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When To Use A Quick Release SUP Belt & Airbelt PFD

Posted by Luke Green

Whenever and wherever you choose to go stand up paddle boarding, it’s essential to ensure that you always have the right safety equipment with you. Wearing the right SUP leash is a universal and minimum safety requirement for any type of paddle boarding, however, depending on the conditions you’re paddling in you may also need to wear a quick release SUP leash waist belt or an airbelt PFD. Before we look at when each of these items are required, let’s take a closer look at what exactly they are and what it is that they do!


What Is A Quick Release SUP Leash Waist Belt?

A quick release SUP belt is a really important piece of equipment that allows you to quickly separate from your board in the event that you cannot reach your ankle in emergency conditions. The waist belt is attached to the ankle leash using the d-ring and leash string. In the event that you do need to separate from your board in an emergency, the easy to reach pull toggle on the waist allows you to do so quickly and without difficulty. The sleek minimal design of Red’s quick release SUP belt means it fits comfortably under personal flotation devices.


What Is An Airbelt PFD?

An Airbelt Personal Flotation Device (PFD) is a less bulky alternative to a regular buoyancy aid for use in calm or flat water conditions (you should always wear a full buoyancy aid in flowing water). What’s clever about an airbelt PFD is that it folds down into a compact pouch that sits comfortably and discreetly around the user’s waist, ready to be deployed when necessary. The ISO certified 50N PFD is quick and easy to deploy from the pouch in emergency situations. The airbelt PFD ensures paddlers have unrestricted movement, whilst the pouch benefits from a reflective strip which is essential for safety, should you find yourself paddling in low light conditions.

People carrying Red Original SUP into the water wearing personal floatation devices
Woman paddle boarding wearing Red Original personal floatation device
Red Original quick release belt

Now that we’ve established what each of these crucial safety items involves, let’s take a look at when to use them. 


When To Use A Quick Release SUP Leash Waist Belt

If you are paddling in fast-flowing water such as rivers or estuaries then you should always wear a quick release SUP belt. This is so that you can easily release your board if you have become entangled when falling off in the current. In flowing water, it is a lot more difficult to reach your ankle in an emergency situation, which is why the quick release sup belt is so important for these conditions. In this paddling scenario, you should wear a buoyancy aid rather than an airbelt PFD so that your flotation device is already inflated and so that you do not inhibit your ability to release the board in fast flowing water. 


If you are paddling in still water or on calm seas then you do not need the quick release SUP waist leash belt. In this case, a standard coiled ankle/calf leash works perfectly. 


When To Use An Airbelt PFD

Personal flotation devices are crucial for helping paddlers conserve energy and stay safe if they end up in the water.The airbelt PFD is suitable for paddlers that are paddling in flat water conditions,such as lakes or calm seas. This provides you with the safety of having a buoyancy aid available in case of an emergency, without being restricted. Even if you are an experienced paddler we would always recommend wearing the airbelt PFD as a minimum safety requirement. It is discreet, comfortable and easy to wear, and could be potentially life saving.


You should not wear the airbelt PFD if you are paddling in fast-flowing water. In this case you will need to wear a buoyancy aid with a minimum 50N rating. 


If you have any further queries regarding when to wear a quick release sup leash waist belt or airbelt PFD, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Red where we’ll be able to talk you through the different SUP safety essentials.

Person attaching Red Original coiled SUP leash to calf
Person attaching Red Original coiled SUP leash to ankle