An Introduction to Stand Up Paddle Boarding!

An Introduction to Stand Up Paddle Boarding!

All you need to know about stand up paddleboarding!

Woman on a stand up paddleboard in Durango, Colorado

So, you have seen people stand up paddleboarding and you want to try it too? Great! Let's cover some basics and then look at our top picks for Stand Up Paddleboard starter boards/kits. Stand up paddle boarding is a great way to enjoy the water, but there are some things you should know before you get started. If you're thinking about trying it out for the first time, here's everything you need to know about stand-up paddle boarding.

What is stand up paddleboarding?

Stand up paddleboarding, or SUP, is a sport in which a person maneuvers a paddleboard through the water to travel for recreation. It’s also known as stand up paddling and usually abbreviated as SUP.

The sport has become really popular in recent years with people of all ages and abilities participating. You can find classes and rentals on most beaches around the world, where there are instructors to guide you through your first few attempts at standing on your board while paddling. As long as you’re not afraid of swimming, there’s no reason why anyone shouldn't give it a go! It is important to be prepared when headed out on your board, and make sure that you have all the important water safety equipment including a PFD at all times. 

Is it hard to stand up paddleboard?

When you're first learning how to stand up paddleboard, don't worry about falling off. It's going to happen at least once, so just laugh it off and get back on the board. You'll pick up the hang of it eventually! Paddleboarding is a great balance practice, and in the beginning you may end up on your knees more than on your feet. Also, even as a seasoned paddleboarder, you may find different positions on the board work better for you, or are more comfortable the longer you are out on the water.

paddleboard and paddleboard paddle

You may also have questions about how best to use your paddle and where you should place your hands when you are paddling for the best power. It is truly up to you and how tall you are, etc. Most paddles are adjustable on the handle, so just look for the part of the paddle that has a clip and you can make it longer or smaller to make it easier for the paddle to touch the water.  As with any sport, the more you do it the better you will get, and the more enjoyable it will become when you are comfortable on the board. 

How do you stand on a sup board?

If you're wondering how to stand on a paddleboard, there are a few different options. The first is to put your feet centered on the board on top of the foot grip of the board and find your center of gravity until you're standing up straight. With this method, you can start on your knees and gradually stand up.  Another option is to find your center of gravity on the board by sitting on it first (like a kayak sort of) until you get the feel of how your body works on the board. It is always easier to have someone hold the board while you climb aboard at first, or have half of the board on the sand so it does not float away until you are ready to go! 

Another protip, secure all your items that you want to take on your stand up paddleboard before you climb on. Most boards of metal or plastic d-rings to secure your items to by either a bungie cord, or by a cam strap. Even if you are just going on the lake or flat water, having your items secure onto your board is the safest way to make sure you do not lose your sunglasses or waterbottle to the bottom of the lake in the event you tip over, or water comes on top of your board. 

Are there different types of Paddleboards?

There are three main types of stand up paddleboards: flatwater boards, touring boards and surf boards. Flatwater boards are designed for lakes, rivers and calmer waters, while touring boards are more suited to rougher seas and for racing. Flatwater models tend to be shorter in length than touring models because they don't need as much stability due to the calmer conditions they're used in. A flatwater board will typically have three fins while a touring model will have five fins (one center fin flanked by two smaller outer fins). The extra two fins create additional stability when you're paddling through choppy water on your way out into open water for some surf action! Surfing SUP boards are built for performance and for surfing on rivers and waves. 

Paddleboard in a ocean surf wave

Also, you can get a paddleboard that rolls up or one that is hard fiberglass and stays its shape. There are pros and cons to both of these types of boards.

If you are someone who has a smaller car, or is low on space in the garage, the roll up paddleboard is the best way to go. That is the type that I have always had. With this type of board, you need to make sure that you pay exrta care with your roll up paddleboard when storing it when not in use. Any inflatable board or boat needs to have room for the air to expand and contract when it is not in use. The best way to store these boards is to deflate them after each use. You can then clean them, dry them off and roll them up to fit into the bag that they came with. 

Most of the pre-packaged SUP Inflatable board packages come with an extra large carry bag with backpack straps, the pump and additional fins to add to the board.  

What should I bring when I go paddleboarding?

  • A paddleboard

  • A paddle

  • A life vest (and make sure it fits!)

  • A drybag for your phone, wallet, keys, etc. (We recommend out Ebb & Flo 20 Liter Drybag, which secures perfectly to your board and can hold all the items you need)

  • Water bottle(s) (you'll be thirsty after a while)

  • Sunscreen and sunglasses (for the sun)

  • First aid kit (or have one handy in your car)

How do you get back on a paddleboard if you fall off?

If you fall off your paddleboard, the first thing to do is grab the board. Put one hand on the board and the other on your paddle. Then get one knee back on your board and climb on top of it. You can have someone else hold the board somewhat still for you if you have a friend nearby. If you still can't get back on, try to get your board close to shore to be able to hop back on. 

Enjoy your time on the water!

You might have noticed that we've spent the majority of this article talking about safety and how to stay safe on the water. This is because it's incredibly important. After all, you wouldn't climb a mountain without putting on proper gear or swim in the ocean without wearing a life jacket—you'd be crazy! The same goes for paddleboarding: don't just jump in without learning how to do it safely first. Sure, it may seem like an easy sport once you get going, but even experienced paddlers can fall off their boards and get hurt if they're not careful.

So go ahead and give your new hobby a try—but please make sure you know what you're doing before getting into the water! Also, make sure that you have fun! The best part about paddleboarding is where it can take you, and the views and experiences that you will have when trying out this new hobby. 

I hope this post has answered some of your questions about stand up paddleboarding. It’s a great activity for anyone who likes to be in the water, but it can also be intimidating if you don’t know what to expect.

But remember: all you need is the right equipment and some practice!

Cheers and see you on the water!



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