Here are our top tips on how to stand up on your paddleboard and conquer the open sea!
Stand-up paddle boarding is a sport that's accessible to all.
If you want to try your hand at your first SUP experience or even take part in SUP surfing or races, you'll first need a good grasp of the basics to get your balance and improve your technique.
Read on to find out how to do so!
Is this your first time paddleboarding? Find out what equipment you need and how to get out on the water for the first time.
On average, it takes 30 minutes to get your balance and start paddling on a suitable area of flat water for beginner paddleboarders.
Before you try paddling standing up, there are several steps to go through that will help you to be stable on your SUP... And this starts off with getting on your board! 😉
If you are launching in the water, walk into the water until it comes up to your knees.
Then, lie down on your stand-up paddleboard, and paddle away from the water's edge.
Get yourself into a kneeling position once you're done with this.
If you are launching from a pontoon or jetty, try kneeling directly on your board.
1. Get into position in the middle of your SUP with your knees either side of the carry handle.
2. Pick up your paddle and start paddling on either side of your board while keeping yourself stable.
The kneeling position is used as a transition so that you can get your bearings the first time you SUP.
Once you have got your balance on your knees, put your paddle on the front of your board and try to gently get yourself into a standing position.
For better stability, make sure your feet are positioned correctly on your board. To be specific, it should be positioned on both sides of the SUP's carry handle and shoulder-width apart.
Once standing, hold your paddle out in front of you like a tightrope walker and focus on a spot in the distance. In this position, try to stabilize your stance.
If necessary, spread your feet a little wider – your balance will be much better after heeding this tip!
The position of your body on a paddleboard is similar to a skier:
- Facing the front of your board with your feet shoulder-width apart
- Legs bent and back straight. In this position, you will be able to cope with and absorb any shocks so that you can spend more time on your board than in the water!
As you go, you will get your bearings and be able to start making your first paddle strokes by alternating them on either side of your board.
Most paddles have an adjustment system so that you can resize them to suit your height. The handle of your paddle should be level with your wrist when your arm is raised.
Next, learn how to position your hands on your paddle for an efficient stroke without tiring yourself out or causing injury:
- Grab your paddle by the grip (the handle) with one hand and by the shaft with the other hand then hold the paddle above your head.
- When it touches the top of your head, your elbows should form a 90° angle.
And that's it, you're holding your paddle correctly!
Consider marking the position of your hand on the shaft to get back to it quickly when you swap sides while paddling.
Are your feet in place, your posture well balanced and your hands correctly positioned? It's time for your first paddle strokes!
To paddle correctly, reach out as far as possible in front of your board then pull the blade of your paddle back to your feet using the hand on the shaft.
Remember to engage your whole body in this movement to protect your elbows, shoulders and lower back, and to develop a better technique.
With time and practice, your stroke will become more powerful and you will save your energy. Improving your technique has two advantages: you will be more efficient and also faster!
If you fall off, the first thing to think about is to try not to fall onto your board but to land in the water instead to avoid injuring yourself.
Once in the water, put your paddle on your board so that you have your hands free to get back on your SUP.
Then, get yourself to the middle of your board (level with the carry handle) and grab the opposite side of your SUP to pull yourself up onto the board.
If your SUP is too wide and you cannot reach the opposite side, you can grab the carry handle and use the same technique.
You can then get back into position on your knees, stand up and continue paddling along!
It's all a matter of patience when it comes to getting your balance on your paddleboard.
By following the different stages of learning to SUP you will improve quickly... don't skip any of the steps!
All the best, and enjoy the waters!