Are you thinking about buying your first paddle board? Or maybe you have already bought one and now what? Having the right information to take you on your first SUP adventure can be the difference between looking like a paddle pro or spending most of your time in the water, and nobody wants to be that person. Have a read of our guide below to understand the basics to get you ready for your first adventure.
Choosing The Right SUP For You
Choosing the right SUP for your size, weight and ability is super important when it comes to starting out paddle boarding. It’s that important that we have written a whole blog post on it, so if you are still trying to decide which stand up paddle board to purchase, have a read of our guide
But, as a simple guide for all of you looking to buy your first paddle board, an all rounder is great, as long as you’re not planning on taking it up as an Olympic sport. These versatile boards have a length which ranges between 3-3.8 meters. Its narrow tail makes it easy to manoeuvre, while its wider width makes it easy to paddle. The ideal all rounder.
To work out which size paddle board is right for you, a great calculation to use is:
A SUP’s length X width X thickness will equal its volume.
Basic Paddle Board Equipment
Once you’ve chosen the type of paddle board you want, you’ll also need a few pieces of paddle board equipment to make your time on your board a lot easier and safer. Some bits we recommend are a paddle (obviously), leash, board bag, and personal flotation device (PFD).
Length: Getting the right size paddle is key to paddling with ease and efficiency, especially when you’re first starting out. To gage what size paddle you will need, generally the rule is that the paddle used with your paddle board should always be 6 to 10 inches taller than you are.
Material: The materials used to construct a SUP paddle play a role in determining the weight and stiffness of the paddle. Paddles for SUP’s come in a variety of different materials including: plastic, aluminium, wood and carbon fibre and nylon. Generally, a lightweight paddle will make it easier and enable you to paddle for longer distances and time periods.
Blade Size, Shape and Offset: The size, shape and offset of the paddle blade will determine how the blade moves through the water. You’ll choose a blade based on the type of paddling you do, your body type and personal preference. Generally, the larger you are, the bigger you’ll want your blade to be.
A SUP leash keeps your paddle board attached to you with a velcro strap around your ankle or calf (depending on where feels comfortable). A leash will help you stay connected to your board, allow you to get back onto your board comfortably and avoid losing your board, which could result in you injuring other boarders.
You’ve just bought an awesome new paddle board, don’t let it get scrapped and scuffed. Most damages happen outside of the water, so a bag board will protect your new SUP from any of these. Plus, it makes it easier to carry.
Personal Flotation Device
Having a PFD, especially when you are just starting out can be life saving (literally). Ensure you choose one right for your weight and one that won’t get in the way whilst you are boarding – it should help you not hinder you!
How To Stand Up On A SUP
When you are just starting out paddle boarding always begin in calm, still water with a wide board. The board should feel comfortable and stable when standing up. Start in a kneeling position and try a few strokes on each side. Slowly, stand up with one foot at a time and try to stay in the middle of the board with your feet about shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent, this should help with your balance.
When you’re new to paddle boarding it can be tempting to just dig your paddle into the water and hope for the best, but learning the correct way to paddle can save you a lot of time and embarrassment (if you embarrass easily that is, if you do just try and style it out, it might catch on).
Start your stroke a little away from the rail, angle the paddle inward toward the rail and drag your blade towards your feet with vertical deep strokes. Take a few strokes on each side to ensure you’re not going round in circles – unless this is your aim…
But most importantly, have fun! Be prepared to get wet, to fall off and to make an absolute idiot of yourself, unless you’re really good, which if that’s the case, we take full credit for and you can tell all of your friends how Saltie Sports made you the SUP’er you are today… just kidding, sort of.