Surf conditions can be deceiving. There can be dangerous currents on calm days. Call for the latest surf advisory at Pensacola Beach (850-932-SURF) and the Gulf Islands National Seashore in the protected areas. The Gulf of Mexico is beautiful, warm and inviting but can sometimes be hazardous.Where lifeguards are present, please be aware of flags thatalert you to conditions of currents. Rip currents and rapidly changing weather conditions can create dangerous situations if you are unprepared. It’s always safest to swim where lifeguards are present. AND NEVER SWIM ALONE!


    The number one way to get into trouble is to fall off your board and have it separated from you by wind, waves, or current. Even in a light breeze, the board can drift away from you faster than you can swim. Always paddle with a friend using the “buddy system”. If you do go out by yourself, make sure that someone on shore knows your planned route and when you expect to return. Never paddle farther from shore than you are prepared to swim. Always head upwin before you go downwind so it will be easier to get back to the launch site and NEVER GO OUT IN OFF-SHORE WINDS (Winds that blow you out to sea!) If you find yourself in trouble, NEVER LEAVE YOUR BOARD! if and when you fall off your board, always swim to the board first, then paddle the board with your hands back to pick up the paddle. Falling to the side of the board prevents injury because you avoid hitting the board. Once in the water, drop the paddle and swim to the board. Use your arms to move the board to recover your paddle.




The Foundation of SUP is proper foot placement and stance. This allows you to control your paddleboad and adjust to changing conditions, such as waves, a boat wake or winds. While kneeling, find the center of the board. To know if you are centered on your board, the nose will rise approximately one or two inches above the water while the tail of the board remains equal to the water’s surface. Place feet shoulder-width apart and parallel to each other. This positions your head and shoulders facing forward, toward the nose of the board.


Proper body position places the torso in an upright position as the knees bend slightly. With the knees bent, the hips sink down toward the board and remain centered over the heels. This position keeps the center of gravity low on the board and promotes balance when paddling.


During the forward stroke, the blade of the paddle is placed in the water toward the nose and approximately eight inches away from the side, or rail of the board. Use the top hand to bury the blade of the paddle into the water up to it’s shaft. This motion begins the stroke as the blade moves down into the water and push it straight back to your feet.


The easiest technique a combination of forward or reverse sweep strokes. Start with a reverse stroke on the side in the direction you want to turn, to initiate the board turning. If needed, paddle on the opposite side to continue turning.