With the beautiful summer weather finally upon us (or at the very least, with wonderful weather only 6 months away - for all our Winter readers) it is high time that you embraced the sport/pastime/activity that is paddleboarding. Having experienced a surge in popularity and uptake, one that we don’t expect to start slowing anytime soon, paddleboarding is most definitely here to stay. So, for all of you budding or prospective paddleboarders out there, this blog is for you - read on to learn about some basic techniques for beginners!
Get The Right Gear
The best way to start any paddleboarding blog, and indeed any adventure that is itself SUP (stand up paddleboarding) focused would be to make sure that you have got the right gear. If you are a complete newcomer to the sport then getting everything you need could not be simpler. We have a range of different “all in one”/”all that you need packages” that are perfect to get you straight out on the water without having to compile and purchase all the various pieces of kit that you need! Here are a few of our favourites from our store:
- Red Paddle Co 10'6 Ride MSL Inflatable SUP 2019 Package - the single most popular inflatable SUP on the market today, and our best seller for good reason!
- Red Paddle 13'2 Voyager Inflatable Sup Package 2019 - a huge package designed for exploration, speed and balance!
- Hot Surf 69 Monte Carlo 11ft Inflatable Sup Package 2019 - this is ideal for all you beginners out there - consisting of a high quality pump, board and bag. Pick this up and head down to the water!
The Basic Techniques
So you have got the right gear. Where are you heading? Read our blog for tips! The next step? Learn some basic techniques! There is of course a great many techniques associated with paddleboarding and before you head out on the water we recommend that you read as much as you can, and if you have an experienced SUPer friend or relative - bring them along for guidance and/or assistance. As for the basic techniques, we have split them up into four distinct categories for you, as follows:
1) Standing Up On Your Paddleboard:
Naturally, the first step to mastering the art of paddleboarding will start with standing on the board itself! We recommend that you find a shallow body of water (keeping the fins/bottom of the board a safe distance from the sea/lake/river floor), no deeper than hip height. Once aside your board, grip it firmly, left hand on the left edge and right hand on the right edge, easing yourself up and onto the board, into a kneeling position. Get into the centre of the board (easily identified from the carry handle, or otherwise marked). Without moving your hands from their previous position extend upwards whilst placing each foot on the board in the space that your knees had previously been. From there, straighten up your chest, and then extend your legs, and voila! You will now be standing up on your paddleboard for the very first time. Congratulations.
2) Staying Up And Keeping Your Balance:
So you’ve now gotten yourself stood up, the next step is to master the art of staying stood up! It is a lot harder than it sounds but with a little practice will soon become second nature. Generally speaking, keeping balance can be a process of trial and error, and the speed at which you master this will depend on the board you are using, which body of water you are currently on (a sea with waves, a calm river etc) and upon your own innate balancing ability! However, there are a few things you can do to give yourself a helping hand. Stand with your feet slightly narrower than shoulder width apart, and in the centre of the board both in terms of the width of the board and its length. Angle your toes so that are facing the front point of the board, and keep a slight bend in the knees with a back that is nice and straight (not arched). Make sure you are keeping your shoulders in a relaxed position, and should you need to reposition or move a portion of your weight do so by moving the hips, not the feet! Keep those eyes on the distance, and try as hard as you can not to look at your feet because if you do your head will of course lean forward, which will in turn throw you off balance!
3) Holding Your Paddle Correctly
Holding your paddle in the correct fashion is vital to the whole SUP operation, and is quite easy to get wrong in the early stages of your paddleboarding journey so do not worry, many people have done and will make the same mistakes as yourself (if you are currently doing this or started off holding the paddle incorrectly). You need to make certain that the tip of the paddle is always operating away from yourself and forwards, adjacent to the front tip of your SUP. If you, for example, are using the paddle on the right hand side, then make sure that your left hand is always on the end (the T) with your other hand 1.5 to 2 feet away and gripping the shaft with a firm (but not too tight) grip. If you are going to be using the paddle on the left hand side, then all you need to do is reverse the above instructions.
4) Don’t Be Afraid Of Falling
There are techniques associated with this point but it is also more a general mindset when it comes to starting to learn how to paddleboard. The most experienced SUPers in the world will still fall off their board at some point, so do not worry about falling, and if swimming is not your strongest asset then get yourself a life jacket to avoid the stress or worry of falling off your board. If you feel yourself about to fall always try to aim to go off the side and into the water, rather than hitting your board as doing so may increase your risk of sustaining an injury, bruise or scrape. Try as hard as you can to also keep a hold of your paddle as it can sometimes fly off in a random direction during a fall. If you do lose a grip of your paddle then get onto your board first and hand-paddle yourself over to the paddle. Getting back onto your paddle once you have fallen off is easy and simple. All you need to do is get a good firm grasp onto the carry handle, get into a horizontal position in the water with your legs behind you, kick, and pull yourself onto the board whilst repeating the instructions regarding standing as outlined in point 1.
We sincerely hope that you have found the information enclosed within this guide both useful and informative - and that it can assist you in getting your first foray into the exciting world of paddleboarding underway and off to a positive start! For all things paddleboarding, have a browse of our detailed and varied paddleboarding product range. To talk to us about a particular product or order, do not hesitate to get in touch with us via our contact us page.