Is Paddle Boarding Dangerous? (Avoid Sharks)

It can be relaxing and thrilling to paddle on shimmering waters, but, like any activity, if precaution is not taken then it can be dangerous.

Paddle boarding is not dangerous if you use the right board, watch the weather, wear ankle cord and lifejacket, do not go solo, and avoid the sun.


  • According to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File, there have been a total of 29 reported shark attacks on paddleboarders from 2000 to 2019, with 3 of those attacks being fatal.
  • The most common types of sharks involved in attacks on paddleboarders are the bull shark, tiger shark, and great white shark.
  • Paddleboarders are less likely to be attacked by sharks than swimmers or surfers, likely because they are standing above the water and have a smaller silhouette.
  • Paddleboarders are advised to avoid areas where there are known shark sightings or attacks, and to avoid wearing shiny jewelry or bright clothing that could attract sharks.
  • If a shark does approach a paddleboarder, they should try to stay calm and avoid splashing or thrashing in the water. Paddleboarders can use their paddle to defend themselves if necessary.


How can you enjoy a safe paddling experience?

There are a few things that you can do to ensure a safe paddling experience. Do not go paddling if you do not know how to swim. If you do insist on paddling even when you don’t know how to swim, PLEASE, do not go without a lifejacket and DO NOT go paddling alone. You should consider going with an experienced rider who knows how to swim, this way, if you manage to find yourself splashed into the water, there is someone to rescue you! And please don’t venture beyond shallow waters!

Let’s have a look at other ways to keep safe while paddling:

  • Use the right board: There are different boards out there to cater to different heights, weights, experience levels, and what you will be using the board for. It pays to pay close attention to the board you buy. It won’t help you to buy a surfing board when you want to do yoga for example!
  • Pay close attention to the weather update: You don’t want to go paddling with a storm brewing. Always make sure that you are up-to-date with the weather forecast.
  • Wear an ankle cord: In the unfortunate event that you find yourself splashed in the water, the ankle cord will keep your board from wandering off.
  • Watch the Sun.
  • Avoid paddling alone: You can never tell what may go wrong on the waters. As such, it is always a good idea to go paddling with other riders. This way, someone is there to help or call for help if things go wrong. If you still insist on paddling alone then it is STRONGLY advised that you let someone know. Let your friends, family, or colleague know.
  • Wear lifejacket
  • Don’t rush it: if you are a beginner, it is tempting to “show off” your skills after a few paddling adventures, but, you need to go slow lest you hurt yourself or others. Take the time to learn how to handle your equipment and paddle safely on the water.
  • Put on the right clothes: Considering you will be spending a good amount of time on the water, it is important to wear the right clothes. You may fall into the water and if you have the wrong outfit on then you may risk getting hypothermia.
  • Do not drink alcohol while on water.
  • Stay out of ocean to avoid sharks.
  • Avoid paddling for long hours under the sun: It may be peaceful paddling on the waters but if you do it for long under the sun than you may suffer from a sunburn, dehydration, or heat stroke. Be sure to protect yourself against the UV rays by applying sunscreen, wearing a UV protectant cloth, and wearing sunglasses as you paddle.
  • Do not go at night.
  • Pay close attention to your environment: It is important to pay close attention to your environment if you are to stay safe. Watch out for other riders and steer clear of the paths used by boats or jet skis.
  • Be fit,Paddle boarding is not bad for your back. In fact, it can be helpful. What is bad for your back is the position you take on the board. If you stand with your legs straight and your knees fixed then you will run the risk of pulling your back out of alignment.
  • How can you hurt your back with paddle boarding?There are different ways you can hurt your back as you enjoy the paddling activity.Wrong paddle boarding techniques

    Using the wrong paddling techniques will not only lead to back pain but also leg, elbow and shoulder pain. If the right posture is not maintained as you paddle, you run the risk of hurting your back.

    Wrong paddle board

    The kind of board you get can also contribute to your back pain in addition to other pains. For example, if you are tall and decide to use a narrow board then you will need maximum core strength to paddle especially when faced with choppy waters.

    If you are a short or small person and you decide to paddle with a large board then you will find yourself leaning more to the side.

    Wrong blade length

    As for the blade length, a short blade will require you to flex your spine. This in turn will cause disc overload, something that is not good for your body.

    Wrong technique of transporting the board

    You may think that you have the power to carry your board into and off the truck every time you go paddle boarding. But, if done wrong, you risk hurting your back. Simply grabbing and pulling it out of the truck any way you see fit will not be good for your body, especially your back. You have to be careful not to overload your discs during the process. Enlist the help of other people to remove the board and also make use of a trolley to transport it to the waters.

    Not maintaining the slight “sit-back” position after every stroke

    As you paddle, you may want to stand up straight and paddle or bend over slightly as you try to maintain your balance and paddle. However, it is a good idea that with each stroke you make, you assume the “sit back” position. You make like you are about to sit back and then go in for the next stroke.


Sharks do attack paddle boarders in the ocean. They are rare, happens only a few times per year. They bite because you look like food or a threat.

If you are looking forward to indulging in some exuberant water adventure on your paddleboard, you cannot steer away from considering the threats that can be posed by sharks when you are out there, right in the middle of the vaster water body.

However, as far as gauging the probabilities of a shark attack is concerned, there are a few things that must be taken into account. For the uninitiated, if you are paddling in an area that is frequented by sharks, the chances of you and your paddleboard being attacked by them are fairly high. Also, you shouldn’t assume that paddleboarders are the sole targets of the sharks; swimmers and kayakers too are exposed to equal vulnerability while reconnoitering through the sea.

What’s interesting here is that sharks do not attack paddle boarders because they want to feed on humans to satisfy their appetite; in fact, humans are not on their list of diet at all. This implies that their aim is quite simple and straightforward and that is, devouring plankton as they are essentially planktivores.

The whale shark, megamouth shark and basking shark, in particular, are blessed with facial features that let them suck the water out of the plankton and then pass it through their gullet.

Nevertheless, it’s not that only these three groups attack paddleboarders; the others from the family too can manifest aggression and chase you down in the sea. In the following segment, we will be jotting down a few reasons that trigger this behavior on the sharks’ end so that you are fully equipped to prevent such advances and paddle safely to the shore.


Why do sharks attack paddle boarders?


  • They perceive the paddleboards as a threat

Just like all other animals, sharks are afraid of things that are bigger and size than them. If they come across a gigantic paddleboard while cruising through the water, they are most likely to perceive it is a threat that is coming towards them to hurt or eat them and consequently, do the needful to defend their beings. If you spot a shark and begin moving the board even more quickly, the shark will probably feel confused and disoriented and wage an attack.


  • They think the paddleboard is their food

Out of the several incidents that have been previously reported about shark attacks, two or three of them are such that they clearly put across the verity that these animals thought the boards were food and took a bite of them. When the sharks realized that what went into their systems was either plastic or foam, and not something they were expecting, they left.


  • They found your motions interesting

Sometimes, the sharks are just curious to find out more about the paddleboards because sometimes they are just very intrigued about the movements of this object. If this is really the case and the shark comes rushing to you in the water, you might get scared and start acting erratically. Rather than helping you in any way, this frenzied reaction will encourage the shark to attack you and make way for deadly mayhem.