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SUP Board Flip Rescue with Nikki Gregg

Stand up paddling carries inherent dangers that we must be prepared to deal with whenever we take to the water. In this SUP safety video, stand up paddling expert Nikki Gregg and Oahu lifeguard Kurt Lager explain the SUP board flip rescue. This important technique allows you to rescue an unconscious, unresponsive or physically compromised victim using your stand-up paddleboard as an aid.

When you’re out paddling on your SUP board it’s possible that you could come across a paddler or a swimmer who is in trouble. Your board is an excellent rescue device; it’s large and buoyant enough to support two people in an emergency situation.

If you come across an unconscious person, paddle up to them, jettison your paddle and position the board between you and the victim. Turn your board upside down, grasp the person’s arms and pull them up onto the board. Then climb up on the board and use your weight as leverage to turn the board back upright and pull the person up onto the board. They are now crosswise on the board, so rotate them lengthwise, climb up between their legs and hand paddle to shore. If there are others on shore you can wave and signal to them for help.

If you see someone in the water who’s panicking, it’s important to get to them quickly, before they give up and go under. Paddle up to them, keeping the board between you; it’s better they grab the board than grab onto you. Once they have ahold of the board, calm them down and help them up onto the board. Then you can climb on and hand paddle to safety.

If the unconscious person is on or near their own board, you can use their board for the rescue, following the above flip rescue procedures if needed. Remember, you can always replace a board or paddle, but a life is priceless. Also, as the rescuer, your safety is paramount. If you’re injured, you become another victim that needs rescuing.