A Beginner's Guide to SUP (Paddleboard) Paddles

A Beginner's Guide to SUP (Paddleboard) Paddles

SUP can be a great workout and a lot of fun, but it’s not as easy as it looks! If you’re new to paddleboarding, you need to learn a few basic skills to make the most of your experience. This blog post serves as a beginner's guide to SUP paddles and will cover how to size a SUP paddle, hold a paddle, and give you tips for the three basic SUP strokes. With these skills under your belt, you’ll be gliding across the water like a pro in no time!

How to properly size a paddle

When paddleboarding, you’ll want to be sure to use a paddle that is the right size for you. A paddle that is too long or too short will make it difficult to paddle efficiently and lead to fatigue. To find the right paddle length, stand up on your paddleboard with both feet and raise the paddle straight up in the air next to you, keeping your elbow close to your side. The top of the paddle should come somewhere between your chin and nose. If it’s too short, you’ll need to move your hand further down the shaft; if it’s too long, you’ll need to move your hand closer to the blade.

How to properly hold your paddle

Now that you have the right paddle, it’s time to learn how to hold it. The most common grip is called the “overhand paddle grip.” Simply place your hand over the top of the paddle shaft and grasp it with your fingers. Your thumb can go on either side of the paddle, depending on which feels more comfortable. Once you have a good grip, keep your elbow close to your side and use your shoulder and core muscles to power your strokes - not just your arms!

Proper paddling techniques

Now that you know how to size and hold your paddle let’s talk about basic SUP strokes. You need to know three strokes to move efficiently across the water: the forward stroke, the turning stroke, and the backward stroke.

The forward stroke

The forward stroke is the most basic and is used to move straight ahead. To do this stroke, paddle evenly on both sides of the board, keeping your paddle close to the board's centerline. Use your entire arm - not just your wrist - to paddle through the water.

The turning stroke

The turning stroke is used to make minor adjustments in your direction or turn around. Paddle on one side of the board only to do this stroke, using shorter and more powerful strokes than you would for a forward stroke. Keep your paddle close to the board's rail that you are paddling on.

The backward stroke

The backward stroke is used when you need to back up or stop. Paddle on one side of the board only to do this stroke, using long and slow strokes. Keep your paddle close to the centerline of the board.

Where to paddleboard

Now that you know the basic techniques, it is time to start planning your first paddleboard adventure. The question is, what a good places to paddleboard? Here are some ideas to get you started.

If you want to paddleboard in a river or stream, the best time is early morning when the water is calm. You'll want to avoid areas with a lot of boat traffic. Some good places to paddleboard in rivers include the Matanzas River in St. Augustine, FL or the Matanzas Inlet, also in St. Augustine.

If you want to paddleboard in the ocean, you'll want to paddle in an area with little to no waves. Paddleboarding in the ocean can be a great workout if you paddle against the waves. Some good places to paddleboard in the ocean include Anastasia Island or Vilano Beach.

Your next great adventure awaits

You can go anywhere you want on your paddleboard with these three strokes. Just remember to keep your paddle close to the board's centerline when paddling forward and close to the rail when turning or going backward. And most importantly - have fun! SUP is a great workout and a great way to enjoy being outdoors. With a bit of practice, you’ll be zipping across the water like a pro in no time!