Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) offers a fun way to play on the water, with the added benefit of a full-body workout. With a little time and practice the majority will nail the basics within a few tries, however . . .
Before you head out on the water for the first time, it’s helpful to know a little bit about SUP gear and basic technique to avoid injury. To get started paddle boarding, you’ll want to learn the following.
Of course we need our board and our paddle, if your board has a leash a life jacket is not essential as you will be attached to a large floating board, if the board has no leash a life jacket is advisable.
It is worth looking at conditions that you intend on paddling in, currents, wind and waves have a large effect on your SUP experience so worth taking five minutes to scope your playing field, if in doubt don’t go out !
A grip just over shoulder width will work for the average paddler, it helps to keep a focal point and an upright position to aid stability. Make sure the scoop of the paddle blade is backwards and your paddle strokes are in line with the rail of the board, this will aid you in paddling in a straight line instead of spending hours making circles. You will need to switch sides normally about 5-7 paddle strokes per side will keep you fairly straight.
Keeping your feet shoulder width with an upright position will not only aid in stability but will also prevent injury, as a large percentage of beginners will pivot forward around their hips which creates a focal point in the lower back which can lead to lower back pain and eventually injury.
Pick a calm day, don’t go solo ( try find a SUP buddy ), If your route requires that you paddle into the wind, do so on your way out so you can get a boost from the wind on the way back when you’re getting tired. And finally keep track of your time to avoid over exertion.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding is a fantastic sport that is easily accessible to the masses, it does not take long to develop confidence on a paddle board and with a bit of practice you will find that the sport is a gate way to the ocean and expanses of water that you are free to explore. Also once the basics are dialed there are a number of routes and disciplines you can take the sport, from wave riding, racing, exploring, hydro foiling and white water riding paddle boarding arguably is the gateway board sport to explore the seas.