Stand up paddle board is a kind of fun and exciting activity which you can do on the water, such as oceans, lakes, rivers, etc…It is one of the best methods to do full-body core training and experience the beauty of nature on the water. The best is that it is suitable for people of different ages, body shapes, and different skill levels. In recent years, paddle boarding is continuing to develop in popularity.
Paddle boarding is not hard. With a few simple steps, you will be paddling like a professional soon. You can avoid the common first-time paddler mistakes by following our list of paddling tips for the beginner. That information may make a difference to your future paddle boarding. Here are a few stand-up paddle boarding tips you should know. Next, we will talk about how to paddle board.
Before you want to learn how to paddle board, you just need a few important pieces of equipment to make you enjoy the paddle boarding and have pleasure on the wide water.
Basic Paddle Board Equipment
Stand Up Paddle Board
With different types of paddle boards on the market, you might think of what kinds of paddle board is suitable for you and what sizes of paddle board fits your requirement best. As a beginner, there are a few things that you should keep in mind when choosing a right SUP.
If you are a beginner, then the all-around paddle board which is the most common type is suitable for you. Because it is very stable and helps you to keep balanced in the beginning.
The all-around sup is the most versatile SUP for yoga, fishing, touring, and surfing.
The inflatable SUP is easiest to store because it can be rolled up to the size of a backpack to store in your apartment or home. It is also easy to transport on a car/bike or public transportation when traveling. It is also very durable and not easily damaged by accidental bumps. It is very good for the beginner.
If you are going to fish on a SUP, then the fishing SUP is a good choice. Fishing SUP generally has a wider deck for more space for your fishing gears. Some SUP includes the mount attachments to let you store your fishing gears on your board.
If you going to do SUP yoga, then you need to choose a board that is suitable for yoga. Generally, the board has an expansive deck pad, giving you more room for your yoga pose.
Besides, the inflatable SUPs are better for sup yoga.
For SUP touring, you need a longer and narrower board with a pointed nose and displacement hull for better tracking. It is ideal for long-distance paddling. It is generally designed for race competitors. This style will be a challenge for a beginner.
For SUP surfing, you need to a board that is shorter and narrower. This is easy for you to control the waves. It is also challenging for a beginner.
For more details, you can check this article: how to choose the right size of a paddle board.
Sup paddle comes in a variety of materials including plastic, aluminum, and carbon fiber. But they all come with handles, blades, and shaft shapes. The general rule is that the correct length of paddle should reach up to your wrist when you stand in front of the paddle and raise your arms above your head.
A sup leash is used for attaching you to paddle board around your ankle. It can keep you close to your SUP if you accidentally fall off the water. Being attached to your SUP is very important for your safety. Another important thing is that you need a high-quality leash but can be quickly detached from you.
PFD (Personal Flotation Device)
If you are paddling beyond the range of paddling, surfing, or recreational use. Then before you go out for paddling, you need to prepare for a PFD on board. But the children must wear it on. You can check the states’ regulations on Life Vest Safety Laws. PFD can be the first line of safety in an emergency.
SUP Board Bags
Your paddle board storage bag or iSUP backpack is very helpful for storing and protecting your board, so it is important to choose a good one. It can also aid you in traveling conveniently. And it can also prolong your board’s life.
A dry bag is can keep your most precious items dry and safe from the water. Such as your phone, camera, etc….
For the clothing and shoes, you can refer to another article: what to wear paddle boarding?
Basic SUP Paddling Techniques
Watch the wind
It is important to know the conditions when you paddle out. Also to know the forecast so you were aware of any possible changes coming. When you are standing on your sup, your body is like a sail in the wind. If you are ever caught in strong wind change, lay down ( belly down with your paddle tucked under your body), and paddle the board like a regular surfboard. This is called paddling prone.
Adjust your paddle size
If you can adjust your paddle size, open the latch, pull the handle to the desired length (use your arm above your head, then the handle should reach the wrist), then close the latch.
Use a leash
This actually goes for all stand-up paddle boarders but the sooner you are aware of how vital a leash is in any kind of condition the safer you and everyone else will be when you are paddling. There are different types of attachment points depending on what style of paddling you are doing. Now you are ready to go on the water!
Launching your sup
First, walk into the water while carrying your board by its center handle. When you are about knee-deep into the water, set the board onto the water’s surface. Place your paddle across your board, then sit with your knees on the board.
Practice paddling on your knees until you feel fairly comfortable. When you feel like you are ready to try paddling. It is time to learn how to stand up.
How to stand up on your sup
Practice the techniques for standing up:
Keep your hands on the sides of the board to stabilize it and move one foot at a time to place your feet where your knees were resting.
Do not stand up in one motion, start by raising your chest up while keeping your knees slightly bent and your core centered over the board. Once your chest is vertical, extend your legs to stand up.
