Paddleboarding for Beginners

Paddleboarding for Beginners

Paddleboarding is potentially the best water sport for people of every ability. It is easy to get into, caters to every level, and doesn’t require as much physical fitness as surfing and other high-maintenance water sports.

How to paddleboard?

Sitting, kneeling, or standing in the center of your paddleboard, you use your paddle as a lever to push you through the water. Keep your top hand steady to drive the lever, and your bottom hand to act as the pivot point; reach the paddle into the water as far as possible, and push forward. If you are wanting to paddle in a straight line, remember to switch your hands every few strokes or so.

When beginning, you are best to start in a kneeling position, on smooth, flat waters. When you feel confident, slowly stand up with one foot at a time. Keep your feet about a shoulder-width apart, with a slight bend in the knees, and keep to the center.

How to make it easier for beginners?

  1. Choose the right size board. For most beginners, your board should be around 30 inches by 11 feet. If you are always feeling unstable, chances are that you need a bigger board.
  2. Use your core. As strange as it sounds, using just your arm muscles to make the paddle motions is exhausting, and you will tire quickly from doing just this. Your core is a strong and powerful tool, and it will make your strokes much more powerful and efficient. Take a good neutral stance, keep your arms straight, and push the whole blade down into the water to utilize your core and pull yourself forward faster.
  3. Look at the horizon. To maintain your stability, you need to resist the temptation to look down at your wobbly legs, as this is setting yourself up for failure. Keep your head up, back straight, and try and choose a point on the horizon to fixate your view on. This makes staying on the board a whole lot easier.
  4. Don’t choose waves that are out of your depth. Be smart, and don’t venture out into enormous waves when you are only just mastering the ability to stand up on your paddleboard. Check the weather before you plan your trip, and I would always recommend heading into a local surf shop to see if the conditions seem okay for your ability.
  5. Face the right way. Even though your paddleboard may seem relatively symmetrical, the way it is pointing when you’re on the water is actually really important. Without pointing the right way, no matter how well you do everything else, you will really struggle to paddle in a straight line. As a general rule, check where the fins are and make sure that they are at the back when you paddle out.
  6. Get a SUP leash. These are velcro straps that you attach to your paddleboard, and wrap around your ankle, keeping it attached to you. In calmer waters, it may seem unnecessary, but it seriously only takes a small gust of wind to sweep your paddle board away from you forever. Not only does this mean you’ve lost your precious board, but this is incredibly dangerous as it could hit anyone as it gains momentum. Don’t ever forget your leash!

Truly, practice is the only way to keep improving, and with paddleboarding, you can’t be afraid to fall off… it’s all part of the fun!

Get out there and get going, and keep going even when you do fall off!

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