HOW TO PADDLE BOARD FOR BEGINNERS
“How to Stand Up paddle board”
This blog is for the complete novice stand up paddle boarder.
For people that never used a Paddle board before and to explain the essentials
I mainly want to focus on teaching the key points for the first-timers. This is the basic level skill to ensure that you can Stand Up Paddle Board safely and develop core technical skills.
Stand Up paddle boarding is a unique water sport that can be done by anyone, no matter what your fitness level is.
Firstly, excluding the paddle board and paddle. What other safety equipment do I need when I go out on the water for the first time?
- Sort of communication device ( mobile in a waterproof pouch or comm radio)
- Safety Knife
- Buoyancy Aid
- Waterproof bag for essentials
All of the above items can be found here: Paddle board accessories
Which condition is it safe to go out paddle boarding?�
Before you go to the beach, lake or river, always check the wind conditions for that location. ulThis you can find on several websites. The ones that I can recommend are� windguru� and� windfinder.
Because you s go supping when there is an� onshore� wind direction. What This means is when you’re standing on the beach looking at the water, you can feel the wind blowing into your face. The reason for this is that you will always be able to get back to shore. I strongly recommend never to go out in a strong offshore wind.
The minimum water dept needs to be at least over the knees deep. When you fall off your board, you need to have deep enough water to not hit the bottom with a straight arm. As you can imagine what could happen.
And the blade of the paddle needs to be completely submerged into the water during your paddle strokes. This gives you the optimum push forward, and if you hit a rocky bottom with the blade of your paddle, you will damage it.
All paddle boards will have a long fin or three fins at the tail (back) of the paddle board. This is to give you a steady straight direction in the water when paddling. These fins are 30cm long, and the last thing you want is to break the fin off when you stand on your board. You will notice when your fin is touching the bottom, as your board will not move at all!
The water surface needs to be relatively flat when you are a novice paddle boarder. This will make your balance on the board much more comfortable, and you can focus more on your paddle technique and looking forward instead of wobbling left and right. The chop height should not be higher than ankle height
Tide and current
This is a difficult one. As a novice, you maybe don’t know much about tides and currents. You just want to go out and go supping. But this will make your session out much more relaxed and safer when you know a little bit about tides and currents. The golden rule is to go out when the current is under 2 knots or with no tide or current at all. This is called� Slack water,� this is a short period in the tide when the water is completely unstressed, and there is no movement either way in the tidal stream, and which occurs before the direction of the tidal flow reverses.
Check the tides at your location on� tide times uk
Distance from shoreline
Common sense applies here, and you want to have a maximum distance from the closest shore of 30 to 50m. This will help you to get back safely when the wind suddenly turns offshore, or the tide is stronger than expected.
What equipment should I use as a beginner stand up paddle boarder?
I am starting with the choice of your board type.
Inflatable Paddle Boards we recommend highly due to the soft deck. When you fall over and would hit the board on your way down, landing on an inflatable SUP is unlikely to cause an injury.
The size of a beginner SUP between 10-12ft long and 30-34 inches wide for adults are the most stable.
Always wear a leash around your ankle when you go out. These are typically sold with a stand paddle board package.
On the water, It is mandatory to wear a buoyancy aid. This will not only be a lifesaver when you are in need but also is compulsory according to the harbour master or water police. You will be fined if you are not wearing one.
And last but not least, suitable clothing for total immersion in water like a wetsuit. Boots and gloves when out paddle boarding in the colder season.
So your pre-check before Paddle boarding will look like:
- Gear fit for purpose
- Paddle Board
- Buoyancy aid / Life vest
- Waterwear (Wetsuit)
- Check surface conditions
- Check the weather forecast
Your board and paddle�
With many paddle board brands and shops offering different products and deals, choosing the right inflatable SUP board can be overwhelming. But there is one thing you can be sure off. The higher quality boards have a built-in drop stitch.
