How to assess the weather for paddleboarding


By no means is this an exhaustive list on weather checking, but it's a start. Paddleboarding is a fantastic water sport that helps you stay fit while exploring lakes, rivers, and oceans. But let's face it, the weather can be a fickle friend, and boat traffic can sometimes rain on your parade (pun intended). That's why it's essential to assess the weather and boat traffic conditions to ensure a safe and enjoyable paddleboarding session. In this guide, we'll introduce you to some indispensable apps and share tips to help you avoid wipeouts and wake-related wobbles. So, let's dive in! The App That Blows Your Worries Away is your one-stop-shop to keep those winds in check. The user-friendly app and website provide real-time, accurate wind forecasts for boaters, generalists and can be used for paddleboarders, ensuring you won't be caught off guard by gusty surprises. Remember, when using, pay attention to gusts rather than general wind speed, because it's the gusts that show you what the wind can really whip up.

Using is a breeze:

  • Download the app or visit the website.
  • Input your location (Toronto, in our case).
  • Check wind speed and direction.
  • Keep an eye on gusts to understand potential wind extremes.
  • Monitor wind forecasts regularly because nobody likes a gusty surprise.

 Picture of windy dashboard



Your Paddleboarding Weather App Arsenal

Aside from, there are several other apps you'll want in your paddleboarding toolkit:


a) Surfline

While primarily designed for surfers, Surfline is a swell (pun intended) app for paddleboarders too. It offers real-time data on wave height, period, and direction, as well as wind speed and direction. Plus, it features live cams and surf reports from popular spots, including some in Toronto. Hang ten, paddleboarders!

Picture of surfline

Source: Surfline


b) Magicseaweed

Another surfing app that's magically useful for paddleboarders, Magicseaweed provides comprehensive weather forecasts, complete with wind and wave predictions. With its user-friendly interface and enchanting charts, maps, and graphs, you'll be spellbound by the information at your fingertips. There was news that this app may be sunset in 2023 but we’ll see what happens. 

Picture of magicseaweed weather reports

 Source: Magicseaweed dashboard


c) UVLens

UVLens is your trusty sidekick in the battle against sunburn and skin damage. This dedicated UV index app helps you monitor UV levels and provides personalized recommendations based on your skin type. It's the perfect companion for paddleboarders who spend long hours under the sun, so don't forget to slip, slop, slap, and check that UV index!


UVLens app image

 Source: UV Lens app


d) MarineTraffic

Ahoy, paddleboarders! MarineTraffic is the app you need to avoid unwanted encounters with boats and their wake. It offers real-time AIS (Automatic Identification System) data, allowing you to track boat traffic in your area and helping you steer clear of potential hazards. With this app, you can paddle on with confidence, knowing you're staying out of harm's way. It’s worth noting, that it usually shows boats of a certain size so you won’t pick up many pleasure craft but at least you’ll have a small idea of what is where. 


Boat traffic image marine traffic

 Source: Marine traffic


Factors That Can Make or Break Your Paddleboarding Experience

While apps can provide invaluable information, it's essential to understand the different factors that can impact your paddleboarding session:

a) Wind Speed and Direction

When it comes to paddleboarding, not all winds are created equal. Look for days with light winds (below 15 knots) for a smooth ride. And don't forget about wind direction – offshore winds can lead to an unwelcome workout as you battle your way back to shore, while onshore winds make for a more leisurely return. A knot, in terms of wind, refers to a unit of measurement used to describe wind speed. One knot is equivalent to one nautical mile per hour (1.852 kilometers per hour or 1.15078 miles per hour). A nautical mile is a unit of distance used primarily in maritime and aviation contexts, equal to 1,852 meters (6,076.1 feet), while a regular mile, also known as a statute mile, is a land-based unit of distance equal to 1,609.344 meters (5,280 feet). The nautical mile is based on the Earth's curvature and is slightly longer than the regular mile.

b) Waves and Swells

Riding the waves might be fun for some, but for many paddleboarders, navigating through waves and swells can be a challenge, especially for beginners. Assess the wave height and period before embarking on your adventure. Generally, smaller waves and longer periods between them make for a more paddleboard-friendly experience.

c) Weather Conditions

As paddleboarders, we're at the mercy of the elements, so it's crucial to consider other weather conditions like temperature, precipitation, and visibility.

  • Temperature: Ensure the air and water temperatures are suitable for paddleboarding. If the water's too cold, don a wetsuit or other appropriate gear to stay warm. Whatever you do, if it is really hot, do not leave your board pumped up outside - that’s a fast way to damage the board. Hot air expands which means you run the risk of the board popping under pressure, but if it doesn’t pop, it will test the glues in the board which will lead to integrity being compromised.
  • Precipitation: Rain and snow can hamper visibility and make the water surface trickier to navigate. Save your paddleboarding session for clearer skies to avoid turning your fun day into a wipeout-filled fiasco.
  • Visibility: Fog and haze can reduce visibility, making it difficult to navigate and increasing the risk of collisions. If visibility is low, it's best to postpone your paddleboarding plans for a clearer day. After all, you wouldn't drive in thick fog without headlights, would you?


Tips for Safe Paddleboarding: Better Safe Than Sorry

In addition to assessing the weather and boat traffic, it's essential to follow safety precautions when paddleboarding:

  • Always wear a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) – it's your wearable lifeline on the water.
  • Use a leash to keep your paddleboard close, because nobody wants to swim after a runaway board.
  • Check local regulations and guidelines for paddleboarding in Toronto – you don't want to be "that person" breaking the rules at the Marina. 
  • Inform someone of your paddleboarding plans, including your expected route and return time – better safe than sorry!
  • Carry a whistle or other signaling device to alert other watercraft in case of emergencies – communication is key and it’s a legal requirement. 
  • If you're new to paddleboarding or unsure about the weather conditions, consider taking a lesson or joining a guided tour – there's no shame in learning from the pros!


Paddleboarding is a fantastic way to spend your time on the water, but it's vital to assess the weather and boat traffic conditions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. By using apps like, Surfline, Magicseaweed, UVLens, and MarineTraffic, and paying attention to factors like wind speed and direction, waves and swells, and other weather conditions, you can plan your paddleboarding sessions with confidence. Remember to follow safety guidelines, stay informed about local regulations, and have a splashingly good time on the water!


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