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The tides are an important factor to consider when you go out paddleboarding. Whether it is a low tide or a high tide, the water will have different depths and speeds which can impact your experience on the water, so is it better to paddleboard in the high or low tide?
Neither is best for paddleboarding, you should target a slack tide. Low tides while they may sound appealing can be hard to reach along with causing issues with losing shore when the tide comes back in! High tide is the opposite issue where you can start close and be pulled way out from the beach.
Now that you know how these two tides can be used to help you depending on what you want from them let’s jump into more detail on the tides and if you truly want to be out there when they are changing.
Is it Best to Paddle at High or Low Tide?
When you are just starting out and learning about paddleboarding you may wonder about tides along with what tide is best for paddleboarding, especially a beginner?
For most, it is best to begin learning to paddleboard during the slack tide. A slack tide is the two hours that occur before a high or low tide where the water is the calmest, making it ideal for beginners to paddleboard without additional difficulties from the water motion.
Using the slack tide can allow you to learn the basics of balancing in deeper waters with fewer waves and shore access will be easier because there is less uncontrollable movement.
Choosing the right tide can help you enjoy your ride time and maximize your overall fun, choosing the wrong one can lead to exhaustion.
What time of the tide is the current running the fastest either in or out?
If you aren’t familiar with the tides and haven’t spent a lot of time at the beach before you may not understand when the tide moves the fastest in receding or advancing.
The fastest currents occur at approximately the mid-way point between the high and low tides. At this point is when the water is moving in or out the fastest overall of any other time.
What you really want to understand is more around timing the best point, or slack tide, between the incoming and outgoing tide. If you want a super in-depth guide on tides I suggest this post by NP Plan which is where I learned a whole bunch.
What is a Slack Tide?
A slack tide is typically the perfect time for a paddleboarder to go out and enjoy a leisurely ride out in the water without strain and worry.
A slack tide is when the time in the middle between a low and high tide where the water is fairly motionless and isn’t receding or advancing. This gives an overall “calm” to the bustle and continuous movement of the water normally.
Now that we understand what a slack tide is we can look more into why it is so beneficial to paddleboard in that specific tide to take advantage of it.
Why is a Slack Tide Preferred for Paddle Boarding?
Slack tides are preferred for these water sports because it is the time when there are the least waves. Waves are really rough and can be unsafe to paddleboard in, especially when high tide comes around which makes a lot of them.
If you have ever been on the ocean during higher tides you are aware of how powerful waves are along with how intimidating they can get, so having less of those waves certainly helps with safety.
Many other factors go into choosing whether or not this type of tide would be appropriate such as weather conditions (temperature, wind) but overall slack tides make for one great adventure without the stressors!
Is it Safe to Paddle Board When the Tide is Going Out?
For a new paddleboarder, you may wonder whether is safe to paddleboard when the tide is going out. It can seem like a daunting task to balance yourself on a wobbly device, and if it’s low or slack Tide this could be even more difficult.
If you are new to paddleboarding this may not be your time for adventure yet, but as with any sport, there are risks that come along with certain activities-the same goes for paddle boarding and other water sports.
When the tide is heading out you need to watch out for mudflats. These are areas of land where the tide reaches and recedes quickly, leaving a sticky layer behind that can be hard to stand on with your paddleboard.
If you have gear that gets stuck in these mud spots it may become difficult for you to move quickly-especially if there is already some water moving around you because then you would not even be able to see what’s below your feet!
When choosing an adventure make sure you know when low or slack tides will occur because this will help determine which locations allow more time for exploration without having to worry about things like getting caught up by fast tides.
How Do Tides Affect Paddling?
A low tide affects a paddleboarder due to the lack of water beneath them and the need to paddle more quickly in order to stay afloat without getting caught aground.
A slack tide does not affect paddling as there is plenty of water underneath that is pretty reliable and doesn’t move with much speed or urgency allowing for a more relaxing paddle.
During a high tide when you are onshore it becomes hard to get off your board because the waves can carry it away from where you want to step off. High tides have currents that can also make it hard to paddle in a straight line.
This also means that if you are attempting an adventure into water deeper than what’s around the land, be sure to know which tides will have higher current or stronger waves!
Can You Paddle Board With Waves?
If you are new to paddleboarding then you may not know that waves can be a lot of fun with the right board and in the right place.
When you are paddling on flat water, it is always best to try to avoid getting into a wave because they may move your paddleboard around causing an imbalance. This could result in tipping over or falling off which would not be ideal!
For the more experienced rider though waves can add a new and exciting challenge to your riding experiences.
Final Thoughts on is it Better to Paddle Board in High or Low Tide
When the tide comes in and you are paddling out to sea, don’t forget to take a look behind you. It may be too late before you realize that there is no more beach left for your return!
Remember that it’s better to paddleboard at low tide if possible because high tides can cause some serious problems like not being able to get back on shore when needed.
Do you prefer high or low tides? Let me know in the comments below.