Paddle at the Pear Tree!

Paddleboarding Safety

At Northland Paddleboarding your safety is our primary concern, and you'll be hard pressed to find a safer SUP operation anywhere in New Zealand. We operate from extremely safe locations that we are intimately familiar with, and safety is always the number one consideration at all times throughout all our activities. We also teach a very popular and enjoyable course on SUP rescue techniques; what to do if you see someone in trouble; skills and knowledge we'd strongly advise all stand up paddleboarders to have. Check it out here...

However, if you're not operating under the eagle eye of one our professional instructors, you'll need to be thinking about your own safety when you're out on your paddleboard. Stand-up paddleboarding is a pretty safe sport as it is conducted at low speeds. However, like any water sport, there is the potential for things to go wrong, especially here in New Zealand where the weather can often change rapidly. So, however experienced a water-person you may be, have a read and think about the following points.

  • Stay close to the shore! Until you’re confident that you can cope with rough waters and strong winds, don’t go too far offshore.

  • Know the weather! Always check the forecast before heading out on the water; understand and think about what is likely to happen (particularly re wind strength & direction) & how it could affect you.

  • Beware of offshore winds!! One of the biggest hazards for paddleboarders; offshore winds get stronger the further out you go, and can make it difficult/impossible to get home.

  • Check the tides! Do you know how the currents and tides will affect your location during the time you plan on being afloat?

  • Don’t paddle alone! Stay safe and paddle with a friend. If you must paddle alone, tell someone else your plans.

  • Carry a phone! There are plenty of waterproof phone cases available. (If there’s no signal where you’re going, make other plans)

  • Always wear a legrope! If you are securely attached to your board very little can go wrong. HOWEVER - it has to be the right sort of legrope for the conditions. If you're going onto a river or any other fast-flowing water your leash needs to have a belt-positioned quick release, NOT worn around your ankle. If you're going out into the surf you really don't want a coiled leash. Please feel free to contact us for more advice on this - the right sort of leash will save your life, but the wrong sort of leash can be deadly!
    Northland Paddleboarding has a variety of styles and sizes of leash for sale.

  • Wear a PFD. It might seem a bit irrelevant if you’re attached to a big floaty thing already, but it’s the law. New Zealand Maritime Law (rule 91.4) says that you must carry a PFD on any small craft under 5m, which includes paddleboards. It is the law and you can be fined for non compliance. The only exemption to this
    (negotiated by NZSUP) is when you are actively involved in surfing your paddleboard, or participating in a competition with organised safety cover. The MTI Fluid waist-belt pull-to-inflate style of PFD pictured here is the best product on the market for paddleboarders who want an unobtrusive yet functional PFD. It is approved by Maritime NZ & is available from Northland Paddleboarding.

  • Surf Safe! Don’t use your board in surf until you are confident, and then be sure to follow the SUP SURF CODE. See the SURF SAFETY page at for more on this.