A Beginner’s Guide to Paddle Boarding

Everybody has to start somewhere, and that’s no less true for paddle boarding. As paddle boarding and sups continue to rise in popularity, there are bound to be tons of newcomers hitting the water. If you’re one of those newcomers, it may be a little daunting at first. Especially if you don’t have someone with experience guiding you through the slight learning curve.

So, we’re going to be that “experienced someone” helping you get through your first time on the water, and we’ll tell you exactly where to get the best beginner paddle boards to get you off on the right foot.

Let’s get started.

1: Prep

Before you head out to the water, you need to make sure you’re ready. You’ll need a beginner-level sup paired with a proper paddle for starters. Besides that, you need a personal floatation device, a whistle, and a light. All three of these safety devices should be attached to you.

Since you’re new, and anything can happen on the water, having these basic safety tools can help you get out of a jam.

2: Getting On

Once you have everything you need and are on the beach, it’s time to get in the water. Walk along the side of the board, with the board floating, until you’re in knee-high water. Bend down, grab the sides of the board, and carefully move into a kneeled position on top of it. It’s important to balance here, and don’t get embarrassed if you fall off a couple of times.

Now, keep using your hands to stabilize the board’s sides, and get onto your feet one foot at a time before raising into a standing position.

Carefully bend down to grab your paddle, and you’re ready to go.

3: Balancing

Once you’re standing, place your feet shoulder-width apart and face the nose of your board. Your knees should be slightly bent for stability, and there should be at least several inches of space between your feet and the sides of the board.

Never stare at your feet. This can throw off your balance and send you toppling into the water. Instead, look straight ahead at the horizon line.

4: Paddling

Now, place one hand on the end of your paddle’s handle, the other a foot or more down, and push the paddle end into the water on your left or right side.

Using deep, scooping motions, drive the sup forward while alternating which side you’re paddling on. The straighter you hold your paddle to the water, the straighter you’ll go. To turn, paddle with the handle angled on one side of the sup for several strokes.

Congratulations, you’ve got the basics down.