So, you’ve mastered the art of surfing. You know how to paddle out and time the perfect wave, you’ve learned how to pop up seamlessly, [...]
Paddle Boarding Tips for Beginners
Published: July 15, 2021
Stand up paddle boarding is one of many fun water activities that can also be a full-body workout. It also offers you a view of what’s under the mountain and a view of the horizon. It is one of the fastest-growing water sports in the world, which is why it has been adapted to incorporate other activities, such as SUP fishing, yoga, and racing.
If you are a beginner, it is helpful to know a little bit about your gear and basic techniques before you head out on the water. Read our tips below to help you have an enjoyable time with your paddle board.
Get geared up
- Stand up paddle board
If you decide that you love SUP and want to do it more, you may consider buying your own board. There are different types of paddle boards you can choose from depending on the activity you most want to use it for. If you prefer an inflatable paddle board, here are our top recommendations.
A SUP paddle board looks like a stretched-out canoe paddle that has a teardrop-shaped blade that angles forward. This design allows for maximum paddling efficiency.
- Personal Floatation Device (PFD)
The U.S Coast Guard has classified paddle boards as vessels, which is why you need to have a PDF on board when paddling outside a surfing or swimming area.
- Safety whistle and light
The U.S Coast Guard also requires you to carry a safety whistle to warn boaters, or in case you expect to be out after sunset.
A leash tethers your SUP to you and keeps it closeby if you ever fall off. A SUP is large, thus being attached to it can be important for your safety. Make sure to purchase the correct leash for your intended use.
- Proper clothing
Most people choose to wear a combination of a swimsuit, board shorts, and a long or short-sleeved rash guard to protect them from the sun during summer. For colder weather conditions, wear a wetsuit or drysuit.
Tips for beginners
- Use a leash
Safety is one of the main things you need to prioritize when planning to do any water sport. Therefore, you should not forget to tether yourself to the board with the use of a leash, because your board will become your life-saving device whenever you get tired or fall off.
- Choose the right gear
The right gear is essential for you to fully enjoy your day out on the water. Make sure you have all the appropriate gear for your skill level and the environment you will be paddling in. Beginners can start with a thick and wide all-around stand up paddle board, with the right paddle and leash.
- Check the wind’s direction
Strong winds will likely steer you and your board, which makes it harder for you to paddle and propel yourself, especially as a beginner. Therefore, our most important tip is to mind the wind conditions and check the weather forecast for that day.
- Learn the correct paddling technique
- Stand up straight, then grip the non-blade part of the paddle.
- Hold the paddle with both hands and horizontally over your head, then rest the shaft just on the top of your head.
- The shaft must be parallel to your shoulders. Also, make sure that the arm that’s holding the grip perfectly creates a 90-degree angle.
- Move the hand that’s not holding the grip along the shaft until you create a 90-degree angle with that arm as well.
- Engage your core
Another important thing that beginners should know is that paddling should be done with your core, and not your arms. This will help ensure greater paddling efficiency and will allow you to maintain your balance on the board. This will also allow you to get a low-impact workout that will surely strengthen your core and build muscles.
- Face in the right direction
The easiest way to know what direction you should face is to look where the fins are located. The fins are located at the back of the board. Therefore, face in the opposite direction.
- Keep your head up
It is sometimes difficult to keep your head up and look straight in front of you, especially as a beginner. But the thing is, standing straight will enable you to achieve maximum stability. Stability is key, so you should avoid looking down. Maintain good body posture and keep your head up.
- Give yourself enough space
When you’re a beginner, there is really no reason to be paddle boarding side by side with another paddler, unless taking group photos. You must think that other paddlers may create waves that can cause you to fall down, and they can also bump into you causing someone to get hurt. Make sure that you have plenty of space to maneuver around, for yours and everyone’s safety.
- Fall away from the board
It is completely natural to fall off the board, whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced paddler. However, as standard practice, it is important that you fall away from your board. Remember that your board is big and heavy, and you might end up smacking your face or the board might hit you.
- Only ride waves you can handle
Whether you are surfing, sailing, bodyboarding, or stand up paddle boarding, you are most likely going to encounter some challenging waves. And when you’re a beginner, it is not a good idea to take on big waves. Instead, you should start with smooth, smaller waves until you gain more experience and a better understanding of the power and flow of the water.
- Choose a small, calm body of water that is free of lots of obstacles.
- Look for a sandy beach or a place where you can wade into the water, so that you can easily launch your SUP.
- Choose to go on a sunny day, preferably with little to no wind.
- It is always better to go with a friend so you can keep an eye on each other.
- It is best to paddle for about one hour on your first time out.
- Use the wind as a booster so you can paddle easily, especially when you are tired.