The SUP Flip Rescue

The sup flip rescue is for pulling a stand up paddler out of the water who can’t remount the board themselves, usually due to fatigue or a 6″ thick inflatable.  The rescue comes from rafting and sailing.
It also works for pulling swimmers or flipped kayak/canoeists onto your board.
The shown method is for stand up paddlers to pull another stand up paddler out of the water.  If practiced often, it can be completed in rough water in less than a minute. I’ve done it in whirlpools for a fatigued student at Deception Pass in Washington State.

How to do the Flip Rescue

Paddle your board over to the capsized paddler.
Ask if they’re cold, ask how long they’ve been in the water
– While doing so, flip their board fin up. Easiest to do so with two overhand hands at the tail or nose.
– Climb on your knees from your board to theirs using your paddle as a brace across both
– Pull the victim in and have them face you in the Middle of their board
Drop both paddles in the water between the victim and their board. Let them float for corralling.
– Ask them to cross their arms, then grab their hands (not wrists)
– While doing so, stand up on their board and step their opposite rail.
Kick your board back (should be on leash)
– Then fall back into the water. Standing is the most effective method. Not doing so may fail, so you’ll have to go again.
– Once they’re their board, move to towards their tail (same side) and reaching over their board, pull their legs on
– Get back on your board and tow or push with your board (nose to tail) them back to shore. NRS Tow System
– Call for 911 or the Coast Guard on channel 16 on a tethered VHF radio if you’re unable to reach shore to prevent hypothermia.
Practice often to do the flip under a minute and be open to them falling back off, or having to find a Plan B solution.  When you tow or push them to shore, ask the victim to lie prone (chest) or sit to prevent from falling off again.
Always wear your PFD and leash (waist leash in current) to stay off the news.

Related Posts:

Board Push Technique for Getting a SUP or Kayak to Shore Quickly

Tow Ropes for SUP Rescues

Stirrup Rescue for Inflatable SUPs

About Rob Casey – Named a pioneer in the SUP industry by Stand Up Journal, Rob is the author of “Stand Up Paddling Flat Water to Surf and Rivers” and “Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juans, 60 Trips.” Rob owns SUP school Salmon Bay Paddle in Seattle. He also runs several paddling races throughout the year.
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