Have you ever wanted to learn how to paddle board? There’s no need to look any farther; today is your lucky day. You might be wondering, what exactly is stand up paddle boarding. SUP (stand up paddle boarding) is a type of watersport that involves standing on a board and paddling through the water. Yes, it’s that simple. Paddle boarding is similar to surfing, except instead of waiting for a wave to come along, paddle boarders use their paddles to boost themselves ahead anytime they choose.
Stand-up paddle boarding is a fun recreational activity, and it can also serve as a full-body workout. And, because you’re standing at full height on your board, you get a unique perspective on what’s going on beneath the water and a breathtaking view of the horizon.
It is however, important to know how to paddleboard and what gear to bring before going out on the water for the first time. Whether you’re renting a SUP and paddle, have recently purchased your own gear, or have paddled a few times, this knowledge could help you improve your future paddle boarding experiences. So, without further delay, let’s get right to it!
Here are 6 tips on how to paddle on an inflatable SUP for the very first time.
- Gear Up
The good news is that stand up paddle boarding just requires a few essential items.
An inflatable SUP and a Paddle
Well, it’s not stand-up paddle boarding without an inflatable SUP now is it? As a beginner, you may want to try out a friend’s board, or borrow equipment for your first or second time out. After that, if you discover that you enjoy SUPing and want to do more of it, you might want to consider purchasing your very own inflatable board. The weight and ability of the paddler, as well as the intended use and local conditions all influence board selection. But with an inflatable SUP, you are introduced to a whole new world of unlimited fun.
SUP paddles have a tear-drop-shaped blade that bends forward for the optimum paddling performance, similar to a stretched-out canoe paddle.
PFD (Personal Flotation Device): Because stand up paddle boards are classified as boats by the US Coast Guard, you must wear a PFD when paddling outside of a surf or swimming area. Adults are not required to wear a PFD, but children are. Check your state’s regulations to see if there are any age restrictions.
- Get a Leash
A leash tethers your SUP to you, keeping it close by, just incase you fall off. And it is usually sold separately. Being linked to your SUP, which is a huge flotation device, can be crucial for your safety. There are leashes made expressly for surf, flatwater, and rivers; so be sure you get the one that's right for you. And at SurfStar, we include all necessary accessories, ensuring that you have everything you need.
Now that you’re all geared up, it’s time to get to paddling!
- Understand your Paddle and how to use it
When paddling, it all comes down to your grip, and hand movement. SUP paddles have an angle to them, and also a single flat side, as you’ve probably seen. Most people are surprised to learn that when paddling an inflatable SUP, you paddle with the flat side rather than the other. This helps your strokes to be more powerful and precise (as there will be water splashes or downward force if you paddle the other way). The optimal posture to paddle efficiently is to place one hand on the top of the handle and the other about halfway down the shaft while in the water.
- Focus on the horizon
It is natural as a beginner to look down at the board, paying attention to your feet and the water, and hoping you don’t fall off! As a fact, it’s better to stand up straight, and place your entire body’s weight over your toes for the optimum stability. It may sound foolish, but if you keep your head down and watch your toes, you’re more likely to lose balance, and fall off your board.
- Keep Practicing
You may have seen that coming. Well, yes, here it is. It takes practice and consistency to get really good at anything, and when it comes to paddle boarding, practice is inevitable. You ought to have a good foundation for developing before you commence your SUP journey (which can be a lot of fun), and this can only be achieved through frequent practice. It is also good to learn about caring for your board, which includes inflating it to the appropriate psi, not exposing it to direct sunlight for long durations, and so on.
Also, here are some easy ideas for organizing your SUP adventure before you grab your board and head to the ocean for the first time:
- Find a small, quiet body of water, such as a lake or pond, that isn’t cluttered with boats.
- As a beginner, it’s always best to go out on a sunny day, when there’s little to no wind.
- Look for a sandy beach or another location where you can easily paddle into the ocean. This way, you can launch your SUP effortlessly.
- Get a SUPing buddy: This way, you have someone to cheer you on, and you can both look out for each other.
- Fall, and Get Back Up!
Even the greatest paddlers in the world have fallen into the water at some point. So don’t feel terrible if you fall in a few times during your SUP adventure. It’s equally crucial to know how to get back on our feet when we fall. After all, you’re floating in a vast body of water on a wet moving item. Yes, it can be quite challenging.
The lesson here, however, is to keep going!
Bonus Tip: we’re always here to help!
We are more than happy to assist you if you require additional paddle boarding tips, or would you like to purchase your very own inflatable SUP? Well, we’ve got just what you need. Please reach out to us at SurfStar today, we’ll love to help.