10 SUP Mistakes Made by Rookies

Because Stand up Paddle is such a new sport and growing like wildfire, there are many new faces to the scene each and every day. While this is completely fantastic and very exciting, it does open the door to many rookie mistakes.


SAN DIEGO, California - Because Stand up Paddle is such a new sport and growing like wildfire, there are many new faces to the scene each and every day.  While this is completely fantastic and very exciting, it does open the door to many rookie mistakes.  The following are just a few we’ve noticed and we're betting you've seen some of the same.


Mistake # 10 - Delicate Board

Mistake # 10: Not realizing how delicate the board can be / Dropping a paddle board on the concrete:   Stand up paddle boards are made of various materials often including foam and fiberglass. Be careful and treat your board like a baby.  If dropped it can get chipped or cracked.  P.S. Heed the counsel of common maintenance signs that say, “Slippery When Wet.” Make sure you have a good grip on the board when coming out of the water!


Mistake # 9 - Use Your Body

Mistake # 9: Use your body, it’s not just an arm exercise:  Technique IS important! Regardless of whether you are simply touring around or really getting into the surf, use your entire body. It may take some getting used to, but many people make paddling more difficult on themselves because they try to muscle through the stroke by only using their arms.  Use your core, legs, back and arms making it a full body workout. It will feel more comfortable and you will be much more efficient!


Mistake # 8 - Looking At The Board

Mistake # 8: Looking at the board while paddling:  Many people feel inclined to look at the board while they paddle.  It’s the natural thing to do when you’re getting your “sea legs.” However, you will actually be more stable and better able to feel natural if you look out toward the horizon or at least a few feet in front of yourself.


Mistake # 7 - Not Bailing Correctly

Mistake # 7: Not bailing correctly / getting hit by the board:  Many people try to fall on the board to brace themselves or jump forward over the front tip of the board when they know they're water bound.  This is especially true when going out over waves.  Never fall forward! Fall to the sides and beware that the board may still be coming down when you are coming up out of the water.  Holding an arm over your head as you come out of the surf is a good way to help protect yourself.


Mistake # 6 - Surf That Is Too Big

Mistake # 6: Getting into surf that is too big:  Regardless of being new or accustomed to surf, make sure you tackle small waves, sometimes as little as 1-3 feet, in the beginning. Even some of the most experienced surfers claim that they “got worked” their first time doing SUP.  Take it one step at a time and if you have never been on the water, we recommend that you definitely get on flat water first!


Mistake # 5 - Getting In The Way

Mistake # 5: Getting in the way of surfers / swimmers / experienced paddlers!:   There is an etiquette to surfing! First of all, know where the surfing versus swimming zones are located! Never enter a swimming area!  Once in the line-up, share the waves and understand that it is easier for stand up paddlers to catch them. Do not be a wave hog!  If you’re new to stand up paddle surfing move away from the more experienced surfers and paddle surfers until you can respectfully surf with them and not be just a paddle hazard!


Mistake # 4 - Poorly Tying Down Board

Mistake # 4: Not properly tying down the board on a vehicle:  If you have ever seen a stand up paddle board fly off a car, you know for sure that it was only meant to land on water! It’s not a pretty sight. Have the proper system to support the larger stand up paddle boards.  Read the instructions and always be careful to safely secure your boards.  


Mistake # 3 - Fin Facing Wrong Way

Mistake # 3: Fins inserted in the wrong direction:  This one is classic.  To beginners the direction the fins face is not totally intuitive.  Double check online (just Google it) or simply remember that the tips of the fins should face toward the tail of the board. 


Mistake # 2 - No Leash

Mistake# 2: No leash in the surf: This is a really scary mistake.  Although the best stand up paddlers may not use a leash it’s certainly a requirement for newbies.  Not only can you get caught far out as your board heads for the shore, but this can be a real safety hazard for those around you.  Maintain control of the board and PLEASE use a leash in the surf!  It can also be helpful on flat water to keep the board close by in case you fall and take a swim.


Mistake # 1 - The Paddle Is Backward

Mistake # 1: The paddle is backward:  This one tops the charts as the all time #1 rookie mistake. Many have done it and many more will! Just be so kind as to share your knowledge and help others turn the paddle in the right direction.  


This completes our rookie mistakes list for now, but we’re positive you’ve seen many more. We’d love to know what they are and add them to the list which will help all paddlers worldwide have a better experience!


What rookie mistakes can you add to our list?


Last modified onThursday, 22 January 2015 14:51
Erin Blunt Robbins

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