Do you love being by or in the water? How about being on the water? Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) is a fun way to explore rivers, lakes, bays, and even oceans. What’s more, it’s easy to get started. Here is what you need to know.
Is Stand Up Paddleboarding Hard To Learn?
The answer is a resounding ‘no’. Most people pick up the basics of paddleboarding in a few hours in an afternoon. Think of it as a family activity or something you do with your friends or your partner. One word of warning, though – paddleboarding is a little addictive. There is a good chance you will want to get your own board straight away.
What Do You Need To Get Started?
To start stand up paddleboarding as a beginner, you only need a few bits and pieces. The paddleboard itself is the biggest item. In addition, you will need a paddle, a leash, and safety gear.
Safety gear, such as a life vest, will help you float if you do fall off the board. The leash connects one of your ankles to the board. Once again, in case you do fall off, your board does not float away. The paddle is there to help you steer and move forward or backward.
How To Choose The Right Board
To try out stand up paddleboarding for beginners, choose a wide board for stability with enough lift to support your weight. One of the biggest decisions you have to make at this stage is whether you prefer an inflatable or a rigid board.
Especially for beginners, inflatable SUPs are an excellent choice. They are thicker and sit higher in the water than most rigid boards. Plus, once you are finished for the day, you can simply deflate, fold, and stow them in your car.
There are guidelines to help you pick the right length of the board but expect your SUP to be larger than a surfboard. If you would like something made-to-measure to really fit you, consider investing in a custom-made board.
Your First In-Water Experience
You’ve got your gear, keys, and essentials are packed waterproof, and you’re ready to try SUP for the first time. Remember, stand up paddleboarding is not hard.
To launch, enter shallow water, carrying your board until the water is deep enough for the fins on the underside of the board to be clear of the bottom of the water. Put the board down on the surface and place your paddle across the board. Now sit with your knees on the board and start using the paddle to move around. Stand up paddleboarding for beginners could not be easier.
Don’t be afraid to stay on your knees for a while. It’s a comfortable position, and balance is easier to hold on your knees. Practice different paddle strokes like turning and reversing. Lean towards your left and your right side to experience what that feels like and how to regain your balance.
Once you are comfortable in a kneeling position, move your feet to where your knees were. Moving your feet one at a time, you will retain your balance. Now you are ready to stand up. Once you are on your feet, use your paddle for a few strokes.
Gaining momentum and paddling consistently give you stability. Try to engage your core for added stability. Look a little ahead rather than straight down at your feet to see where you are going. That’s it – you are ready to explore the waters around you!
Top Tips For Stand UP Paddleboarding For Beginners
- Choose a large, open space. This will help you build your comfort level quickly but easily at the same time. Having to dodge a lot of people in a small space, is likely to make you feel stressed.
- Take it easy. SUP is the ultimate relaxing workout. It’s not about speed or distance covered. Instead, move at your own pace and enjoy seeing your environment from a new perspective. You will still get a workout at the same time.
Check the wind and the waves. Wind and waves make stand up paddleboarding harder, but they are easy to take into consideration. Leaving shore, head into the wind. Once you get tired, you can turn around and drift back. Waves are exhilarating for experienced paddlers but can be daunting for stand up paddleboarding for beginners. Choose a sheltered site for your first few outings.