Staying balanced on a SUP
Once you are standing, there are a handful of things you can do to maintain your balance on the board:
Position your feet so they are parallel, about hip-width distance apart, and centered between the edges of the board.
If you are struggling to balance, focus on engaging your core.
Keep tour your toes pointed forward, knees slightly bent and your back straight.
Keep your head and shoulders steady and upright, and shift your gravity by moving your hips.
Your eyes should be level at the horizon and do not stare at your feet.
Wider boards can make it easier to balance, especially if you are a beginner. Opt for a board that is at least 31’’ wide, even wider.
How to hold a sup paddle
It is fairly common to see beginning paddlers holding their sup paddles in the wrong way. To avoid making the same mistake, here are two things to know when grabbing your paddle:
The blade should angle forward from the shaft, toward the nose of the board.
When you are paddling on the right side of your board, your left hand on the T Bar grip at the top of the shaft, and your right hand a few feet down on the shaft. Reverse hand positions when you switch paddling from side to side.
Paddling with your core
This may be a little weird at first but paddling is best done by your core strength. These are the strongest muscles of your body and provide the most effective power for your paddle stroke. Standing up tall and using just your arms to paddle, will be very tiring and you will not get much power.
Keep your head up
As a beginner, it can sometimes be difficult to keep your head up and look straight in front of you as it is more natural to look downwards (probably you are worried about falling into the water). And if you are looking down at your feet, your head will obviously be facing down as well. Looking down can ruin your balance. Try your best to keep your head up and maintain good body posture by keeping your back straight, legs slightly bent, by making the sole of your feet mainly bear your body weight.
Falling and getting back on
Despite your best efforts to stay balanced on your board, you are going to fall in the water sometimes. Even experienced paddlers may fall off water from time to time, so if you are feeling a little wobbly, do not worry about it and remember that SUP is a water sport, so it is okay to get wet.
For those inevitable times when you lose your balance:
Try best to make yourself face to the side, so that you fall into the water and not onto the board. As a standard practice, it is important to make sure that you fall away from your big and heavy board so that you do not end up hitting your face. This is also very important when you are riding waves.
To get back on your SUP after falling off:
Try to grasp your board after falling. Make yourself next to your board and near the center.
If you get separated from it, tread the water next to your board.
Grab the handle at the center of the board with one hand.
Let your legs float up to the surface behind you, pull on the handle with your arms and kick with your legs to get back on the board.
If your paddle is away from you, paddle with your hands and get it.
Give yourself enough space
The ocean is huge, lakes are big and the rivers are wide. But we always seem to want to paddle on the same square of water! Paddle boards are big and they can hurt you when you accidentally fall off. Be mindful of other water users and when you are learning the techniques of sup. Make sure you have plenty of room to practice standing, falling, and maneuvering around considering your safety and others’.
Ride waves you can handle
Whether you are surfing, sailing, or racing, you may be going to face some challenging waves. If you are just a beginner, it is a bad idea to take chance on a big waves. Start with smooth, smaller waves until you gain more experience. Ride waves in the right condition for your skill level. Try to understand the flow and power of the water.
The basic paddle board strokes you need to know
Make sure you have got these strokes before taking on advanced paddling techniques. Here is when the real fun begins.
Keep your bottom arm straight. Push down on the paddle T-grip with your top hand. Rotate your top shoulder forward and extend your reach. Please the paddle as far forward as possible and bury the blade all the way under the surface. Pull it back to your ankle, then out of the water.
To go in a reasonably straight line, you will need to alternate stroke on either side of the board. There is no specific number of strokes per side; try about three or four strokes on one side, then switch to the other.
The more vertical you keep the paddle, the straighter you will go.
The reverse stroke is simple to perform and can be used for slowing down, stopping, and turning. It is essentially the opposite of the forward stroke.
If you are paddling on the right, reach back behind you and plant the paddle in the water near the tail of your board. Make sure the blade is all the way under the surface of the water.
Like with the forward stroke, keep your arms straight and twist from your torso, moving the blade forward.
Doing the reverse stroke on the right side of your board will cause the nose of your board to turn to the right and vice versa.
The sweep stroke is useful for turning your board while standing still or moving.
If you need to turn your sup, start by bending your knees and lowering your arms. Reach forward and plant your paddle in the water, submerging the entire blade.
Sweep the paddle away from the board in a half-circle motion from the nose of the board to the tail by rotating your torso and using the leverage of your legs and hips.
Doing the sweep stroke on the right side of your board will turn the board to the left. Vice versa.
You can perform a reverse sweep stroke by using this exact same motion, except start with placing your paddle’s blade enter the water near your sups’ tail, sweeping the paddle toward the nose with arc motion.