Monday, June 8, 2009

Downwinding Safety This was the standard 9 mile Oahu downwind ocean run, done for fun each weekend.

The article inspired to me to write about downwinding safety. I have done about 15 ocean runs in winds up to 35 mph.

1) Don't even think about trying it without a leash. We run up to one mile offshore doing ocean runs and can become separated by over a mile. You should plan for the worst, and expect to be on your own out there. It's not possible for someone to reverse direction and paddle upwind to save you in 30 knots. If you're worried about leash drag, get a short coil leash. Jacky and I use Bully's paddleboard coil leash.

2) Take your cell phone. Water proof bags are available at Great Outdoor Provision for less than $20.

3) Carry water. We've done runs with and without Camelbaks. We always finish feeling good when we take the Camelbaks. We usually finish beat without them. A little sip every 20 minutes really does make a difference.

4) We carry Co2 inflatable life belts in our Camelbaks. PFDs are required by law when doing off shore ocean downwinders. Enforcement of the law is inconsistent. Most get away without using one. We feel better knowing it's with us.

Next week I'll announce a weekly Downwind Swell Chasing Series to take place each Saturday throughout the summer, wind permitting.

Be safe out there.

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