Start stand up paddle boarding with these tips from Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
Stand up paddle boarding – also known as “SUP” – is a fun way to get out on our favorite lakes and rivers this summer. Plus, it’s a great workout that you can on the water. Learn about the basics of stand up paddle boards with the help of Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
1. Choose the Right Board
When you’re shopping for a paddle board, you have a few different options depending on the activity and body of water you plan on visiting. There are all-purpose boards, boards made specifically for yoga – it’s all about your personal preference. Boards can also vary in length, width, hull type and thickness. Two factors to especially pay attention to are weight capacity and volume. Choose a board with the right volume and weight capacity for your height and weight for the best stability on the water.
2. Get the SUP Gear You Need
In addition to the paddle board itself, there are a few basic pieces of gear you’ll need with you out on the water.
Paddle – Your paddle should be about 6″ – 8″ taller than you. Most paddles are adjustable. It’s important to have the right paddle for paddle boarding, and to use your core to paddle.
Life Jacket – Since a paddle board is considered a vessel, you’re required to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) when you’re on the board. This is essential in case you fall off your board.
Leash – A leash is used to keep you attached to your board if you fall off – similar to those worn with a boogie board or surf board. Choose a leash that’s made for the body of water you’ll be exploring with the board.
You may also want to wear a wet or dry suit, depending on the weather conditions. Also be sure to wear sunglasses and sunscreen when you’re out paddling.
3. Learn the SUP Stance
Once you get the hang of standing up on the board, the rest is pretty easy. Begin by finding a calm area of water and kneel on the foot pads/deck of the board, keeping your paddle on the board, perpendicular with your chest. Slowly put one foot on the board, then the other, while keeping your knees bent. Once you’re upright, it’s important to maintain balance. Keep your knees slightly bent and your back straight while your hips stay balanced. While you may be tempted to look down at your feet or the board, it’s important to keep your gaze on the horizon and your head upright while you’re on the board.
4. Be Prepared to Fall
While paddle boarding is a pretty easy sport to learn, you should still be ready to take a fall or two. As you’re learning to keep your balance, there are a few things to keep in mind. Try to fall to the side of the paddle board, falling into the water and not onto the board. Hitting the board is more likely to cause injuries. If you get separated for your board and paddle, get back on your board first and then paddle with your hands to grab your paddle.
5. Master the Stroke
Once you’ve got balance down, you’ll need to master the SUP stroke. The key to paddling on a paddle board is using your core and not just your arms. Your core muscles have more strength than your arm muscles, and will help you keep going. Keep the hand of the side you’re paddling on on the paddle shaft, and your other hand on the top of the grip. To go in a straight line, paddle a few times on one side and then switch to the other side. Reverse hand positions when you switch sides.
With a little practice, you’ll be ready for a fun day out on the water. For more tips on safely getting out on your favorite lakes and rivers, visit our Boats & Boating blog.