While it looks easy enough, it’s important that you know how to properly stand on, paddle and turn your stand up paddle board. Dialing in your SUP paddle technique will ensure the best experience possible on the water. The right skills will allow you to be efficient, safe and to soak up all that paddle boarding has to offer. Remember that it takes time to create new habits with the body, so whether you’re a complete newbie or a seasoned paddler, keep practicing proper technique until it becomes second nature. You don’t want to slip into bad habits that could lead to danger or cause you to tire quicker.
It’s important to maintain proper balance while on the board to maximize your movements and efficiency. You must maintain balance and remain upright on the board. So always remember to:
Parallel Stance - Great for beginner paddle boarders and long hauls in flat water
Surf Stance – Great for surfing and quick pivot turns.
Kung Fu Stance – Great for Whitewater paddle boarding and choppy conditions.
The Kung Fu or Aikido stance offers you the best of both worlds by providing 360 degrees of stability and control.
Now that you have the whole balance thing down, it’s time to put your paddle to good use. Stand up paddling is loads more fun when you know how to paddle properly and efficiently. Let’s get started.
There are three basic SUP turns…
Stand up paddleboarding (check out our selection of SUP here) has become the fastest growing water sport in the world. It’s accessible to most, relatively safe, a good upper body workout, and of course, loads of fun. You can SUP on lakes of all sizes, oceans, rivers and reservoirs. With the rise in popularity, many paddleboarders often forget that being on a paddleboard requires the same safety precautions and vigilance as any other activity in the water. There is never a better time to brush up on some paddleboarding tips and most importantly, water safety practices. First off, every paddle boarder should know that any SUP over 10 feet in length is considered a vessel when used “beyond the narrow limits of a swimming, surfing or bathing area.” That means that a paddle board must follow the same rules as any other size boat, from cruise ship to sail boat, in open waters. Paddle boarders must be prepared, alert and follow the same precautions as all other vessels. The first rule is that all stand up paddle boarders must wear a have a life jacket on board. Check out these other important safety guidelines to practice while paddle boarding. Click here for more information about Stand Up Paddleboard regulations.
Paddle boarding is a fast-growing sport that is a fun, easy way to enjoy a day on the water. It requires minimal equipment and waves are optional. Paddle boards are very functional and can be versatile for sailing or surfing with the right equipment and setup. It may be a bit daunting for a first time buyer to get into this sport. This is because there are many aspects that play a role in making the best buy. And let’s face it, Paddle boards are not cheap, so buying the wrong one could be a disaster. In order to help take away a little stress, below is a list of some helpful information on tech and specs, board types, and techniques for first time riders.
Tech and Specs:
The bottom of the board is going to be a very important aspect when looking for a SUP board. Flat-bottom boards are very stable and easy to balance on. However, if you are planning on racing or touring, board bottoms also come with different angles, concaves and contours to suit your needs.
Deck Pad: This refers to the soft surface that can be made of foam, rubber, etc. and is meant for traction, foot control and general comfort while riding.
Fins: These are used for control and maintaining a straight line on the water. Many boards will come with a single fin of a specified length but some may come with double, triple or integrated molded fins.
Handles: A useful tool for most paddle boards is the built in handle, which makes transport much easier. Depending on the board type, these can be located in the nose, tail, or along the rails of the board.
Rails: This refers to the sides or edges of the board. The general rule for rails is the fuller and boxier the rails are, the harder it will be to turn but the more stability you will have.
Rocker: When you think of rocker, think of a rocking chair. This will make more of a difference in surfing rather than flat-water paddling.
Tail: The tail is the rear of the SUP. This will be important when considering how you plan on turning. With a more angular tail, turns will be more square and angular, whereas rounder tails make for more smooth turns.
Paddle: Paddles for SUPs are made with an angle or “elbow” in the shaft for efficiency and performance. A paddle should be roughly 6” to 10” taller than you (this is broad because it will depend on your preference).
Deck Box: Some boards are equipped with a deck box which makes them compatible with sailing. This can be a great option for those windy days and adds more versatility to your board.
D-Rings (Front/Rear): can be used to tie down a board or also used in conjunction with bungie cords to stow gear securely on your board.
Leashes: A leash is a great option for those who may have balance issues or just want that security of knowing their board won’t float away in the event of a fall.
All arounders: These boards are going to be majorly for close to shore paddling and general recreational purposes. They will be longer and thicker and best suited for those looking for an all around board from surfing to fitness for any type of rider.
Hybrids: Hybrid boards integrate features from a kayak into the paddleboard. Most include storage and hatches to hold gear and other necessary items. Because hybrids incorporate features from both the SUP and kayak, they may come equipped with seat backs, heel rests, rod holders or other accessories.
Racing and Touring Boards: This category is more for speed and efficiency, with longer, sleeker designs and a pointed nose (bow). They will generally be less stable but some are still made to be versatile for recreational or cruising purposes.
Techniques: Listed are a few things to think about when using your new paddle board.
Mounting your board: Stand on one side in the center of the board and hold board by the rails. You can then lift yourself onto the board in a kneeling position. Once you’ve gotten your balance and a feel for it, you can stand up. If your tip or tail are digging into the water, you should adjust accordingly to make sure your board is level for optimum riding. If you have a paddle, the only difference is that you should set that across the paddle board and hold onto it while getting onto the board to prevent the paddle from going overboard.
Stance: In order to maintain the best balance, you should stand with your feet parallel and hip-width apart. Move your weight with your hips instead of your head and try not to stare at your feet and instead focus on the beautiful view around you.
Strokes: This may seem unnecessary but it is important to know how to paddle in order to get where you want to go. Beginners will want to keep their strokes shorter and close to the side of the board until you get more comfortable. A helpful guide to maintain a straight line is to have about 3-4 strokes on one side then switch to the other side, etc. Also, make sure to switch hand positions when switching sides.
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