SUP (stand-up paddle boarding) is a fun and peaceful activity that allows you to explore the waters without having to swim. This activity, which is essentially a subset of surfing, involves standing on what appears to be a standard surfboard and propelling yourself through the water using a paddle. The rise in popularity of paddle boarding, has brought about sports like SUP Yoga and SUP Racing, which are now some of the fastest growing water sports around the world.
Paddling is a fantastic experience! However, if you’re a newbie to stand-up paddling, there’s a few things to consider before venturing out into the water. If you’d like to have an exciting SUP adventure, below are 5 things you should look out for before deciding to go paddling.
Ensure that your Board and Paddle are in top-notch Condition
Ensure you set your board to the recommended PSI level. The best inflatable stand-up paddle board PSI level is usually around 15. A craft that is under-inflated is an unstable craft! The more solid and stable your board is, the more enjoyable the adventure will be. But don’t over inflate, as you don’t want to damage the board.
Next, extend your paddle to a longer length before getting on the water (it’s difficult to do while you’re already standing!). Generally, you’ll want your paddle to be atleast 6 inches taller than you, as this ensures that it glides smoothly through the water when you are standing on the board. Getting the appropriate height the first time can be quite tricky. So, it’s important that you learn and get acquainted with the mechanism so that you can easily modify it on the water whenever you feel the need to.
Always Have a Leash
When participating in any type of water sport, one of the most important considerations is safety. When paddle boarding, don’t forget to use a leash to keep yourself attached to your board. When you’re exhausted, can’t find your way, or a very far from land, your board becomes your lifesaver—and if you’re not connected to it, it can easily get lost in the wind, or under severe conditions.
Curled leashes for SUP: When under tension, this leash is engineered to stretch out (ensuring your board is at a safe distance if you fall off) and to coil up finely when paddling. This keeps the leash from dragging through the water. Keep in mind that you will need a high-quality board leash that will not break but can be instantly detached. This is so that if your board is dragged under by a strong current or if you get intertwined in underwater plants, you can immediately release yourself.
You can always reach out to us at SurfStar - We have plenty of paddle boarding gear you will need, and we also can give recommendations as well.
Examine The Wind Direction
A body acts like a sail once you’re standing on your SUP, which means strong gusts will certainly drift you and your board in unwanted directions. This makes it much more difficult to paddle and propel yourself to your desired destination, especially if you are a beginner. As a result, one of the most crucial paddle boarding advice we can give, is for you to always pay attention to the wind.
Wind has the potential to make or ruin any SUP session, and it is sometimes underestimated. When paddle boarding, there are two factors to consider: the direction, and severity of the wind. Paddling in any direction is simple in light winds, but as the wind strength increases, it becomes more difficult to paddle into and around the wind, making it more difficult to maintain your route. Most people paddle in wind-sheltered areas, however if the wind is blowing from the shore out to sea, the water will be protected up close, but it will be stronger as you travel further out. It can be therefore, difficult to return to land when there is a strong offshore wind.
So, it is of crucial importance to check out the water conditions and weather report for the day before you go out on the water. The ideal situation is to master the fundamentals and practice controllability without being sidetracked by waves or heavy gusts. If the speed of the wind becomes too much for you to handle, lie down on your board (belly face down with your paddle tucked under your body) and paddle with your arms, just like you would on a regular surfboard.
Learn How To Paddle Properly (plan with an end in mind and know your directions)
One of the most common challenges faced by paddle boarders is holding the paddle incorrectly. If you’re new to stand up paddle boarding and haven’t received any formal training, your impulse could be to hold it in such a way that the curved part of the paddle is facing you, allowing you to “scoop” yourself forward.
As it turns out, this isn’t the best technique to wield your paddle because it might produce unnecessary splashing and downward force to cause you to lose your balance. Turn it around so the bent part is facing away from you, now that’s the right way! Also, keep your hand positioning in mind. Placing your hands too close together might reduce the force of your strokes and perhaps cause you to tire out quicker.
Another common error you have to look out for is surfing with your SUP facing the wrong way. Many beginners make this mistake because the front end of the board is not always recognizable, especially for newbies.
So, how do you figure out which end goes first? Well, all you have to do, is look for the fins and ensure that they are in the back, rather than the front. Then paddle towards your desired destination. Yes, it’s that simple.
Only Ride Waves That You are Capable of Handling (when in the ocean)
You’re sure to face some hard waves when it comes to stand up paddle boarding in the ocean. However, it’s not a good idea to take on large waves, especially if you’re just getting started. Save the monster waves for later. And in the meantime, practice on smaller, smoother waves until you have more experience and a better knowledge of the water’s movement and power.
We hope that these paddle boarding tips will help you improve your paddling skills and allow you to have a fun and safe time on the water. If you have any questions or esquires, feel free to reach out to us. We would love to hear from you!