There are some safety principles to be observed, particularly when starting out.
- Wear a lifejacket; use a leash and if you're still at the stage of falling off a lot, don't go too far from shore.
- Be aware of the conditions, particularly of wind and waves. Offshore winds are DANGEROUS. The sea looks calm and inviting close to shore but you can be blown rapidly out to sea and find yourself unable to paddle back.
- Use a sunhat - and tie it to your PFD so you don't lose it. Apply and re-apply plenty of sunscreen. Thanks to the disappearing ozone layer, this is becoming a major issue; sun damage to skin is cumulative and irreversible. (Note: sunscreen on your hands makes them slippery. Wash them with soap - ideally - or sand and water in the sea before paddling.)
- Be alert to waves breaking. You never want to be between your ski and the shore. If you fall out coming in on a wave, try to ensure that you fall off on the side nearest the wave. If a breaking wave hits the ski and you're in the way, the ski will break you. So if you do fall out on the wrong side, duck under the ski - dive under the water and let the ski roll over the top of you.
- Watch out for other skis and swimmers, a rider-less ski being tumbled by a wave leaves a six-metre-wide trail of destruction.
- Wear appropriate clothing. Dehydration, hypothermia, sunburn and sunstroke can all take you unawares when you're having fun.
Now that you're briefed on safety, head on over to Getting Started - Paddling