STAND-UP paddle boarders are being advised to check weather conditions before venturing into the water around the Mornington Peninsula.
Last month, two teenage paddle boarders had to be rescued at Mount Eliza after being blown nearly five kilometres offshore, and a 12-year-old boy at Frankston had to be rescued after he was unable to paddle his board back to shore.
There have also been incidents at Dromana and Rosebud, including on Friday (21 January) when five people in a blow-up boat and paddle boards took to the water in windy conditions and could not get back to shore.
Mount Eliza paddle board instructor Mark Renouf said entering the water on a SUP without a good understanding of weather conditions could quickly lead to trouble.
“There are a few rules around paddle boarding, but number one is to make sure the weather conditions are right,” he said.
“People don’t realise just how far you can end up offshore, especially with an easterly wind.”
Mr Renouf said people new to paddle boarding would often go out and buy a cheap, poor-quality paddle board without getting advice, and that could lessen their enjoyment of the sport and jeopardise their safety.
“One of the most common things I see is a paddle board that’s not properly inflated, and so can’t be controlled like it should be,” he said.
Mr Renouf said paddle boarding was one of the fastest growing water sports and one of the most exciting, if done safely.
“They are a lot of fun, I used to have a kayak myself, but SUPs give you a better view of what’s around you and what’s in the water,” he said.
President of Victorian association SUP-VIC, George Thomas, said it was recommended that beginner paddle boarders had some lessons to get them started, or joined paddle boarding groups to share skills and knowledge.
“Lessons are a great idea before you even buy one so you have the basics, and it is a safe and enjoyable thing to do,” he said.
First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 8 February 2022