This is the material that makes up the inside of an inflatable SUP. Thousands of tiny threads running throughout the inside of the board. High quality and dense drop stitch results in a more solid structure, meaning less flex when paddling. Cheap SUP boards will have less drop stitch and will not support your weight properly. You will spot cheap SUPS easily out on the water as they bend like a banana!
The Paddle boards parts are named: nose, tail, rails, deck, hull, handle and fin
The paddle is either an Alloy or Carbon Nylon depending on the package and brand you choose. You also have upgrade options to a Fibreglass or carbon paddle, which will get you a lighter-weight paddle that creates more power per stroke. I do suggest upgrading paddles to those who are looking at adventure paddle boarding, SUP surfing, or those who know they are going to be using there paddle board often
The alloy paddle is ok for family paddleboarding but is not built for anything where you are going to be using a lot of power like going out long-distance or even racing.
The paddle parts are named: front and back, face, shaft, height, blade fae, blade kick, t-grip
How to get on your board for the first time?
When you have inflated your board ( optimum air pressure should be written above the inflation valve), you are most likely to have to carry your board to the water. The best way to do this, grab the handle in the middle of the board. Put the board with the bottom facing you, against your hip and hold the paddle into the other hand.
Put your leash around your ankle on /off the water’s edge. Which ankle this is doesn’t matter in the beginning.
When you’re over knee-deep, climb on the middle of the board (where your carry handle is), lying face down. Tuck the paddle under your chest with the handle facing forward. You can paddle now like a surfer using your hands. This can also be a perfect self-rescue method when you have lost your paddle. We call this the� prone paddle
When you get the hang of this, you can try to get up onto your knees and use your paddle.
Position yourself over the handle of the board for balance. With one hand you hold the paddle as close as possible to the blade the other hand, halfway up the shaft. So not on the top T-grip handle. Keeping your knuckles facing forward.
Push the blade fully submerged vertically into the water next to your rail and push backwards.
When you paddle on the left, you will move ever so slightly right. When you want to continue to go straight, move the paddle over to the other side.
Now for the moment why it is called Stand Up Paddle Boarding. You want to stand up on both feet!
Firstly your positioning on the board. You kneel over the handle area then on all fours. Place your paddle across the board. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart. Slowly try to stand up using the paddle as a third leg. On your way up always make sure you are NOT looking down. Keep your chin up in the whole movement. Once stood up, keep your eyes on the horizon with your torso upright and ears over shoulders.
When you are fully standing, hold with one hand the T-grip on the top of the paddle and the other hand halfway down. Start paddling immediately, as this will give you balance.
Like speed on a bicycle helps with balance. You will get more balanced when you are moving. Your stance should be with soft knees. Tighten the inside of your legs like you would when riding a horse, suck the belly in to tighten your core.
If you feel a wobble coming up, counterbalance by keeping the paddle with straight arms in front of your body, this will help you keep your balance on the paddle board.
AND NEVER LOOK DOWN.
How to fall safely?
You will most likely fall off the board. As a beginner and even advanced suppers will do many times. The general rule is -NO DIVING- just flat pancake away from your board while holding the paddle above your head. To get back on the board in deep water, you go to the side of the board where the grab handle is on the board. Reach with one arm as far as you can to the other side of the board and pull yourself on in a prone position.
How to turn?�
To make your first basic turn, PUSH the water with the paddle diagonally from the nose of the board to the middle. We call this a push turn.
I hope that this post will give you the confidence to give Stand Up paddle boarding a go.
Stand up paddle boarding is a fun activity anyone can do on oceans, lakes, rivers and bays. It’s a great full body core workout and a way to experience the beauty of the outdoors. Best of all, it’s perfect for people of all ages, body types and skill levels. There is even room to paddle with a dog, friend, child or significant other!
Paddleboarding gives you the freedom to explore the beautiful waters surrounding our planet.
In my next blog, I will cover the essentials for more advanced suppers.
- People that are competent and like to explore
- Surfing and racing Stand Up Paddle boarding
Thanks for reading
Leave a comment