Top tips to Paddle Board with your four-legged friend

guest blog by the experts at Red Paddle Co

With over 12 years’ experience & numerous awards for their paddle boards, the Red Paddle Co brand is known to be the worlds number one inflatable stand up paddle board brand. The dream started in 2008 when John Hibbard, a professional windsurfer realised that there had to be a better and easier way for everyone to enjoy the outdoors on a paddle board. Long story short, the inflatable stand up paddle board was born and the sport is booming now more than ever!

We caught up with the team at Red Paddle Co to find out their top tips for getting on the water with your dog.

John Hibbard

Paddle boarding is a uniquely relaxing and enjoyable way to explore your world. Many of us love to share everything with our four-legged friends, so why not marry the two passions together? Done right, taking your dog paddle boarding with you can be amazing and a whole new experience.

At Red, we believe that it boils down to three things: Staying safe, having fun and looking cool. If any one of these three are missing from your adventure, it isn’t going to be as memorable as it should be – at least not for the right reasons!

First up on the list is Staying Safe: it’s a no brainer really, no amount of fun is worth risking the health of you or your beloved dog. So here are a few simple steps you can take to keep everything going smoothly on your paddle.

  • Know your limits: Paddling with a dog on board is a little bit harder than paddling without one, so practice on your own first. Make sure you can paddle around and control the board well before getting started with your dog.
  • Know your environment: don’t paddle where there are waves or strong currents as these can make it a lot harder to stay balanced. The wind also affects you a lot on a paddle board, if its windy, paddle into the wind on your way out, otherwise you might struggle to get back.
  • Know your equipment: make sure you have your leash on and it’s really smart to take a phone in a waterproof case or bag, so you can call for help if you need to. PFD’s (personal flotation devices) are a great way to keep you both safe and Red Original offer an unobtrusive, Waistbelt PFD which is tailor made for paddle boarding. We also sell dog buoyancy aids, keeping you both safe out on the water.
  • On a big adventure always tell someone where you are going and when you think you will be back.
Pumping up Red Paddle board whilst dog looks on

So that’s the boring bit done, now for the main event: Having Fun. This is the biggest reason to go out on the water with your dog. Here are some hints and tips to help you get going so you can have the best time possible. First of all, you need the right kit – a nice and big, stable board offers you a great platform for your adventure and reduces the chance of those unintended swims. Our 10’8” Ride is a great option if you’re a bit of a beginner, if you’re spreading you wings on longer doggy adventure, perhaps check out our Voyager range. You can see all of our boards here (use the personal shopper chat function on our site to find out which is best suited to you).

Once you’ve got all your kit, you can get going. Dogs can be nervous of new things, but one thing’s for certain – they all love treats. If you are struggling to get your dog onto your board for the first few times, perhaps smear a blob of peanut butter on the deck with some Forthglade Dog treats in it to coax them on. Soon enough, they will love getting out there so much, the treats will be unnecessary.

If you aren’t the strongest paddler, or your balance is a little off, it’s always a bit easier to start off on your knees. If your dog is a great swimmer (or if they aren’t, but have one of our Red Original Dog Buoyancy Aids) and he/she has learned to clamber onto your board whilst in the water, then take a ball: seeing them leap off the deck of your board to go chasing after it on a sunny paddle is always fun. If there an extra good swimmer, maybe they could even tow you along for a while! Aside from that, the most fun you will have, is when you get your dog calmly relaxed on the front of your board, whilst you serenely paddle the two of you around. Taking in the world around you and getting away from the business of your day-to-day lives.

Dog looking up at owner whist they paddle on Red SUP board

Our final focus is Looking Cool! As you develop your balance and comfort on the water within your paddling partnership: You may want to take it to the next level. Dog SUP Surfing and Dog SUP Yoga are both real things! If sharing a gentle wave with your canine companion or perfecting your Downward-Facing Dog together is your idea of a good time, then get out there and get practising.

Surfing a wave on a Red Paddle Board with a dog sat on top of the board

Whatever you are doing out on the water, it’s always good to have gear that is built to function in that environment but also looks the part. Check out our full Red Original range for all the Premium Lifestyle Essentials that you need to stay safe, have fun and look cool out there on the water with your best friend.