It seems these days everybody is an expert paddleboarder and has been boarding for their whole lifetime. But, what about the newbies? You know, the ones that have just brought a new board and want to learn without being shown up by the experts.
This week we’re taking it right back to when you’re just starting out on your paddleboard. When the sea seems like this big unknown thing and your paddleboard looks more like a floating piece of material rather than a SUP, waiting to bring you endless hours of entertainment. Or maybe you just want to learn a few basic tips before heading out on your new paddleboard.
Either way, we have the essential tips you need to be able to take your new paddleboard out with confidence and enjoy the peacefulness the comes with the watersports activity.
Read on to find out our top 10 tips to paddleboard as a beginner.
1. Practice on solid ground before trying on the water
The easiest way to learn the technique of how to paddleboard is to practice on solid ground first. That way, when you feel ready to hit the water, you’ll already have the technique nailed! Plus, you won’t run the risk of falling headfirst into the water the first time you attempt to stand up.
2. Adjust the paddle height
Adjusting the length of your paddle can make a huge difference to how easy you find paddling. Open the latch, pull the handle to the desired length (put your arm above your head, the handle should reach your wrist), then close the latch. You and your paddle should now be ready for some epic strokes.
3. Learn how to swim!
Even though paddleboarding may look relatively safe (which usually, it is) it doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its own risks. But, knowing how to swim beforehand will make it a whole lot safer for you. You’ll also be attached to a leash and wearing a PDF but knowing how to swim really does add that extra layer of protection.
4. Find a good spot to launch
When you’re first starting out, make it easy on yourself by launching from a sandy, shallow beach on a calm day! You want to make it as easy as possible for yourself from the get-go!
5. Start on your knees
It’s easier to get used to the feel of the board bobbing over the waves with your centre of balance low. Stay on your knees for a while when you first push out to make it easier to maintain your balance. If you are new to paddleboarding in general, stay on your knees for as long as you feel comfortable jumping up. This could even be your first few times out on it, whatever suits you!
6. Use a leash
We have mentioned it before but when paddleboarding, especially when you’re just starting out, it is essential to use a leash. Not only for your own safety but also so you don’t momentarily lose your board if a big wave comes (unlikely when you’re first starting out unless you opt for a spot with bigger waves or a current). However, even when you’re first starting out and a leash doesn’t appear necessary it is great to get into the habit of using one.
Your board becomes your life-saving device when you get tired, lost, or when you find yourself a little too far from shore, plus you could easily lose your board in windy conditions if you’re not attached to it.
7. Download as many SUP APPs as possible
There’s a SUP app for just about everything these days with some being more useful than others. There’s an app to log your SUP trips, one to check the tide times and one to monitor the river conditions. All of these are super useful if you don’t understand the winds and tides to ensure you enjoy the safest possible paddleboarding session.
Read all about which SUP apps we recommend ,here.
Or, if you do fancy learning about the tides for yourself, read all about those ,here.
8. Fall like a pro
It almost sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? But, if there is one thing you can guarantee will happen to you on your SUP, especially when you’re first starting out, it’s that you will fall off. So, if you do feel your legs going a bit wobbly beneath you then aim to fall like the pros do; flat and to the side of your board. This will avoid injury by missing your board and falling gracefully into the cushioned water (that’s the aim anyway).
9. Paddle with your core
You might think all the work comes from your arms when you paddle, but really, the work comes from your core! Engage your core muscles and your lower back to help you maintain your balance whilst your paddle along the water.
10. Look at the horizon
When you first start out paddleboarding, the temptation to look down at the board is strong – we know, we’ve been there. It makes you feel more secure somehow to see what you’re standing on and where your feet are positioned. However, to keep as stable as possible, it is best to keep your head up, back straight and your body weight over your toes whilst you look at the horizon. It might sound silly, to begin with, but with your head down watching your feet, you are likely to rock back on your heels and fall straight into the water! Plus, this way you get to see the beautiful view in front of you. Win-win!
We hope this collection of our top 10 paddleboarding tips has helped you to feel most confident when you go out on the water.
If you have any other tips leave them in the comments before! We’re always looking for new ones.