Top 5 tips to start stand up paddle

Stand up paddle boarding is all the rage these days, and with pretty good reason. Of all the water sports options out there it’s easily the most accessible for beginners, making it the perfect pick up and play option for those looking to get out on the water in an active but relaxing way.

Even with that pretty gentle learning curve, though, there are still a few things you need to know about getting into the world of SUP. Here are our top five starter tips for wannabe paddlers.

Choose the right board

Choosing the right board comes down to a variety of factors: how you’re going to use it, how it’ll fit your body and how you want it to handle when you’re on the water. There are plenty of physical characteristics to consider, from the shape of the board through to volume and capacity and any extras and accessories you might want with it.

In fact, there are an awful lot more questions that you might think when it comes to picking paddleboards, so we’d recommend finding an in-depth guide to get you started.

Find the right spot

One of the great things about SUP is that you can paddle almost anywhere, but finding a quality spot – as in a place or two that can be your favourite locations to go out and paddle, will be key to helping you develop your skills and fall in love with the hobby.

A good place to start would be to join an SUP club or SUP social, or use this map of UK SUP spots to find some established locations that are great for paddleboarding.

Make the right moves

Learning to move around on your SUP correctly will be a key part of your early learnings in the hobby. You’ll want to find out what stance works for you, whether that’s neutral, hybrid or a full surf stance and get to grips with the best balancing techniques to keep you on the board.

It’s not a bad idea to get a few lessons to start you out with all these fundamentals, and there are plenty of SUP instructors out there ready to help you get up and running. 

Learn to fall off

Falling and hitting the water is a natural part of just about any water sport you can think of – and it’s certainly something you’ll need to get used to as a SUP beginner. The key thing to learn in this regard is how to fall off and get back onto your board properly.

As a general rule, feet first into the water and away from your board is best, while it’s easiest to get back on your board at the centre. If you pick up a few lessons to get you started, your instructor can walk you through the art of falling and recovering safely.

Stay relaxed

Perhaps the simplest tip of them all, and maybe one easier said than done for newbies, is to relax! Paddleboarding is made to be a chilled exercise where you can head out on the water and enjoy the views and the motion of the ocean. The sooner you can learn to keep cool on your board, the quicker you’ll get to grips with staying on your board and being able to enjoy the world around you – which is what SUP is all about.

New to SUP? Don’t be afraid! With a great community of paddleboarders in the UK and loads of ways to get into the sport, you could be up and running before you know it.

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