Last Updated on 26 January 2022 by Sarah Dunes
Paddleboarding is fun, but getting started may be challenging at first. The basics include learning how to fall properly, balance on the board, and much more that we will explain in this guide.
This guide is updated periodically as and when best practice changes.
Do you need some basic paddle boarding tips? Read on and find out our top 9 tips on how to paddle board:
- How to get back on a paddle board after falling
- How to prepare for paddle boarding
- What to wear paddle boarding
- What to bring paddle boarding
- Paddle boarding tricks
- Where to learn to paddle board
- Can you paddle board anywhere
- How to sup in the ocean
- How to stand when paddle boarding
1. How to stand when paddle boarding
You should practice standing and balancing on your paddleboard before going into open water. Here is the technique on how to do just that:
- Stand with your paddleboard, in around knee-deep water.
- Hold on to the edges and get on it, starting in a kneeling position.
- Put your hands on either side of the board to keep it stable as you move one leg at a time to stand. Don’t rush. Maintain your balance by raising your chest first before extending your legs.
- Once you’re standing up, keep your balance by keeping your feet parallel, with toes pointed forward and knees slightly bent. Keep your back straight and control your weight by moving your hips.
- Keep your gaze forward and try not to look down at your feet too much, as it may disrupt your balance.
2. How to get back on a paddle board after falling
When paddle boarding, falling is something you cannot avoid. The board will also likely become more unstable when you’re in open water, so in addition to focusing on not falling off the board, you need to learn how to fall properly. Remember, falling the correct way can help you prevent injuries or harm so it is crucial to learn this first.
When you’re about to fall off, you should:
- Avoid falling on the board because you are more likely to get injured when you hit it. Instead, aim for the side and fall into the water.
- Once you fall into the water, hold on to your paddle like a floatie. It’s important to recover your board if it gets separated from you. If it floats away from you, swim to it as soon as you can and retrieve it.
Once you got your board back, take note of these points for getting back on:
- Situate yourself next to the board, close to the center
- Hold on to the handle near the center of your board
- Keep on kicking your legs and pull the board towards you, so you can slide yourself over and on the board.
3. How to prepare for paddle boarding
If it’s your first time going paddleboarding, you need to make sure you’re prepared even before the trip itself. These are some items and must-have equipment to take on your paddleboarding trip. But most importantly, you need to plan ahead to make sure you don’t get in a tight spot. Make these necessary preparations to guarantee a safe and fun trip:
- Select a venue with a small body of water that is calm and free of possible obstacles such as boats, buoys, and so on.
- For starters, a calm beach may be the best place for beginners because it allows you to wade into the water and launch your stand up paddleboard.
- Make sure to check on the weather. Schedule your trip when it’s sunny, with little or no wind.
- Plan your route and try to paddle into the wind on your way out of the water. The wind can help give a push so you don’t get tired on your way out.
- Make sure to go with a friend, or even a group, so you can watch out for each other.
- On your first paddleboard trip, tray to paddle for a maximum of one hour.
It will also serve you well to make sure you’re updated on any local news about the area you’ll be paddleboarding at. There may be updates regarding the locale that should be considered before scheduling your trip. If you’ll be going to a managed facility, get in touch with them first a few days before the trip.
4. What to wear paddle boarding
Like any water sport, you should wear the right garments according to weather conditions and other environmental factors. The most important garment is your life jacket. Here is a helpful guide on how to choose the right life jacket.
In addition to that, there are other watersports attire to take note of. We have a more detailed discussion on climate appropriate paddleboarding gear here. However, here is a quick list for the basic apparel for your next paddle boarding trip:
5. What to bring paddle boarding
We have a detailed guide on what you should bring on your next paddleboarding trip, but here is a quick list to help you out:
- Personal flotation device (PFD)
- SUP Leash
- Hand Pump
- Head Lamp
- Safety Whistle and First Aid Kit
- Water Bottle
- Warm clothing
6. Paddle boarding strokes
Once you get the hang of balancing and falling, you should learn the strokes to help you maneuver your board properly. Here are some basic strokes you should learn:
The Forward Stroke brings the board forward through the water. You do this by reaching out the paddle around two feet forward, then dipping the whole blade below the surface and moving it back through the water towards your ankle as it moves out of the water. While you’re doing this stroke, it’s important to keep the arms straight and twist the torso as you paddle. You’ll need to alternate from each side to go in a straight path. A good rule of thumb is the path will be straighter if you keep your paddle more vertical.
The Reverse Stroke brings the board backward, and is also used for stopping, slowing down, or turning. It’s basically opposite of the forward stroke, but instead, you reach your paddle back behind you. You dip the blade into the water and do a straight stroke forward, keeping your arms straight and twisting your torso as you pull the paddle to your front. The board may turn depending on which side you’re paddling.
The Sweep Stroke is for turning. To do this, you dip the paddle into the water and sweep it away from you, creating an arc-like motion from the tip of the board to the back end. Doing it on the right will make you turn left and vice versa. Make sure to rotate your torso, using your legs and hips for leverage.
7. Where to learn to paddle board
There are many facilities that allow you to learn how to paddleboard in a controlled space. There are also many schools that offer basic to complex training to make sure you know all of the important safety guidelines no matter what level you are on. Aside from these facilities, you may find paddleboarding instructors in leisure activity centers that offer the activity. They can teach you and stay with you so you wouldn’t feel worried about any mishaps. Simply take note that you can learn paddle boarding without a professional instructor but it is preferred to make sure you are safe and instructed well enough to prevent any injuries.
8. Can you paddle board anywhere
You can paddle board anywhere with water deep enough to do so. You can even paddleboard in a pool, but part of its charm is in seeing the sights. So, a calm lake or sea may be preferred especially if you’re in it for the adventure. What’s most important is deciding when to paddleboard. Take the season and climate into consideration when planning a trip.
9. How to sup in the ocean
Paddle boarding on the ocean may be more challenging because of the waves that make your board unstable. The most important tips are wearing a life jacket, emergency whistle, and keeping your board attached with an SUP leash. This will make your board serve as an additional floatation device and it minimizes the chances of losing your board. Entry and launch is the same as any body of water but it’s important to pick a clear spot to enter. There may be other swimmers there so stay away from them so you don’t accidentally hurt or injure them.
Another important tip about paddleboarding in the ocean is allow your board to ride the wave instead of going against it. You can also start by paddling while kneeling, and move to standing up once you have gotten the hang of it. Although, make sure to take your time and don’t force yourself too much. You can always schedule another paddle boarding trip to practice more.