Paddle Board Tips For Beginners

Stuck at home doesn’t suit you? All you have been doing is sitting on the couch and waiting for the day to end? Even Netflix has lost its charm now that most opportunities of going out has been ruled unnecessary, well why don’t you pick up a new activity?

Why not take a paddle board and set out on the ocean and leave all the worries behind you! Hakunama Tata.

So here are five tips for newbies that will make this experience easier and a lot more fun. But remember, give yourself time. Like any new activity, it’s going to take some time to master the basics and make the transition from beginner to intermediate participant.

Practice on Solid Ground:  All first timers should  get a feel for standing up on solid ground before taking their new board into the water. Be sure to remove your center fin and find balance and confidence in your pop-up on dry land, but make sure to use a gentle and even surface like sand or grass. Once you feel comfortable, it is time to hit the water.
  • Start on your knees in the center of the board.
  • Take a few fake paddle motions you’ll need to gain a bit of speed.
  • Place your hands on the board under your shoulders and your paddle shaft under your palms.
  • While looking at the horizon, move your left foot up on the board so your knee moves toward your armpit.
  • Keeping pressure on your hands, move your right foot up so your feet become shoulder-width apart.
  • Stand up as quickly as you can while maintaining equal balance on both feet over the center carry handle of your board, shoulder-width apart with your hips facing the front of your board.
  • Smile and start paddling.

Tip: Just as it’s easier to balance on a bicycle that’s moving, it’s easier to stand up on a paddle board that’s moving. Take a few strong paddles on each side of your board before your pop-up.

Find the perfect spot to launch your board: Newbies must take it slow and try and launch the board from a beach with soft sand and a gentle slope into the water. But ask any experienced paddler and they’ll tell you that they have no trouble launching from docks or rock-covered beaches either!
  • Walk into the water until you’re almost knee-deep.
  • Get onto the center of the board on your needs, making sure your center fin remains clear of the ground. If your fin isn’t clear of the ground, take a few more steps into the water and try again.
  • Take a couple of strong paddles on both sides to pick up some speed.
  • Focus on the horizon ahead and stand up just how you practiced on firm ground.
Holding your paddle right: First, you’ll want to adjust your paddle length so it’s 3-4 inches taller than you. The correct way to hold your paddle is with the angle of the blade to the front of your board. In most paddles the logo should be facing the front of the board. It’s important to get some distance between your hands for the most efficient paddle stroke as well, keeping one hand on the top of the paddle and the other hand lower on the shaft.
  • Holding the end grip with your right hand, raise your paddle over your head so it’s parallel with your shoulders.
  • Adjust your position until your right forearm is vertical between your right hand and elbow.
  • Grab your paddle shaft with your left hand and adjust until you create another vertical line between your left hand and elbow.
  • Keep this hand position while you paddle, switching hands when paddling on each side of your board.
Fall away from your board: There is very little possibility of tumbling off from the board even on your first paddling ride, you must know how to do it! If you do find yourself losing your balance, do your best to fall away from the board. Don’t reach for your board when you’re falling, as any hard object under you could turn into a hazard. And because you would never attempt to paddle board without your trusty SUP leash, you never have to worry about losing your board during a fall. So, if you feel yourself falling to the right, make sure to fall further toward your right than you may if you let gravity do all of the work.
  • Always attempt to fall flat on the water, much like a belly or back flop, to keep yourself from being injured by anything hiding below the surface of the water.
Getting back on your board after a fall: Having the confidence to get back on your board in deep water will alleviate any fear you might have about falling in. If you’re worried about getting on your board in deeper water, practice in waist-deep water to build your confidence.

 

  • While treading water next to your board, place your paddle on your board.
  • Grab your carry handle with one hand.
  • Grab the side of the board (or rail) farthest from your body with your other hand.
  • Kick your legs while pulling with both arms, and slide your body onto your board.

 

Pro Tip:    

  • Always wear a SUP leash to make sure you’re never more than a few feet away from your board. While we recommend that every SUP rider wear their leash, this bit of advice is especially important for first-time paddlers.
  • Always wear your Coast Guard-mandated personal flotation device. While the USCG does not require adults paddling in “surfing, swimming, or bathing areas” to wear a life jacket, begging paddlers should play it safe by wearing a SUP life jacket no matter where they paddle.
Written by William Lester