Edwin Hammond Meredith is a Florida Keys chef with a long-standing interest in stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). Taking advantage of the Keys’ abundant recreational offerings, Edwin Hammond Meredith has participated in long-distance water crossings with other SUP enthusiasts, and he completed one memorable 44-mile crossing from Key Largo to Flamingo, Florida.
With life jacket requirements in place in many states, the US Coast Guard considers paddleboards as vessels, and holds them to the rules that govern boats. Large sail and motor vessels have right of way over SUP boards, and one basic aspect of maintaining safety is staying clear of oncoming traffic. Visibility can be an issue; bright clothing is recommended, along with a whistle that allows you to issue a high-pitched alert if necessary.
Beyond these considerations, carry a light when paddling at night, and always wear a leg leash. While the latter may seem superfluous in calm waters, it helps ensure that you do not get separated from the board should you lose balance and fall into the water. It also helps to ensure ready access to the buoyant board in case of waves and strong winds.
Based in the Florida Keys, Edwin Hammond Meredith maintains a successful career as a chef. Also involved with the local stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) community, Edwin Hammond Meredith regularly takes part in SUP competitions and events, including a 33.8-mile long-distance crossing from Key Largo to Flamingo.
Given the variability of marine conditions, one of the most important aspects of enjoying SUP involves taking proper safety precautions. Winds are a major factor, with strong offshore gusts presenting challenges to even the most experienced paddle boarders. If unsure of the currents and weather conditions, either go out with an experienced SUP buddy or stay out of the water altogether until conditions are placid and predictable.
Should winds increase unexpectedly on the open water, making forward paddling impossible, lay down on the board with your paddle firmly lodged between chest and the board. This will significantly cut down on wind resistance and allow easier forward progress. Using your arms in an alternating right and left stroke, paddle back toward shore.
Edwin Hammond Meredith, a chef based in the Florida Keys, is an avid outdoorsman. In addition to aquatic activities such as scuba diving and stand up paddleboarding (SUP), Edwin Hammond Meredith enjoys camping and hiking.
The best way to stay safe while hiking is to travel in a large group. However, circumstances or preference may lead an individual to a solo hike. There are several things a person can do to mitigate their chances of suffering an accident while hiking alone, beginning with notifying a friend or family member of one’s intentions to hike. At least one person should know when the individual is leaving, where they are going, how long they expect to be on the trail, and at what time they plan to return. As is the case with hiking in larger groups, the more people who know a hiker’s plans, the better. Hikers can even notify local park rangers and staff of their whereabouts, if necessary.
Hikers should also refrain from hiking alone when testing a new trail for the first time. Any number of surprises, from a deceptively weak water crossing to a surprisingly long diversion from the main path, can lead to a person becoming lost or injured on the trail. Hikers should never forget the importance of understanding their surroundings.
Lastly, all the basic components of hiking safety should be held to an even higher standard when hiking alone. Individuals should dress in very bright clothing, pack more than enough water and food, check up-to-the-minute weather reports, and do everything else in their power to avoid a dangerous or otherwise untenable situation on the trail.