how to paddleboard

How to Paddleboard

Paddleboarding has become an extremely popular sport over the last couple of years. Nearly anybody of calm water is the perfect playground to try it out and people have become increasingly interested in how to paddleboard for the very first time. If you’re one of the many people who is looking to participate in this unique sport, well good news for you!

There are tons of reasons why people are drawn to the sport, not least of which all the health benefits of paddleboarding. Not only will you have fun cruising around the waters, but you’ll get a full-body workout as well that trains your core, balance, and cardio. People of all ages can definitely try paddleboarding since it’s easy on your body and it takes only a few practices to nail down the basics. Here we’ll discuss how to paddleboard properly so you can enjoy the soothing effects of nature while maintaining your fitness levels.

Here’s how to paddleboard for the beginners:


One of the best ways to start your paddleboarding journey is by taking lessons and classes from any licensed WPA-certified (World Paddle Association) to nail down proper form when using a paddleboard. As a beginner, you want to nail down the basic techniques on how to paddleboard like bending your knees slightly to have more control and looking at the horizon for a stable balance. Most beginners will tend to stand straight up and look down on the board which compromises your balance and core strength.

Make sure to practice your technique and refine it. Licensed paddleboard instructors will help speed up the learning process much easier by helping you correct your form when using the paddleboard when standing up, lying, or kneeling.


Pay attention to your core rather than your arms. Usually, when you first start out paddleboarding, the first thing that comes to mind is the movement of your arms and the paddle. This will actually make it harder for you to stay on the board because you’re not engaging your core. Your midsection is a strong muscle group so it’s best to keep it tight and engaged because you’ll be able to balance the board better and you’ll be more adept at handling the constant changes in the waters.


Pick up the correct gear and equipment. It’s imperative that you pick up and purchase the right equipment when you first start paddleboarding because paddleboards come in different sizes that’ll suit your weight. The secret to finding a perfectly-fitting paddleboard is by getting a licensed expert to choose a board that’s appropriate for you.

Generally, the wider and flatter the paddleboard is, the more stable it is so this is a good idea to keep in mind when purchasing your first paddleboard. Now, when it comes to buying a paddle, a general rule of thumb is to buy a paddle that’s at least 10 inches taller than your height. Again, it’s best to ask for advice on a paddleboard professional on which paddle to choose since this will mostly be the equipment you’re going to use so make sure to get the correct one.


Get a PFD (Personal Floatation Device). User safety is very important when paddleboarding so make sure to grab a life jacket or other PFD onboard. This is to allow beginners to feel more confident about learning the basic techniques while using the paddleboard. You can also use a leash so that the board won’t drift off when you fall into the waters.

Additional tips for getting started with paddleboarding:

  • When you first head out with a paddleboard, select a body of water where there’s minimal to no wind and the waters are very calm. This will help you practice your balance and work on your technique without having to constantly brace the small waves and the winds knocking you over.
  • Try to look forward instead of looking down. You’ll have better core stability when you’re staring at the horizon. Confidence is key when learning how to paddleboard.
  • Practice in shallow waters first so you can build more confidence as you get better and better at controlling the board without falling down.
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    A 90-degree bend on your knees will offer more core stability instead of standing straight up. Imagine you’re in a skiing position.
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    Get your midsection more involved when paddling. Don’t rely on your arms too much or you will fall down if you don’t brace your abdominals when using the paddleboard.

How to paddle straighter:

It can be quite a challenge to paddle in a straight line especially when you’re just starting out, but here are a couple of important tips that you can follow to make sure that you’re paddling technique is on-point:

  • Keep your paddleboard flat and by that I mean don’t shift your weight to either side of the board. It will travel faster and in a straighter line when the weight distribution is equal. Position yourself on the center of the paddleboard and keep a steady core to avoid shifting your weight.
  • Avoid crooked paddling. You’ll end up using way more energy and effort to propel your paddleboard forward so try to focus on swift, smooth strokes so that way you can move the board straighter and avoid veering off from left to right. 
  • You will move forward in a straight line by stacking your hands when paddling. Often as a beginner, you will have a tendency to paddle diagonally. When you stack your hands, you’ll have a vertical angle when you do your stroke.

The good thing about paddleboarding is that it doesn’t require much of a learning curve to get started. You’ll be able to apply all these tips and tricks perfectly without struggling to understand the basic techniques involved. All you need to do is to practice consistently, work on your form, and you’re on your way to learning how to paddleboard in no time at all!

About the Author Thomas

I suppose you could say I came to surfing later than most. I didn't grow up by the water, but after years working the 9-5 grind I felt its draw and decided it was time to lead a slower life. These days I try and spend time in the water every day and consider the ocean as my living room: a place to relax, have fun, and just enjoy life.

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