How To Stand Up Paddle Board | The Ultimate Guide

Chris King
How To Stand Up Paddle Board | The Ultimate Guide

Warm weather brings about a newness of sorts as new life begins to grow. We as humans also respond positively to seasonal changes. The springtime of the year signals new life, health, vitality, and growth. Summertime causes an increase in outdoor activity because of the pleasant weather and longer daylight hours.

How To Stand Up Paddle Board

Water sports become popular during the warmer months of the year because participants can enjoy the sunshine while using the water to remain cool. There are a wide variety of possible water activities, but paddle boarding seems to be the fastest growing trend. Paddle Boarding is simple to learn and easy to do. Of course you have to develop your skills as you advance but by and large learning how to paddleboard it is well worth the time spent doing so, and the small cost of the simple equipment required to perform. Look at the cost of the equipment as an investment for getting exercise and having fun.

How To Stand Up Paddle Board

I highly recommend this activity for many different reasons; The first is that you will enjoy it. The equipment which you use is relatively inexpensive and the sport is simple and easy to learn. The last and most wonderful benefit that I will mention is that paddleboarding offers exercise for every muscle group of the body. It gives you a complete workout while with a rigorous low impact high intensity workout.

The Paddleboard

The paddle board looks very similar to the surfboard, and is used in a very similar way. The main difference in the way that they are employed is that you will either sit or stand up on the paddleboard and paddle your way across the water. Surfboarders ride the more streamlined and maneuverable board using the power of large waves to push them into the shoreline. They paddle out using their hands for propulsion. There are several other pieces of equipment which are required for paddleboarding. They are relatively inexpensive, and necessary for your safety. If you are looking for your first paddle board then check these out here.

Equipment Required

You will need to own a paddleboard first of all. The paddle board SUP, or inflatable stand up paddleboard resembles a surfboard but is shorter and wider. It is inflatable but can also be constructed of solid material which is very buoyant. The floating paddleboard also serves as a flotation device for the user in case he or she has difficulty on the water. It can also be seen easily in case the rider needs to be extracted. Check out some of the best inflatable paddle board in our round up here and guide.

The Stand Up Paddle is required for propulsion. You need to utilize a quality paddle so that it won’t fail you. Carbon fiber is the most recommended because it is very difficult to break. I suggest this material over wood and aluminum because it won’t break as wood will often do, or bend as aluminum often does.

How To Stand Up Paddle Board Guide

The paddle board leash serves to connect the user to the board. This is imperative because it will keep you connected to the board in case of illness or injury. this helps in two ways. It keeps you close to the easily seen board which will also serve as your flotation device.

An electric air pump will inflate your board for you in a few seconds saving you time and energy. A 12 volt pump will work best and can be connected to your car to inflate too.

You will need a quality lifejacket. This is necessary even if you are an avid swimmer. It will keep you afloat in case you are unconscious or incapacitated and not able to hold onto your board.

Safety Tips

Even the most experienced boaters and swimmers must exercise safety precautions. Safety is no more than good common sense, but you must remain alert for possible safety issues.

1) Always check your equipment both before, during, and following its use. check for damage which will cause equipment failure such as air leaks. Check to see that your lifejacket has been serviced. Always check all buckles, straps, and moveable parts for wear and function.

2) Keep a communication device on your person at all times when you are on the water. This may be a waterproof cellphone or two way radio. If you are not sure your device is water resistant enclose it in a waterproof covering.

3) You will also need to keep some sort of a visual and audio signalling device. Flares, whistles, horns, smoke and producing devices all fit the bill. I personally prefer to have both a visual and an audio device on hand.

4) Exercise common sense while you are on the water. Keep an eye open for other boarders and vessels. Maintain a safe distance from swimmers and vehicles. Remember that the wake of a passing boat can throw you overboard.

5) Never operate your SUP in adverse weather conditions, high winds, or high waves.

Exercise Benefits

Paddle boarding will work every muscle group in the body. Maintaining balance works the ankles, calfs, legs, and torso. If you learn how to paddleboard correctly it will work the arms, back, chest, and upper torso. You get the benefit of this complete workout while you enjoy this activity.

The Key to Paddle Boarding

When learning to paddle board there are some key things to be aware of when taking to the water, mastering and undressing this can make it a lot easier to grasp and enjoy paddling out on the water.

Balancing while Mounting

If you are a beginner you will have to first learn how to mount the SUP while maintaining your balance, and to be able to stand and move without falling. This will be trial and error and you will have a few falls but remember that it takes a little time to learn how to paddleboard. Balance is the key. You will have to learn the proper posture for mounting the board and balancing while you utilize it.
Mount the SUP in shallow water by slowly rolling your body onto it. Spread your body across the board to insure proper balance. Once you are balanced in the prone position raise yourself to your knees and keep a wide body position.

