PADDLE BOARDING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
PADDLE BOARDING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
Stand up Paddleboarding (SUP) is an enjoyable activity that lets you explore the water without swimming. The sport is a type of surfing involving you standing on a traditional surfboard and propelling yourself through the water with something that looks like a canoe paddle, but longer. It is a fast-growing water sport in the world and has been absorbed into other activities like SUP Fishing, SUP Yoga, and SUP Racing.
Are you interested in trying it out? Here are some tips to get started.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding Tips for Beginners
Use a Leash
An important thing to keep in mind when getting involved in any sort of water sport is safety. A leash is a must-have when paddle-boarding for emergencies because your board becomes your lifesaver — so you have to stay tethered to it always.
There are several kinds of leashes (straight or coiled) and attachment points (ankle or calf) of the paddler’s choice. No matter the leash you choose and how you attach it, what’s most important is that you get a high-quality one that won’t spoil quickly. A quality leash will help you free yourself quickly in case of a situation when you get entangled with an underwater plant or pulled by a heavy current.
Also, try to get a paddle leash and save yourself the extra effort of swimming back to your paddle every time you lose it.
Check Wind Direction
Your body acts like a sail when you stand on an SUP. So strong winds will steer you and your board back and forth. This makes it more challenging to paddle. One crucial paddle boarding tip is to mind the wind condition and even check the weather forecast for that day before hitting the water.
Your goal should be to learn the basics and practice your balance without being bothered about heavy winds. In situations that the wind speed and direction is too much to handle, go low and lie on the board with your belly facing down and your paddle tucked under your body, then paddle with your arms as you’d do on a regular surfboard.
Learn the Correct Paddling Technique
A usual mistake paddle boarders make is that they don’t hold the paddle correctly. As a beginner, without an in-depth training on stand-up paddleboarding, your instinct would guide you to hold the paddle in a way that the bent area of the blade is facing you, to enable you “scoop” yourself forward
That’s a wrong and risky way of using the paddle because it can cause you to lose your balance. The right way is to flip it over so that the bent part would be facing you.
You should pay attention to your hand placement. If your hands are very close together on the paddle, it can limit the capacity of your strokes and can get you tired quicker. Here are some tips for finding out the right way to place your hand on the paddle
- Stand erect and grip the non-blade end of the paddle.
- Hold the paddle horizontally over your head with both hands, then rest the shaft on the top of your head.
- Ensure that the shaft is aligned with your shoulders and the arm you use to hold the grip makes a 90-degree angle
- The other hand that’s not holding the shaft should be held along the shaft until you’ve created the 90-degree angle with that arm.
Engage Your Core
As for techniques, you should note that your core, and not your arms should do the paddling. Your arm muscles won’t give you as much power as your core muscles would. Your core muscles give you higher efficiency and balance while paddling.
A second reason to use your core muscles is that it provides you with a low-impact workout that increases your core strength and builds more muscles in your torso region.
Face the Right Direction
One crucial mistake to avoid as a beginner is to face the board in the wrong direction. The front-end of the board is not evident to non-paddlers and beginners, but it’s something you need to know for your safety.
So how do you know which end goes in front?
The simplest method is to find the fins and ensure that they are at the back. Another identifier that your SUP is facing the proper direction is when your board goes straight while paddling and the board not being shaky, which makes you keep switching the sides of the paddle.
Keep Your Head Up
It can be quite difficult keeping your head up and looking straight ahead as a beginner. You’d find yourself looking downwards because of fear of falling into the water. But standing straight is how you gain balance. So, if you want balance, don’t look at your feet.
Staying on the board is the next challenge. Standing Up Paddle Boarding tests your balance and stability. You should always try to maintain proper body posture by keeping your back straight, your legs bent, shoulders back, and try to put your weight on your feet.
Give Yourself Enough Space
You should give yourself enough space with the next person. The closer you are to someone, the more they create waves that can cause you to lose balance and even bump into you. Ensure you have enough room to move around for your safety and everyone around you.
Fall “Away” from the Board
While Stand Up Paddle Boarding, you shouldn’t be scared of falling because it is unavoidable. As a beginner, falling should serve as a learning experience to teach you the right strategies to follow to diminish injuries.
A common practice is to fall away from bigger and heavier boards, so you don’t hit your face on it. This is crucial when riding waves and currents. Also, you should worry less about losing your boards because, with a leash, you can always get it back.
Looking for something fun to do in Myrtle Beach? Paddleboarding is just the thing! We offer paddleboard rentals and paddleboard tours. Book now!