for tidal changes. In some areas here, missing the flood can be a long paddle home. Lastly, I attach a waterproof twist on Guardian LED light to the exterior for after dusk. It’s required in some states to have one white light at night while paddling. Attached to the back of the fanny pack, it’s not glaring in my eyes, and gives boaters an idea of where I am. I always use a leash to avoid loosing my board in case of a fall in heavier winds or surf. I’ll be soon purchasing a bungy leash to avoid having it caught in kelp beds.

I’d also recommend a waterproof camera such as the Pentax Optio W60, and possibly a gortex paddling drytop for windchill protection. If the wind is up, consider a two piece kayak paddle to strap to the board for upwinders. It’s a lot easier to sit down with reduced wind resistence than standing going upwind.

Prior to leaving, I tell a friend or two of where I’m planning of going and how long I’ll be out. I’ll also check the NOAA site for wind and a barometer reading. If the barometer’s dropping, there’s inclement weather approaching. In coastal areas, I’ll check the tides to see whether the flood or ebb will be of benefit to me, or a problem. I also check tides to determine if there’s an exposed tide pool area of interest to see. Of course despite the best swell and weather prediction sites, Mother Nature makes the final call. If i get to my launch spot and it looks sketchy, I’ll make other plans. Sometimes the predictions can be incorrect and thus to my benefit. I love those days where no swell is predicted, but there’s surf anyway, and no crowds.

For Seattle and Washington State, I use these two sites for weather and swell prediction..
http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/data/Forecasts/FZUS56.KSEW.html
http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=WPOW1

Salmon Bay Paddle SUP Tips

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