Paddleboarding for Beginners Guide

Published 16/10/2023

Paddleboarding at UKSAWhat is paddleboarding?

Paddleboarding, also known as stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), is a thrilling water-based sport that has grown hugely in popularity recently, providing great fun for both novices and experts. In this soothing water activity, you stand on a sizable, stable board and move forward using a long paddle. Paddleboarding offers a flexible and affordable experience for anyone looking for a new way to experience nature, get some exercise, or just relax on the water.

Origins of Paddleboarding

With thousands of years of history, paddleboarding has a long and illustrious past. Its earliest forms were utilised for transportation and fishing by prehistoric tribes. Nevertheless, it has considerably changed through the years and is currently used as a recreational and competitive activity. The sport of paddleboarding as we know it now originated in Hawaii under the name “Hoe he’e nalu.” Initially, surf instructors used it as a technique to keep an eye on their students. Paddleboarding eventually attracted the interest of water enthusiasts all around the world and developed into the well-liked sport we see today.

How to Stand Up Paddle Board

Choosing the Right Board

Choosing the appropriate board is the first step in your paddleboarding experience as a beginner. Paddleboards exist in a variety of forms and dimensions, each one intended for particular uses and ability levels. Here are a few crucial things to think about:

Size of Board

The greatest choice for novices is a longer, wider board. Greater stability that results from these proportions makes it simpler to balance and paddle. You can experiment with smaller, more manoeuvrable boards as you gain skill.

Board Type

Inflatable and rigid paddleboards are the two main categories. Inflatables are lightweight, convenient to store, and tolerant of collisions. Better performance is provided by rigid boards, but additional storage space may be needed. Inflatable boards are frequently a smart alternative for novices.

Board Form

The shapes of paddleboards can vary, including all-around, touring, and surf. An all-around board is adaptable and good for novices because it can handle different types of water.

Paddle Selection

Choosing the appropriate paddle is the next step after deciding on your board. The length of the paddle is crucial, and for efficient propulsion, it should typically be 6 to 12 inches taller than you. Paddles that can be adjusted are an excellent option because they can fit a variety of users and be adjusted for comfort.

Safety Gear

Make sure you have the required safety equipment before entering the water. A personal flotation device (PFD), which is essential even if you have good swimming abilities, is part of this. A leash is also necessary to keep you attached to your board in the event of a fall.

Mount the Board

As you begin, situate yourself in the centreline while kneeling on the board.

Make sure the blade of the paddle is facing forward when you hold it with both hands.

Step one foot up at a time, keeping your feet hip-width apart and parallel to the board.

To improve your balance, maintain a tiny bend in your knees.

Paddling Technique

Put your bottom hand on the shaft of the paddle and your top hand on the handle.

Reach out with the paddle, dunk it in the water, then pull it towards you to advance.

Strokes should be alternated on both sides to maintain a straight path.

Paddle more on the right side to turn left and vice versa.

Keep your upper arm straight and make efficient strokes using your core muscles.

Maintaining Balance

Finding your centre of gravity is key to standing up on a paddleboard. Here are some pointers to keep you balanced:

Keep looking ahead and away from your feet.

To stabilise your body, contract the muscles in your core.

If you start to feel unsteady, try paddling while kneeling to regain your balance.

Falling into the water is very normal; it’s all a part of learning.

Paddleboarding first thing in the morning on a calm lake

Paddleboarding Tips

On your initial paddleboarding excursions, it’s typical to feel a little unsteady as a beginner. However, with enough practise and these helpful pointers, you’ll quickly build your confidence and enjoy paddleboarding to the fullest:

Start in Calm Waters

Always begin in flat, calm waters for beginners, such as lakes or slowly flowing rivers. Until you feel more confident and proficient, stay away from strong currents, choppy waves, and busy locations.

Master Balance

It’s crucial to find your equilibrium on the board. Start by standing with your feet parallel to the board and at shoulder width apart. To maintain stability, keep your knees slightly bent and contract your core.

Practice Falling

Do not be scared to fall into the water; it is a necessary part of learning. Injury can be avoided by learning safe fall techniques. To avoid hitting the board, try falling to the side rather than forward.

Learn Basic Paddling Techniques

Getting the hang of the fundamental paddling methods will enhance your paddleboarding enjoyment. To paddle effectively, maintain your upper arm straight, engage your core muscles, and twist your paddle.

Stay Relaxed

Balancing can be more difficult when under stress. Maintain your calm and try not to hold the paddle too tightly. You’ll be able to keep better control if you have a loose grip and relaxed shoulders.

Stay Hydrated and Protected

Bring plenty of water with you because being out on the water might dehydrate you. Additionally, even on cloudy days, use sunscreen to shield your skin from the sun’s rays.

Respect the Environment

Paddleboarding enables close encounters with the natural world. Keep an eye on the environment and adhere to the Leave No Trace philosophy. Keep your distance from wildlife, and pick up any rubbish you may encounter.

Take a Lesson

Think about enrolling in lessons with a licenced teacher. They may help you develop your confidence on the water, offer helpful advice, and teach you cutting-edge methods.

Enjoy the Best Paddleboarding with UKSA

The UK Sailing Academy (UKSA) is the place to go in the UK if you want the best paddleboarding experience. This well-known maritime training company provides a variety of outdoor pursuits, including paddleboarding, to suit all ability levels, particularly novices.

For anyone to learn and practise paddleboarding, UKSA offers a secure and enjoyable environment. Their knowledgeable instructors provide professional direction, ensuring that newcomers build confidence and have a blast on the water right away. Whether you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience or want to take up paddleboarding as a regular hobby, UKSA has courses and programmes to suit your requirements.