Learning how to stay balanced on an inflatable SUP can be quite challenging, especially if you are a beginner. Being able to stay up and keep standing relies on a lot of different factors. Below we have created 3 simple tips that will help you be able to balance on an inflatable SUP.
Tip 1: Make sure you have a suitable board for your body
Inflatable paddle boards come in all shapes and sizes. Some will work better for your body weight and height. The more you weigh and the taller you are, the bigger that your board should be. Wider paddle boards are easier to stand up on. If you are a beginner or struggling to learn how to stay standing up, then make sure you are using a paddle board that is specifically for beginners as these are usually built so that it is easier to stand up on and stay balanced. Then once you master how to stand up on that and your skills get more advance you will be able to use narrower boards, designed for more advanced abilities, which can also move faster than beginner boards.
If you aren’t a great swimmer, then make sure that you wear a life jacket and never go out paddle boarding on your own. Also always use an ankle leash, as the board can serve as a floatation device.
Tip 2: Learn the best way to stand up and how to hold your body when you have
To stand up you should begin by kneeling on your board for a while. Your knees should be placed on the centre of the board and be hip width apart. Place your paddle horizontally on the board in front of you but keep a grip on it as you are going to want to hold it as you stand up. Bring one of your knees forward, placing your foot where your knee once was. Slowly do the same for the other knee and gradually stand up. Don’t look down while you are standing up as this can cause a misbalance and could mean that you stand up very unstably or fall in. Don’t forget to bring your paddle with you when you are standing up as it will be a lot harder to get it once you are stood up and it is still all the way down on the board. It is most important to check that your feet are in the centre of the board and a hip-width apart so that your board is flat against the water, and you are more balanced.
Make sure that your knees are slightly bent once you stand up as this will make your body more stable and keep looking forward to keep you balanced. Try to avoid being hunched over or leaning to one side.
When you are ready to begin paddling, make sure you are doing slow and steady strokes along the board, so that it doesn’t make you lose your balance. If you do begin to lose your balance, then you are likely to fall into the water. Avoid getting close to the water's edge or anything hard that you could hit your head on or injure yourself if you did fall. After losing your balance, it is best to take a short break on the board, get your stature and balance right again while on our knees and try standing up again.
Tip 3: Try some balance training
Learning how to balance, whether that be on a SUP board or just in everyday life, does require some training. You might hear that some people are naturally good with their balance and although this might be true, to really become someone who is great at balancing, you need to practice it.
Balance training can help strengthen your body, which can in turn make it easier for your body to stay more stable in certain positions. Core exercises and practices such as Yoga and Pilates are great at helping your body feel more stable and learning how to balance. You can either choose to go to in-person classes or find virtual ones online on platforms such as YouTube.
If you don’t have time to go to full classes, then that is fine. Just 10 minutes a day can help improve your balance over time and help with balancing on a SUP board. Below are some simple balance training exercises you can do each day.
- Balance on one foot: This one really explains itself. Try and stand on one foot for at least 30 seconds. Increase the amount of time according to your improvement levels.
- Use a stability ball: A great balance training move is to sit on a stability or exercise ball with your feet placed on the floor and your back and shoulders are sat upright. Take it in turns between legs to lift one up off the floor and raise the opposite arm at the same time.
- Swing your legs: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Swing one of your legs back and forth at least 10 times without touching the floor. Be careful of your back when you do this. Engage your back and bend your knees if needed or your feel any tension in your back. Once you have started to see some improvement in your balance you can up the number of times you do this.
- One-legged deadlifts: Start by placing your feet hip-width apart. Begin to bend down to touch the floor with one of your hands, whilst at the same time lifting the opposite leg off the floor at a 45-degree angle.
Once you have improved your balance and are starting to find these moves easy you can always increase the number of reps you do or even add weights.
Learning to balance on a SUP board can be difficult but if you stick to the three tips, we have mentioned above then you will be able to get the hang of it in no time. Practice makes perfect, so be sure to stick to it and ensure that you are using the right SUP board for you!
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