Learn the Basics of Paddleboarding
Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, is a fun, safe and relaxing activity that enables you to explore the water without you swimming in it. It is a sport that even beginners with no experience can easily learn the basics of. If you're interested in giving it a try, these basic paddleboarding tips from ROC SUP Co. can help you get started.
Equipment Needed for Paddleboarding
Before we start with the basics of paddleboarding, you need to be properly acquainted with the necessary gear you will need.
- Stand-up paddle board
You might want to rent or borrow equipment your first time out, but if you wish for an affordable inflatable SUP, check out ROC SUP Co. Do note that the weight and ability of the paddler, the intended use of the board, and local conditions all influence your selection.
A SUP paddle has a tear-drop-shaped blade that angles forward for maximum paddling efficiency, similar to a stretched-out canoe paddle. When you stand the paddle up in front of you and raise your arm above your head, it should reach up to your wrist.
- Personal Flotation Device
PFD is not a requirement for adults, but the U.S. Coast Guard requires children to have one on. SUPs are considered vessels, so if you’re paddling outside a surf or swimming area, you have to have a PFD on board.
- Safety whistle and light
You must also carry a safety whistle to alert other boaters, according to the Coast Guard. If you plan on being out after dusk, bring a light with you, too.
A leash tethers your ankle to the SUP, keeping it close by if you fall off. Being attached to your SUP is vital for your safety because it is a massive flotation device.
Basics of Paddleboarding
The basics of paddleboarding are divided into three parts: board handling, paddle handling, and most important: safety.
Lifting your SUP into the water
First, you want to make sure you're wearing your leash. Don't just lift the board off the ground; lift it away from you onto the rail first so that it's standing up on the rail. Grab the carry handle, then lift it up. Make sure you put your SUP in deep enough water so as not to damage the fins.
Standing up on your SUP
Hold the paddle board by the borders in a kneeling position, and work your way onto the board immediately behind the center point.
To stabilize the board, keep your hands on the sides and move one foot at a time to place your feet where your knees were.
Balancing on your SUP
Once you’re standing, place your feet parallel to the board's edges, about hip-width apart, and centered between the board's edges. Shift your weight by changing your hips while maintaining a steady and upright head and shoulders. Keep your sight level with the horizon. Don't stare at your feet.
How to hold a SUP paddle
To avoid holding the SUP paddle the wrong way, hold the paddle where the blade angle is forward from the shaft toward the nose of the SUP.
When paddling on the right side of your board, your left hand will be on the T-grip and your right hand will be a few feet below the shaft. Reverse your hand positions when changing sides.
The forward stroke is the most basic of the strokes. It propels your SUP forward through the water. Push the blade all the way under the surface after planting the paddle in the water by stretching about two feet ahead.
Keep your arms straight and twist your torso as you paddle; instead of drawing the paddle back with your lower arm, push down on the paddle grip with your top hand.
The reverse stroke is also easy to perform, and is usually used to slow down, stop, or turn. If you're paddling on the right, reach back and place the paddle in the water at the tail of your board. Make sure the blade of the paddle is totally immersed beneath the surface of the water.
Rather than dragging the blade forward with your arms like you do with the forward stroke, keep your arms straight and twist from your body.
Make sure you avoid hazards like shallow reefs. Be mindful of the wind, especially offshore wind that can be very dangerous. Always paddle upwind first, then coming back would be easy.
Always wear a leash so that when you get knocked off the board, the wind can't blow the board away. You can always make your way back to shore.
Paddleboarding is a safe and fun sport. It’s low-impact, improves your balance, and is probably the best sport you can do to stay healthy and happy. We hope these basic paddleboarding tips will make you love the sport.
If you want to try stand-up paddle boarding, you’ll need a good and easy-to-use paddle board. We have the best inflatable paddle boards available at ROC SUP Co. ROC paddle boards are durable, versatile, and pet-friendly, with the added bonus of being totally inflatable.