Paddle boarding is like many other sports. It requires dedication, patience, and practice until you begin to feel comfortable on your board. With these few tricks, you will start to see and feel the improvement almost immediately!
PRACTICE: Before getting onto an iSUP and paddling, you will need to place the nose (front) forward towards the water and the tail (location of fins) towards your back. If you have not gone paddle boarding before we recommend starting first on your knees, then slowly make your way to a standing position on dry land. Start by kneeling then progress to a table top position on your hands and knees (like a yoga table-top position) as you gradually place the sole of one foot onto the iSUP then the other until you are on both feet. Once you are ready to practice on water, please be sure you are clear and away from any objects in the chance of falling off the board. Falling can be part of the process and makes it that much more fun on a hot day.
Once you are on the board and want to try standing, do not rush it. Slower movements allow you to modify and correct while going from your knees to a standing position. Once you are up, your feet should be about shoulder width distance, knees slightly bent, core engaged and face forward.
- BE SAFE: Always stand in the middle of the board (balance comes from the center) and wear a leash that attaches you to the board. If you were ever to be separated from your board, it might be possible you would be swimming back to shore without a paddle board. That would not be an ideal situation for anyone. Coast Guards require a life jacket while paddle boarding. Find the one that works best for you and remember that it is always better to be safe than sorry!
- DANCE BABY DANCE: Trying to find your balance can sometimes feel like a dance. The best way to find that balance is through your center. Engage your core as you move your hips and shift your weight between each foot from side to side to maintain balance. When waves come towards you, placing your paddle in the water on your dominant side will help you balance until the waves passes. This will give you another point of contact to help stabilize. Once you get more comfortable on the SUP you will just “dance” those waves away while paddling forward!
BLADE DIRECTION: When it comes to paddle boarding, the elbow (angle of the blade) must face away from you to take the stress off your body and provide a smoother stroke. Plant your paddle strongly in the water and remember to keep your arms straight. Good paddle strokes ensure the ability to make it through any water condition, waves or still water for whichever wind direction. Paddle with extended arms and use your core to pull the paddle along the rail of the board. Essentially, scooping out the water towards your feet. Keep in mind that by pulling the paddle towards the back for a longer stroke will slow you down instead of giving you more distance or speed.
SWEEP STROKE: To make a sharp right turn, put the paddle to the tail of the SUP as you pull and stroke towards the nose while leaning with your torso to the right.
- LOOK UP AND GRACEFULLY FALL! Try not to stare at your feet to check if you are doing it right or not. The best way to keep your balance is to look forward at the horizon. This will help you paddle straight and give you the best perspective so that you get to enjoy the view. If you must fall, remember to allow yourself to fall to the side and into the water to avoid injuries. Take it as a “refreshing” reset and get back up to keep enjoying your ride. Happy Paddling!
Do you have any other tips that can help fellow SUPers? Share them with us. We would love to hear them! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.