If you have ever wanted to learn to paddleboard, but are unsure where to start, look no further than our beginners guide to the sport. SUP or stand-up paddleboarding takes a little practice, but it is sure worth it when you can move through the waves, taking in your surroundings and enjoying your newfound passion.
Paddleboarding became popular as an alternative to surfing. Instead of standing on the board only when you have hit a wave, paddleboarding allows you to move through the water standing with the help of paddles. If you are a beginner to the sport, consider choosing a wider board as this can help your balance. To help you get started, take a look at our guide below.
How To Get Started With Your Paddle Board
So you have your paddleboard, you are standing at the edge of the ocean, ready to go – what now? To get you started, it is important to know how to launch your stand-up paddleboard. To do this, bring your board into the water by carrying in by the handle in the centre. Once you are in the water, place the board on the surface, with the paddle across it and then climb on. Once on your paddleboard, you should be sitting on your knees and finding your balance.
This skill will take time, and you may wish to practice using the paddle while sitting on your knees until you can balance and move around the water well. Make sure that the curved side of the paddle is facing outwards. Instead, you should be able to see the angled part of the blade. When paddling, you will naturally be using your arm muscles, however, it is also important to engage your core as this will help with your balance.
Once you have perfected this, you can then move on to learning how to stand on your paddleboard.
Going From Sitting To Standing On Your Paddle Board
When you are ready to stand on your paddleboard, move slowly, placing one foot at a time where your knees have been on the board. This will lead you to a squat like position. Holding the paddle with your hands, make sure that your feet are flat and then stand up slowly, watching your balance as you go. This may take some practice, but you will get it eventually. In order to stay moving in the water, use the paddle instantly when you stand up to help build momentum – you are more likely to fall over if you are not moving or moving too slowly).
To help your balance, tense your core muscles to engage them and ensure that your hip and feet are shoulder-width apart. Try to ensure that you do not adopt a surfboard stance. Instead, your feet should be facing directly forward, and knees bent slightly to help with your stability.
Paddle Boarding Strokes
when moving the paddle in the water, there are many different strokes that you can do depending on the direction that you would like to travel.
The most basic paddleboarding stroke is a forward stroke which allows you to move through the water in a forwards direction. When holding a paddle for the stroke, the paddle blade should be facing forwards. The paddle blade can then be placed in the water and pulled towards while all your shoulders and hips are rotating as you stroke.
Also known as a reverse stroke, a backwards stroke starts with the paddle at the back of the board close to its tail. Make sure that the full blade is underwater before slowly moving it forward with straight arms. To help manoeuvre the paddle, twist your stomach as you move it from side to side.
Turning Your Paddle Board
If you are looking to change direction and turn while moving your paddleboard, the easiest way to do this is to bend your knees further, pushing your paddle forward with the paddle at 90 degrees from the board. Once in the water, move the paddle away from the board in a semi-circle movement. Do this to the right of your board, and it will move towards the left and vice versa.
The Best Paddleboarding Tips
Once you have mastered how to get the board into the water and how to stand up, the world is your oyster. Take time to practice your technique and get comfortable on the board. To help you out, we have compiled some of our best paddleboarding tips.
What Do I Do When I Fall Off The Board?
It is to be expected that at some point, you will fall off your paddleboard – even the most experienced paddle boards that have been doing this for years have an occasional fall. If you realise that you are about to fall, try and fall away from the board and begin treading water. Once you feel like you are ready to get back on, find the middle of the paddleboard, holding on to the handle in the centre and pulling yourself back onto it. Use your legs to help you by kicking them to give you some momentum to get back on top.
Watch Out For Strong Winds
It is important to check out the weather forecast when you intend to paddleboard. While calm conditions are best, with a light breeze, you will also be able to paddleboard. With any wind, however, it is important to check the direction it is coming from before you get into the water. When paddling out into the water, head towards where the wind is coming from. Although this may be slightly harder, it means that if you get too tired, or if the winds get stronger, they can help you get back to shore instead of you fighting against them.
If you find that the wind is overpowering you, use the paddles like a canoe oar, holding them in the middle and paddling back to shore on your knees.