Are you tempted to try stand up paddle boarding? An SUP is a great way to have fun and get exercise on the water. The beauty of it is that if you know just a few handy tips, you can be up and paddling in a few minutes.
So you don’t keep falling off, we are going to help keep you on board. Below, we have 10 must know paddle boarding tips for beginners.
1. Get the Right Gear
What to wear paddle boarding is just as vital for your own safety as it is for the look. Much of the equipment you wear will be to protect you and keep you cool. It is important you choose wisely.
Firstly, if you use the paddleboard outside a swimming area it is a legal requirement to get a flotation device. For children, this must be worn. You should also consider taking a waterproof light and whistle, to attract attention in an emergency.
Finally, never forget to paddle with a leash. It tethers the board to you should you fall off. Without it, the board could float away in strong tides leaving you stranded.
2. Select the Right Board
The bigger the board, the easier it will be to stand and balance upon. For a beginner, this means finding the longest and widest board available. It may be more trouble to transport and store, but for now, it will help you learn the basics of paddle boarding.
After this, you can consider switching to something thinner and more streamlined. In both instances, you can be guaranteed that fun and enjoyment will come with any board you choose.
3. Learn the Correct Paddling Technique
If you have not been trained in the use of a paddle board, it is very easy to get the paddling technique wrong. Many people place the curve of the blade into the water, with the scoop pushing out water behind them and propelling them forward. While it would seem that this is logical, it is not the best technique.
Paddle boarding techniques are always about keeping you balanced, and this method can throw you off. Instead, turn the paddle so the bend is facing away from you.
To find the correct hand position, hold the paddle over your head with both hands then place the shaft on the top of your head. Make a 90-degree angle with your arm that is holding the grip, holding the paddle parallel to your shoulders. Do the same with your other arm so both are at 90 degrees, and you will have the optimum grip.
4. Start in Calm Water
It seems like an obvious thing to do, but many people forgo this advice and literally dive straight in. Starting on calm water lets you practice your technique and get your balance without any added pressure. Once you have this and have built confidence, you can move on to other waters.
Too many people start on the ocean instead of a lake. Even in shallow water, the choppy sea can be troublesome when you are starting out. You also get a lot more wind, making it harder to control the board.
5. Get Ready to Fall
You are going to fall off when you start out, so be prepared for it. If you have an instructor, they will teach you how best to fall off the board and get back on. If you don’t, then remember to not fight the fall, try to open yourself wide to increase the surface area as you hit the water, and fall away from the board.
6. Keep Your Head Up
One of the more crucial paddle boarding techniques for beginners is to keep your head in the air. It can be very tempting to look down at the board, water, and paddle to see how you are getting on. However, this will knock you off balance.
Always keep your head up and looking forward. This way, not only do you keep your balance but you will also notice oncoming obstacles.
7. Give Yourself Space
Another rookie paddle boarding mistake is to board too close to others and obstacles. While it can be confidence-boosting to know you have others close by and within talking distance, it just increases the likelihood of you hitting an obstacle. Especially when starting out and working on how to move, it is vital that you have enough room to practice and fall safely, without coming into contact with others.
8. Have a Balanced Stance
Keeping your balance is the key when you are on a board, and there are a number of things you can do to facilitate it. The first is to position your feet parallel with each other, hip-width apart in the center of the board. The feet should point directly forward on the board.
Bend your knees slightly, and keep your back straight. Avoid looking down, and keep your head toward the horizon. You should move your hips to shift your weight and keep balanced.
9. Only Tackle Waves When You Are Ready
Once you have the basics of calm water, you can move onto something a little wilder. However, once you hit the waves, always remember to start small. Once you have a better understanding of the power of the waves and how to control them, you can move onto larger ones.
10. Try Some Different Strokes
Once you have control, you can try some different strokes. One of the more useful is a sweep stroke, in which you form a large arc to rotate the board. A reverse stroke is also a useful tactic you can master.
Using Your Paddle Boarding Tips
With summer on its way and these paddle boarding tips, you need to get planning your boarding session! Check online for rentals in the local area and instructors, so you can hit the water and unwind as soon as possible.
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