Perfect Guide for First Timers in Stand up Paddle Boarding

Are you looking to take up a new sport? How about stand up paddle boarding? It’s not only a great way to explore rivers, lakes, and coastlines, but a wonderful workout for your entire body. While this might all sound great, there are a few things you should know before heading to your nearest paddle boarding or spot or buying your equipment.

In this post, we’ll take a look at what you should know as a beginner stand up paddle boarder. We’ll talk about what equipment you need, where you should do it, and if you’re not already convinced, some reasons to try stand up paddle boarding. Let’s go! 

What you need for stand up paddle boarding

The first thing to think about before you hit the water is what you need for stand up paddle boarding. While there are some desirable items, here are four absolute essentials that you can’t paddle board without.

Board

The first thing you need to make a decision on is your board. If you’re renting a board, you can get help at the rental store from an expert. However, rental costs can mount up so perhaps you’re considering buying a board instead.

When choosing your board, there are a couple of things you need to take into account. The first is the size and volume of the board. It’s important that you match the size and volume to your skill level and weight. If you’re too heavy for your paddle board, it will drag in the water making it more difficult to paddle.

Another key component in choosing your board is what you’re using it for. Beginners normally will find all-around SUPs or inflatable SUPs fit their needs nicely – with the added bonus that iSUPs can be rolled up and easily packed away and transported. However, there are specialist boards too, built for surfing, fishing, and yoga. 

Paddle

Another SUP essential is your paddle. When purchasing your own, paddles will often cost around 20% of what your board does. For most types of SUP, you’ll need the paddle to be 25cm longer than your total height (surfing is slightly different). However, it’s best to buy a height adjustable paddle. Being able to make them as small as possible is good for transportation. 

Personal Floatation Device

Look at your PFD the same way as you do your car seatbelt. You use it every day, but it never is called into action. PFD means personal floatation device, and it’s a safety device that will kick into action if you fall off your board. Like armbands for beginner swimmers! Should you not want to notice your PFD, then get a compact one which will fit around your waist.  

Leash

Another safety device, a leash keeps you tethered to your board if you do fall off. Be sure to know the difference between a surf leash and a SUP leash. An easy way to tell is the length – longer ones are for SUP. They’re thicker too!

How to start stand up paddle boarding

Now that you know what equipment you need, let’s take a look at some top tips for beginner paddle boarders. 

Take lessons

Stand up paddle boarding is easy once you get the hang of it, but it will require some persistence and commitment to begin with. If you’re not used to self-teaching, then there’s no shame in getting lessons. If you can think of somewhere SUP is popular, you’ll have no trouble finding beginner lessons there. 

An added bonus of taking lessons is that your teacher will make sure you have all the necessary equipment, so you won’t be worrying you’ve left something behind!

Start somewhere calm

If you’re taking up a new sport, it’s common sense to take it easy to begin with. That’s why you should avoid beaches with big waves when it comes to SUP. Instead, look for calm and flat water to take your first strokes. 

Start off by kneeling on your board and begin to stand up by moving one foot forward at a time. Be sure to have lots of space – you should have plenty room between you and other paddlers in case one of you falls in and distracts the other.

Learn to take a fall

Falling is a part of stand up paddle boarding that will affect some people more than others. However, even the most experienced paddlers may have an off-day once in a while! The important thing is not avoiding falling, but knowing how to do so safely.

Make sure that you fall away from the board so as to avoid any injuries. Your leash and PFD will ensure that you stay afloat and attached to your board! 

Five reasons to go stand up paddle boarding

  1. Get toned – if you’re looking to get abs of steel, SUP is the best way to do so outside of a gym.
  2. As well as developing your muscles, SUP’s engagement of your core will improve your balance and stability.
  3. It’s versatile – once you master the basics, you can turn to yoga, fishing, and surfing if you wish. 
  4. Being surrounded by water and nature is proven to be good for your mental health, making SUP an ideal way to de-stress.
  5. Not only does SUP help you chill out, but it also challenges you. After a SUP session, your brain will be producing happy chemicals – serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine! 
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