Keep your Eyes on the Horizon

There is a tendency for the SUP user to look down at the water while boarding. The problem with doing this is that it will negatively effect your balance. The surface of the water is constantly moving and shifting so it makes an unreliable point of reference. You will maintain your balance better by keeping your gaze on the horizon. The distant horizon offers a more reliable point of reference for maintaining balance because there is less of a visual perception of movement. When this is the case your subconscious mind will not attempt to adjust to the shifting thus enabling you to maintain much better balance.

Correct Orientation of your Board

Beginners boards are more rounded than boards used by advanced paddlers. They are more stable and less maneuverable. You may replace your board as you advance and grow in skill. Remember that when you place the board in the water the fin goes in back. when you orient your board correctly it will be more manageable.

Paddling your Board

Begin paddling slowly moving the paddle carefully from front to rear. Adjust your paddle to the most comfortable length for you so you can get good contact with the water without having to sacrifice balance. Paddle from your core by concentrating on using your back and torso more so than your arms. Remain on your knees until you are comfortable on the water and skilled in maintaining your balance.

Learning how to Fall

Falls are inevitable for all who attempt to learn how to paddle board. Once you reach the point where you know that you can’t regain your balance on the SUP you need to fall in a prescribed manner in order to avoid injury. You want to insure that your body lands in the water rather than on the board. You will have to fall away from your board. You have to have confidence in your life preserver and leash to keep you afloat and in in contact with your board. Push yourself away as you topple so as to avoid serious injury.

Transitioning to Standing

Once you are comfortable with kneeling on your board you will want to move to a standing position. remember that this position is much more difficult so you will have to continue with great care. Rise slowly by bringing each knee up to your chest slowly and deliberately. Start with your prominent knee because you will be more comfortable moving it.

Once you have brought this knee to your chest perform the same procedure with the opposite knee. Remember to keep your knees apart to maintain balance. Once you have brought both knees up raise your torso into an upright position and balance. When you have done this slowly stand straight up as if you are lifting weights on your back. Use the paddle to assist and maintain balance as necessary.

Paddling while Standing

Balance your weight equally on both feet. Keep your hips centered, low, and tight as you stand. You may have to remain in a slightly squatted position in order to maintain your balance. This is fine if necessary just as long as you can remain erect. Keep your feet parallel and in line with each other.

Becoming One with the Paddle

The paddle has to be your best friend because it is necessary in order to propel your body across the water. You will have to learn how to use it efficiently. Here are some guidelines to help you get the most from this piece of equipment.

Your paddle will have to be long and sturdy enough to take care of you. If it is too short you will not be able to balance yourself, or move through the water correctly. If it is too long it will be cumbersome and could cause you to fall.

Balance yourself as you paddle the board by keeping your feet spread and parallel, and your hips low. Remember to keep your body erect so that your weight is centered. Avoid leaning your torso to the sides or rear because doing so will cause you to become out of balance.

Paddle with slow long strokes until you master balancing and paddling at the same time. You may then begin to paddle faster. Be sure that you use long straight strokes. When paddling keep the blade of the paddle parallel to your body and totally immersed. You want to maintain as much contact with the blade and the surface of the water as necessary for maximum efficiency.

Wind and Waves

Both wind and waves will cause you to lose balance if you are not careful. When the wind kicks up or waves threaten your balance you may want to drop down to a kneeling position for added security. You may have to shift your body weight subtly towards the incoming waves or wind to offset the tendency to topple you from your board. Continue to paddle if possible, using your paddle for both leverage and propulsion. Your paddle is the biggest asset that you have is such a situation because it gives you added control.

Steer directly into the wind and/or waves if possible. This will give you the most possible control of your craft and balance. You may have to lean slightly forward into the wind or wave in order to offset its effects on you and your SUP. Your paddle is a wonderful balancing tool. Its weight and blade can assist you immensely in keeping your balance.

Have you ever seen people walk across a tightrope. They will always use a rod for balance. When you feel your balance shifting uncomfortably one way hold the paddle in the opposite direction to offset the problem. Never make any sudden moves in response to the wind because of the danger of overcompensating and throwing yourself further off balance.

Advanced Techniques

Once you have become more experienced you may want to try different events, or paddle boarding techniques. Advanced techniques require you to increase concentration and skill. Both these attributes will increase with training and practice. The only way to improve is by practicing your craft as much as possible.

SUP Tricks and Freestyle

SUP tricks and freestyle are fun to learn after you have mastered the basics of how to paddleboard. They are also impressive to onlookers and a boon to the sport. The key to impressing onlookers is to make it look easy. Tricks are not as easy as they seem but with practice you can increase your concentration level so that freestyle looks almost natural. Many of these freestyle techniques will involve balancing on the hands or head while boarding, changing to unusual and contorted body positions, and performing backward and forward somersaults, twists, rolls, or a combination of different movements in sequence.

About the author: Chris loves the outdoors and has developed a love of gadgets and inflatable toys, from kayaking and paddle boarding to relaxing in his hot tub at home. The founder of WhichInflatable and has been the editor for 7 years.

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