HOW TO STAND UP PADDLE BOARD? TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
The standup paddle boarding is a fun way to play on the water. It offers some great benefits along with the full-body workout. This is one of the fun water sports that you can try on rivers, lakes, bays or oceans. As you have stand on the paddle, you will have an advantage to view what is there under the water or even out on the horizon. The standup paddle board can offer you a very unique and fun experience. If you too want to know about how to stand up paddle board, you are at the right place.
As the standup paddle boarding is getting more and more popular, it is considered as one of the faster growing water sports. Here we will provide some of the important and crucial tips for the beginners. To get started with the paddle boarding, you will have to learn a lot of things. Read on to know more.
Basics of the SUP Boarding
Without the basics, you cannot jump straight into the advance level. As you are a beginner, you have to know the basic and that too in details. We will discuss each and every step in details and from the scratch so that you can understand it completely.
1. Start with the Gears
Before you start the paddling, you need to ensure that you are equipped with the protective and essential gears. The most important gears that you will need - stand up paddle board, paddle, personal flotation device (PFD), safety whistle and light and a leash.
Standup paddle board: This is the basic and the most important gear that you will need. If you are a beginner, don't buy it. Either rent it or you can borrow it from a friend. After learning, you can consider buying your own.
Paddle: The paddle for SUP look like that of the stretched out canoe paddle which comes with a tear-drop shaped blade. This can offer you maximum efficiency when it comes to paddling. You need to choose a paddle with the correct length. When a paddle reaches up to your wrist, it is the correct length.
PFD: This is the personal flotation device like a floatation aid life jacket and you need to have this on your board. Though the adults may not have to use it but it is a must for the children. You can check the regulations regarding this based on the particular state.
Safety whistle & light: It is also important to carry the whistle to warn other boaters when you are paddling on the water. If you want to paddle even after the sunset, then you need to carry a light too on the board.
SUP leash: This is an important gear for the beginners. The leash helps to keep the paddle board attached to you with a strap around the angle or your calf. In case you fall off from the board, you will not lose the board if it is getting too windy out there.
Besides these, you also have to wear proper clothing and some sun protection gears like sunscreen, sunglasses etc. During the summer months, you will have to wear a combination of swimsuit along with shorts. During the colder months, you can wear a wetsuit or semi-dry suit.
2. Learn Basic Paddling Techniques
Most of the beginners start with the basics. As a beginner, you will have to start learning the 3 basic things:
- Standing up on the board
- Balancing on the board
- Falling and getting back on again
Standing up - The first the main lesson is how to stand up paddle board. Hold the board by its edges on knee-deep water and then work your way over the board. As you climb up the board, be on the kneeling position. Make sure it is just behind the exact center of the board. Keep your hands steady on both sides of the board for stabilizing it. Now, start by moving one of your feet to place where your knee is. Repeat with the other foot too. Slowly start rising up your chest keeping your knees bent. Now, extend the legs gradually to stand up fully.
Balancing - You have to position your feet in such a way that they are parallel to each other. Keep the toes pointed forward and the knees should be slightly bent. Make sure to keep your head as well as your shoulder upright and steady. You have to shift the weight by making your hips move. You need to maintain a steady gaze at the level of the horizon. Don't stare at the feet.
Falling off and getting back on - Despite of the best efforts, as a beginner, you will fall off the board losing the balance. Even some of the experienced experts fall off. Sometime the paddlers take a plunge just for fun. So, it is okay. But the main part is getting up on the board again. You have to aim to the side of the paddle board. Take the position just next to the board and near the center. Now, you have to grab the handle present at the center of the board using one hand. Now, let the legs float up to the surface behind. They kick your legs and pull yourself on the handle to slide over the board.
3. Learn SUP Strokes
The real fun begins after you learn to stand up and balance. You have to learn some of the SUP strokes now. As a beginner, you have to learn the three main basic strokes that can help you to move:
This will help you to push yourself forward through the water. Here you have to push the blade all the under the water and move the paddle through the water towards your ankle. Then take it out of the water. You have to keep your arms steady and straight.
The next thing that you will learn is the reverse stroke where you move backward in the water. It is just the opposite of the forward stroke. If you do the reverse stroke on the right side of the board, it will cause the nose of your board to turn to its right. And if you do the same to left of your board, then the nose will turn to the left.
This stroke is used for moving the board while you are still standing on it. Suppose, if you are paddling on your right, then rotate the shoulder in such a way that your right shoulder comes in front. Here you have to sweep the paddle submerging the entire blade. If you do the sweep stroke on the left side of the board, it will help in turning your board to the right. If you do the same on the right side, then the board will turn to the left.
Tips for the Beginners
From the above explanation, hopefully, it is clear to you about how to stand up paddle board and balance. Now, it is time for some of the important tips that will help you if you are beginner or you are trying stand up paddle board for the first time.
Tip 1: You have to choose a small water body which is also calm. It is better to select a pond or a lake. Don't try it on the river or ocean as they have currents that can make it even more difficult for you to learn. Select a lake or boat which is free of any obstacles such as buoys or boats.
Tip 2: It is better to look for a sandy beach or any other place that can help to easily go you into the water. Having a sandy beach will help you to launch the standup paddle easily.
Tip 3: When you are a beginner and you are still learning, it is always better to choose a sunny day. Make sure there is little or no wind at all to make it easier for you. Windy or rainy condition can make it extremely tough for you to learn.
Tip 4: If the route you choose requires you to paddle into the wind, then do so. It is better for you when you will return back as you will get a slight boost from the wind on your way back. You will be tired and getting the boost will also help you.
Tip 5: Go with a friends or any expert. It will help you to have a support as the other one can keep an eye on you, in case you need any help.
Tip 6: On you very first outing, plan to paddle for just one hour and not more than that. It will be enough for the beginner.
So, now you know a lot about how to stand up paddle board. Make sure to keep the above mentioned tips in your mind whenever you are hitting the water. As a beginner, you must use the leash for better safety. You will not want to lose the board in the middle of the water. Also, before you get ready to hit the water, check the wind and weather forecast. Always carry all the emergency and essential gears that are mentioned above. Enjoy the paddling and stay safe!
Also of Interest:
- What to Wear for Paddle Boarding? Is Wetsuit a Must?
- Top 10 Paddle Boarding Mistakes and How to Avoid Them