Don’t be that person, either. Follow our list of 10 beginner stand-up paddle boarder recommendations to avoid the most common first-time paddle boarder blunders. This information may make a difference in your future paddle boarding activities, whether you rent a SUP and paddle or have recently purchased your gear.
1. Make use of a leash
This is true for all stand-up paddle boarders, but the sooner you realize the importance of a leash in any situation, the safer you and everyone else will be while paddling. Depending on your paddling style, there are numerous leashes and attachment points, so read these two articles: “Which leash is best for me?” and “Which attachment point is right for me?” “Why do I need a leash on a SUP?” says another.
2. Check that your paddle is pointing in the appropriate direction.
We’ve all done it because it seemed like the correct thing to do at the time. You like the paddle to scoop the water as you strive to balance and paddle without going in. However, as we all know, the paddle performs better in the upright position, resulting in a smoother paddle stroke and less stress on your shoulders and elbows. Because the shaft is the leading edge, you draw the blade through the water in a slightly trailing position, which assists blade stability, and the blade is vertical as you complete the SUP stroke, offering the best angle for the most force.
3. Take the proper stance
It is not immediately evident to non-surfers or frequent water users which end of the board is the front/nose. Many beginner boards include:
- A large round nose and tail.
- Excellent stability.
- A huge EVA deck area allows you to move (and fall) easily.
Verify where the fins are before you get on the board, and make sure they’re at the rear when you paddle! Fins on the back of the board help in tracking (keeping the board straight when paddling) and grip while surfing waves. Fins in the front create a jittery paddleboard that refuses to go directly no matter how hard you try!
4. Using your core to paddle
I.E., Use your arms sparingly. Paddling is best done via your core, which may initially sound strange. These are your body’s strongest muscles, and they provide the most force for your paddle stroke. Standing erect and paddling with only your arms will be exhausting and provide little power. More on paddle techniques can be found in this video: The Basics of Stand Up Paddleboarding – Using Your Core.
5. Examine the horizon
When we first start paddling, the natural tendency is to look down at the board, watch the water lap at the sides, and pray we don’t fall in! Place your head up, your back straight, and your body weight over your toes for optimum stability. If you keep your head down and watch your toes, you’ll likely rock back on your heels and into the water. Watch this video about standing up on your SUP by Sam Ross.
6. Keep your distance.
The ocean is enormous, as are the lakes and rivers. We always want to paddle on the same square inch of water, though! Paddleboards are large and can injure you if they collide with you. When knowing SUP, keep an eye out for other people on the water. Ascertain that you have enough space to practice standing, falling, and paddling.
7. Fall off your board properly.
Even pros fall off, so expect this to be a part of your stand-up paddleboarding experience. Through, what matters is how you fall. Just as you may practice tricks and wave riding, you can also practice falls, or at least be aware of how to slip and fall properly, to ensure that your session is not cut short due to injury. You wish to fall away from your paddleboard when you lose since paddleboards are huge and can damage you. Your leash will keep you tied to it, but landing well clear of the board will allow you to glide elegantly into the water without hitting the board or the fins. This is especially critical in areas with currents or waves, as the board will move without your touch.
8. Ride waves you’re comfortable with
I’ve spent much of my life near the sea. SUPing, bodyboarding, bodysurfing, surfing, sailing… Big waves still terrify me on occasion. Mother nature is a powerful person, and you must respect and understand her. We do it for fun, and 99 percent of the time, we aren’t trying to prove anything. Ride waves when the conditions are perfect for your ability level. That also applies to whitewater paddleboarding. Make sure you know how the river flows and how powerful the water is.
9. Be aware of the wind.
This is a continuation of #8. When paddling out, it’s critical to be aware of the conditions, and it’s also important to be mindful of the weather prediction to anticipate any ideal changes. You’re just like a sail in the wind when you’re standing on your SUP. If you ever find yourself in the bad wind, lay down with your paddle tucked beneath you and stroke the board like a typical surfer. This is referred to as paddling prone.
10. Take care of your paddle and board.
Beginner paddle boards are quite large. They must be made of lightweight, high-tech materials to be controllable, maneuverable, and sturdy, making them pricey. Your board and paddle can be very brittle when flung around on land, and your board will be grateful!