Is it hard to learn how to stand up paddle board?
Can you pick it up in a day or two?
Or should you plan to practice for a long time?
Stand up paddle boarding isn’t too difficult, and you can easily learn the basics in a day. However, in order to master this activity, you’ll need to practice as often as you can.
As a beginner, make sure you learn how to paddle board with a friend or in a populated area where people can assist you if you need help.
We’ve put together a list of more tips and information to help you get started, too. Below, you can find a quick rundown of the steps required to stand up paddle board safely, even if it’s your very first time.
Read on to find out how to paddle board.
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How to Stand Up Paddle: SUP Paddle Boarding for Beginners
Learning how to get started as a beginning paddle boarder may seem challenging, but it’s not as tough as it sounds. Below, we’ve gathered plenty of information to help you learn the basics.
How To Prepare For Paddle Boarding
Before you get started, you need to make sure you have all the right materials to help you begin. All of these are crucial, so don’t skimp out on any of them!
1. Paddle board: Obviously, you can’t paddle board without a paddle board! Be sure you buy the right one for your needs. Choose a board that can hold your weight limit (and more, if you’re bringing a dog, a kid, or any gear along with you now or in the future). As a beginner, you might prefer to rent a paddle board or borrow one from someone you know until you get a feel for what you need.
2. Paddle: If you do buy or rent a board, it should come with an appropriate paddle. Your paddle should be long enough for you to easily work with; most are adjustable so you can find the length that suits you best. Paddles should be made of a lightweight material that can float.
3. Whistle and light: In the US, it’s required by law to wear a whistle and carry a light on a paddle board.
4. Board leash: This isn’t required by law, but it can help keep you safe if you fall off your paddle board. It will also keep your board from floating away from you.
5. Proper clothes and sunscreen: Wear clothing appropriate for the temperature outside as well as the temperature of the water. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and/or a hat.
6. Life jacket or other flotation device: Adults aren’t required by law in the US to wear a life jacket on a paddle board, but kids are. Everyone is required to have one on board, however, so be sure to bring one for every person who will be using the paddle board. If it’s your first time, you may feel more comfortable wearing yours even though it isn’t required.
- Note: If you’re paddling outside the United States, be sure to check up on local laws regarding life jackets on paddle boards. These can vary from country to country.
7. Optionally, waterproof phone case: You don’t have to bring this item along, but having your phone is always handy if anything unforeseen happens. Keeping it in a waterproof case can be crucial in a situation like this.
How To Get On Your Stand Up Paddle Board
- Take the board out to water that is knee-deep and stand next to it.
- Climb onto the board by holding both sides and pulling yourself onto the center. Kneel in the center of the board to get an idea of how to balance yourself.
- Shifting one foot at a time, adjust your body so that you’re crouching on your feet instead of kneeling on your knees. Try to remain in the same position where you started.
- Raise up your chest first, keeping your knees and feet where they are. Once your chest is stretched out, stand up the rest of the way, slowly.
- Don’t be discouraged if it takes you a few tries! Standing up on a paddle board takes some practice, and it’s trickier than it seems.
- While standing, position your feet hip-distance from each other with your knees bent just a little bit. This will help you stay balanced.
- Don’t look down at your feet. This will unbalance you and can also keep you from seeing obstacles in your way while you’re paddling.
Guide To Paddling Your Stand Up Paddle Board
- Keep the “blade” of your paddle facing away from you. It should face the front of the paddle board.
- Whichever side you’re paddling on, you should have the opposite hand on the T-grip of your paddle. So, for example, if you’re paddling on the left of the board, your right hand should be on the T-grip, and vice-versa.
How To Move Your SUP in the Water
- To move forward, keep your arms straight and reach a couple of feet ahead of you in the water. Push the paddle back to about your ankles to move. Alternate sides to go straight.
- Reverse this motion in order to go backward.
- To turn your board, push the whole blade of the paddle down into the water in front of you. Sweep it in a large arc to the back of the board in order to slowly push the board to one side or the other.
How To Dismount Your Stand Up Paddle Board
- Kneel on the board just like you did to stand up.
- Put one foot in the water and use it to slow yourself down, if you’re moving. If you’re already sitting still, use your foot to find the bottom of the body of water and ground yourself.
- Shift your weight off the board and stand up on the bottom of the body of water.
- If you dismount at a dock, kneel first and then shift your weight so that you’re sitting on the dock instead of on the paddle board.
How to Deal With a SUP Wipeout
- If you can, while falling, pivot to the side so you hit the water instead of the board. If you’re using an inflatable board, it will be easier to fall on than a regular board; however, any board can cause injuries.
- Float in the water next to the board and hold onto the handle.
- Kick with your feet while you slide onto the board, still keeping hold of the handle until you’re back on top of it.
- If you can, keep hold of your paddle while falling. If you can’t, grab your board first, and then paddle over with your hands to get your paddle.
Do you feel ready to get out there and start paddling? Here are a few tips to help you learn faster and have fun at the same time:
- Start in a calm body of water. You can even practice standing on your board in a pool, if it’s not a crowded pool.
- Don’t practice paddle boarding in the wind. Even experienced paddle boarders sometimes have trouble maneuvering and controlling their board in windy conditions.
- Take a break after an hour. You may wear out your muscles more than you realize, and this can be dangerous if you’re very far form shore.
- And again: paddle with a friend the first few times!
Keep all of our tips in mind to ensure you have a safe, happy, and exciting time on the water!