In a recent article by The Daily Telegraph, an important topic was raised about Stand Up Paddleboarders Downwinding with currents, riding as far out as cargo shipping lanes. It poses an interesting question about SUP paddlers and the necessity of personal GPS beacons when travelling out in open oceran. It costs taxpayers an incredible amount of money every time a call comes in about a paddler that may appear to be in trouble in the open ocean. Even if the paddler is not in trouble, it still octs in responsder time.
Here is some of the article from the DT.
"IT IS the deadly new craze driving lifesavers to frustration and costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in needless searches. And now there are calls for “downwinders” to have to log on with Marine Rescue NSW in the same way boats do before heading offshore. “Downwinding” has become the latest trend to sweep stand up paddleboard (SUP) enthusiasts and involves paddlers going out during howling southerlies and riding groundswells and wind chop vast distances between beaches. On the first weekend of the summer surf lifesaving season a massive search was sparked after a group of six paddlers set off from Macmasters Beach.
A report came through a paddleboarder was seen lying down on his board off Spoon Bay and in the confusion police were forced to activate the Surf Lifesaving Emergency Response system with two inflatable rescue boats, two jetskis and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, backed up by two duty officers. The PolAir helicopter was on standby.
About the same time two SUP riders were reportedly spoken to by lifesavers spotted as far out as the “shipping lane” coal transporters use heading to Newcastle. One of the pair, a woman, reportedly refused to head lifesavers’ calls to paddle in. The man lying on the board, meanwhile, turned out to be training for an ironman event and was just catching his breath. He gave the helicopter the thumbs up but was escorted back to Toowoon Bay by lifesavers on jetskis.
The man told the Express Advocate he had competed in the Maui 2 Molokai open ocean paddling events in Hawaii and had told lifesavers at Avoca Beach before heading out that he was intending to paddle to Toowoon Bay. He said he could see it being frustrating for lifesavers but it was also frustrating for paddlers when well-intentioned people falsely reported them as being in trouble.
According to Surf Life Saving NSW (SLSNSW) data there have been 38 major searches sparked by reports of SUP riders in distress in the past three summers including five on the Central Coast. Fifteen of those searches were triggered last summer alone, which a SLSNSW spokesman said was indicative the trend of “downwinding” was on the rise.
What does this mean for paddlers who want to participate in downwinding and training for long-distance events? It means p[recautions should be taken,. Ensuring you have safety items on board your craft is essential.
Long-time supporters of Blade & Outer Edge SatPhone Shop have a range of affordable proucts that can keep you safe in the case of emergency on the ocean. We suggest you take a look at their products before you head out on the open water again.