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How To Stand On A Stand Up Paddle Board

Darren Bridges (Australia) sent us this shot of him 'dismounting' on his first day. 

SAN DIEGO, California - One of the main reasons people shy away from learning how to stand up paddle is the fear of falling off and being terrible. But we all have to start somewhere and after a very short period of time, it becomes clear that SUP’ing isn’t as hard as it looks (flat water paddling, at least). Today we’re looking at the most basic lesson of all and taking you through the process of learning to stand, right from the top. There’s no need to feel shy, embarrassed or ashamed about reading this because you’re scared or you’ve struggled - everyone had to start somewhere.


Start by selecting a very thick, buoyant board that will give you maximum stability. Click here for tips on choosing the right equipment

Start In Shallow Water


Chris Chaster - enjoying the Sea of Cortez

There’s no need to start in the middle of a harbor or lake if you’re getting on a board for the first time. Set off from the beach at a body of calm, flat water with no currents or waves. To begin, edge the board into water deep enough to prevent the *fins from digging into the sand and when you’re in to a knee-deep level, try hopping onto your knees. See how that feels. Paddle around for a while and get used to the feeling of being elevated above the water.

When you’re feeling comfortable, you can try standing up in the center of the board with your feet on the comfy traction pad. Stand with your weight directly over the center of the board with your feet directly beneath your shoulders. Keep your body centered and your posture upright. While staying centered is essential for balance, doing what feels natural is also important. If you feel more comfortable using a surfing stance, go with what your senses tell you.


Using The Paddle


Florida SUP Grom, Sebastian Keller, showing us how it's done.

At this juncture, you may feel like your paddle is an annoying extra piece of equipment getting in the way of your progress, especially if you’re not from a kayak, surf or canoeing background. Don’t worry about it - leave it resting on your board until you’ve gotten to your feet and then pick it up. Once you’re upright and holding the paddle, take a few gentle strokes to get going. Don’t lunge at the water or bowl yourself over. Baby steps is the way forward.

Click here for 5 tips on Improving Your Paddle Technique

*Fins are the fin-shaped prongs on the bottom of the board - shaped like a dolphin fin. Don’t be embarrassed if you didn’t know this - you aren’t the first.


Do you have any other tips for first timers? Have we missed something? 

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Last modified onSaturday, 24 January 2015 14:54

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