Stand-up paddleboarding is the fastest growing watersport in the world, and with good reason! Standard paddle-boarding is a great work out for the core but that’s not all. You can fish or do yoga from a paddle board too! Like anything new, the idea of stand-up paddle boarding might seem a bit difficult at first. But it needn’t be.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the top tips for stand-up paddleboarding beginners. Hopefully after reading, you’ll have a little more confidence in your ability and will be able to relax and just enjoy this super fun sport.
Get the right equipment
Seems like common sense, right? The most important thing for beginner SUPpers is that they choose the right equipment. We just mean the basics here – so that’s a board, paddle, and leash.
The first thing to think about is what you’re going to use your board for. Unless you’ve already decided you’ll be surfing, racing, or travelling long distances, an inflatable board is the best. It’s easy to transport and once you get out onto the water, you’ll be thankful for its stability and the ease of manoeuvring it.
When choosing your board, it’s best to go for something wide and thick to stay steady. Paddles? It should be about 25cm longer than your height so you can get the best when it comes to grip and traction. If you’re planning to buy rather than rent, your paddle should cost roughly 20% of what you paid for your board.
You’ll also need a leash – for safety above all else. It’ll keep you attached to your bored – especially useful if you get lost or exhausted.
Start in calm water
It might seem like common sense again, but you might be surprised at the amount of beginners that think they can just run out into the waves straight away. Starting in calm waters means you’ll be able to find your balance.
Don’t attempt to stand straight away – beginner paddlers should always start on their knees. When it comes to standing up, take it easy and go one food at a time. You should be in the middle of the board. It might take a few days before you can properly stand on your board, but it’ll take a lot longer if you try to do it in rough waters.
If you are SUPing in the sea, try to find somewhere with smooth and small waves before you tackle anything bigger. This will help you to grow your confidence – while taking it too fast could become frustrating. And no one wants that!
Make sure you have plenty of space
It’s not enough to just stay in calm water if you want to stay on your SUP, though it is a good start. While it’s a fun activity to try with family and friends, when you’re starting off you’re going to need lots of space. Why? Being close to other SUPers means you’ll all be creative waves. While they may only be small, they could still affect your stability and throw you off balance. And no-one wants to get injured as they’re starting off a new sport.
Learn to take a fall
While on the subject of stability and balance, it’s not always possible to stay on your board. Especially for beginners. In fact, it’s a regular occurence and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. What you should do though, is learn to take a fall. Fall away from the board – this means you’ll minimise the risk of injuries. After all, you don’t want to face plant a big board – even if you’re using an inflatable one! Falling is where the importance of having a leash comes in… the perfect way to make sure you don’t lose it!
Face the Right Direction
Okay, you’ve got quite a lot of the basics now. You’ve got the right board, you know how to fall in the worst-case scenario, and you’re in calm waters. Now you’ve got a bit of an idea that you can go somewhere… How do you get there? First of all, you’ll have to check that you’re at the right end of the board. It can be a bit tricky if you don’t have one of the pointier sports or touring models. The best way is to check which end the fins are at – then you have the back.
Once you’ve established which direction to take, all you need to do is look straight ahead. Sounds simple, but it’s trickier than you might think. You’ll naturally want to look down to your feet to check your stable. However, looking out towards the direction you’re heading provides you with more stability and balance.
Learn the right paddling technique
It’s not only stability and balance you need to watch out for in SUPing, it’s paddling too. A common mistake among beginners is not holding the paddle correctly. The bent part should be facing away from you and you should be holding it so that your arms create a 90 degree angle. Remember to turn, paddle in the opposite direction you want to go.
Try new things!
One of the great things about SUPing is that it’s so versatile. One day, you can be paddling across the smooth surface of an Alpine lake, the next you can be throwing yourselves into waves (provided both bodies of water are close together, of course…)
If you want to combine SUPing with other activities, try a spot of fishing or you can even do yoga. Just imagine how good that is for your core!
SUPing is also a great way to explore lakes, rivers, and oceans near you, or see more of a destination when you’re on vacation. So, get out there and give it a go!