Can You Paddle Board On A River? Yes and 7 Vital Tips

Can you use a paddle board on a river?

Well, you can use a canoe, a kayak or a boat on a river. Therefore, there is no reason why you should not try some radical white water stand up paddle boarding.

So, can you paddle board on a river? First, you need to choose the best river stand up paddle board. Secondly, you need to prepare amply and wear the right gear, which includes a helmet and a type III life jacket for paddle boarding. Thirdly, you need to know your skill level. River paddle boarding is a lot of fun but it has a danger lining to it if you don’t do it right.

Of course, the river stand up paddle board experience will be different from what you would get from paddle boarding in San Diego in the ocean.

As usual, we insist that before you engage in whitewater paddle boarding, you should know your skill level.

While both beginners and advanced SUP enthusiasts can paddle board on river, due preparation is very important.

Today, the sport of paddle boarding on rivers is growing fast. People no longer want to be confined to the usual.

They want to try their hand at something more challenging and more demanding. For a stand up paddle board enthusiast, nothing beats the excitement that comes with river paddle boarding.

Tips for paddle boarding on rivers

Tips for paddle boarding on rivers

When you know how to paddle board on a river, you will be happy because you can hop onto your paddle board wherever you can find a river.

You need to be careful because the dynamics of stand up paddle boarding on a river are different from lake or ocean SUP techniques. Here are important tips to help you SUP on river:

Build your confidence

It will take a larger bout of confidence to get on that board in a river of swirling waters. However, you have to lose sight of the shore to discover new lands.

Therefore, learn how to swim because there will be a lot of falling in the water. You do not want to try river paddle boarding if you cannot swim.

Sure, in another article, we said that you don’t have to know how to swim to paddle board. However, that is in the case of open water paddle boarding.

If you fall in a moving river, you will need to swim lest the current draws you to rocks and rapids.

You must wear a PFD and a helmet

The river has a strong current that can pull you towards rocks, logs and rapids. Therefore, you need to feel confident that even when you drop, you will not crack your skull.

That is why it is important to wear a helmet. On the open waters such as lakes or oceans, only beginners wear helmets since they do not know how to fall far from the paddle board. However, on a river, you should wear a helmet regardless of your skill level.

A PFD is a personal floating device, mostly a life jacket. You can be sure that no matter how skilled you are, you will fall into the water. Your PFD will help keep you afloat on the water.

Choose the best rivers to paddle board

Choosing the best paddle boarding destination is very important. Even with higher paddle boarding skill, you will need to choose the best rivers to paddle board.

For instance, a river that has rocks, rapids and a lot of floating debris is not safe. The last thing you want is to hit your head on a rock.

Of course, you cannot paddle board on the entire river. Therefore, if you are thinking of the Colorado River, you can drive along the river until you find a good spot that does not have fast moving water.

Once you have found a good spot, leave your car and get ready to hop your paddle board. You can even check online to see the most recommended spots of the river that you intend to paddle board.

You might need someone to come with you so that they can collect you down the river with the car. That way, you don’t have to walk a long distance to your truck with a 12-foot board on your back.

Store your gear right

Paddle boarding on a river requires that you carry your gear with you. This includes your clothes, food, cellphone and others. To carry your items, you need a bungee bag and a leash to secure the items on your board.

The bungee bag is going to keep your items safe and dry. Even if the load becomes loose and falls into the river, your items will not get wet.

Do not carry too much gear and even then, do tie it close to the middle of the board. That way, it will not tip the nose or the tail of the paddle board.

Ride the current

When you are engaging in whitewater paddle boarding you cannot fight the current. Therefore, turn your board the right way so that you ride with it.

Image of falling in the water

Fighting the current will spend all of your energy. Save your energy. If it goes to the left, go with it. You need your energy to keep your balance on the board.

Don’t paddle board barefoot

Because the paddle board will pick up speed with the current, it is important that you do get two bare feet paddle board instructions.

Better still, you should wear a pair of snorkeling shoes to  give you a better grip on the paddle board. When water starts to splash on the board, it will become slippery and you could lose your footing easily.

When you ride your paddle board barefoot, you can smash your toes easily. Therefore, wear a nice pair of shoes. It will help you keep safe.

Choose the best river SUP

Not every paddle board is good for river fun. Thus, you must know the SUP brands to avoid.

Choosing the best river SUP requires some thought. There are some important factors to consider here.

For instance, whether you are an advanced paddle boarding enthusiast or not, you need a wide SUP board. It should be 36 inches wide.

The length of a stand up paddle board should be about 9 ft 6 in. At least, such a short paddle board rides the current at a lower speed.

However, if you are not afraid of higher speed, you can go for a longer and narrower board.

You can also go for a solid or inflatable river paddle board. Just make sure that the board is wide enough. If you will navigate through rapids, the board needs to be short and wide.

Choosing the best river SUP boards also requires you to understand what kind of river you will be navigating.

If there are no rapids, you can choose a longer board. If the waters are wild, go for broad and short.

You will also notice that the nose of the river paddle board is slightly upturned. This helps you to navigate the rapids easily.

Click the button below to see the best paddle boards to use on a river:



Can you use a paddle board on a river safely and if yes, what do you need to do? As you have seen here, river paddle boarding adventures are best left to experienced SUP enthusiasts.

Just take care of your safety first so that you can go back home safely. No one can overemphasize the need for paddle boarding on a safe stretch of the river.

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