how to stand up paddle board

How to Stand Up Paddle Board

As with any sport in general, learning how to sup requires a bit of patience, practice, and dedication. The good news is that the learning curve for SUP is relatively low so you won’t have any trouble learning the ins and outs of stand up paddle boarding. In fact, you can learn to sup within a day if you go to any licensed SUP instructor! The sport of SUP has seen a massive increase in growth, popularity, and interest over the years and it’s no surprise people are looking to getting into the sport because it’s not only enjoyable, but it’s also a great way to get a full-body workout!

Before you head out and start SUP, we’ll have to make sure that you’re geared up correctly to make the learning process much easier and safer. Here are the things you will need on your SUP journey:

1. The first equipment you’ll need is a sup. There are many different options out there on the market and it can be quite confusing for novices to pick the correct board. Do your research first and look into the sup size, its maximum capacity, and the volume of the board. To keep things simple and easy for you, we've selected the best stand up paddle boards we believe are suited to people picking up the sport. You'll need to choose a paddle board that’s wide and rather round at the nose and tail. Paddle boards like this are much easier to keep stable and help to inspire confidence to beginners who are looking to master their SUP skills.

2. Pick up the correct paddle. It’s very important to choose the correct paddle since this will affect the way you control and handle the sup. A good rule of thumb to follow is to select a paddle that’s around 10-12 inches taller than your height. You can tell it’s the correct length if the T-grip aligns with your wrist when you hold it straight up with your hand. Check the different materials, weight, and length of the paddle you’ll be using and make sure to buy one that matches your paddling style perfectly.

3. PFD and paddle board leash. As a beginner, you want to get yourself a PFD (personal floatation device) such as a life jacket to ensure safety. You’re bound to fall off your paddle board as you learn to balance it so using a PFD is a must at all times especially if you’re new to the sport. A paddle-board leash is also a great investment if it’s your first time trying SUP. It’ll prevent the paddle board from drifting away when you fall off, keeping it tethered to you at all times.

Now that you’re all geared up, let’s learn the basics of how to sup:

Basic techniques that you should learn in order to properly SUP:

How to stand up on your paddle-board:

This might the most challenging for beginners, but usually it takes a few tries before you can fully stand up on a paddle-board without falling. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

stand up on your sup
  • Choose a calm, flat water area where there is little to no waves. Stand on the board at around knee-deep water and hold the edges firmly before climbing up.
  • Climb up the board in a kneeling right around the center. You want to evenly distribute your weight so that the board doesn’t wiggle from side to side.
  • Slowly stand up with one leg and raise the other without letting your arms dangle to your sides. You’ll find yourself falling after the first few tries and it’s okay. You’ll soon get a good feel on how to balance your entire body once you’re finally able to stand up without falling down.

Maintaining your balance on an SUP:

  • Engage your core. Most people fall out of balance because they don’t engage their midsection which stabilizes their entire body. Keep your core nice and tight when standing on the paddle-board.
  • Keep a slight bend in your knees to provide more stability for your body. Imagine you’re riding a skateboard.
  • Look at the horizon instead of looking down. Novice SUP’ers have a tendency to look down and this is one of the main reasons why they fall off the paddle-board. Head’s up and set your eyes straight, not downwards.

How to hold the paddle:

  • Keep a firm grip of the paddle. Your hand positioning will vary depending on which side you paddle. For instance, if you’re paddling to the right, your left hand will hold the T-grip and your right hand will grip the paddle right down the middle.
  • The blade should be pointed towards the nose of your surf board.
how to hold the paddle

Learn the basic strokes:

The 3 basic strokes you’ll need to master as a beginner are the forward stroke, the reverse stroke, and the sweep stroke. The forward stroke propels your board forward while the reverse stroke is used to slowing down or stopping your board. Finally, the sweep stroke is used to maneuver and turn your board. You’ll be able to easily learn these strokes once you’ve nailed down the basics of standing up on the paddle-board and balancing it perfectly without falling off.

How to Stand Up Paddle-Board: Conclusion

Learning how to stand up paddle-board requires a bit of practice and technique but once you nail it down, you’ll be thrilled at how relaxing and rewarding this outdoor water sport is. Make sure to get the correct equipment first and inform yourself on proper user safety before heading out on the open water. Remember, patience, practice, and dedication are key to learning how to stand up paddle-board properly. Give these tips a try and soon enough you’ll be stand up paddle boarding anytime soon!

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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