Paddle Boarding for Beginners: Standing Up on your Board

By now, you’ve probably heard people talking about paddle boarding and maybe you’ve even seen someone paddle boarding around a lake or out on the open ocean before. This water sport continues to gain momentum and grow in popularity, and for good reason! Paddle boarding is not only fun, it’s a great work out too!

One of the newest trends in paddle boarding is stand up paddle boarding. Standing up on a paddle board gives you a full body work out that is so fun you might not even realize you’re working out all of those muscles! While you’re paddling around on the water and enjoying some breathtaking views, you’ll also be building leg strength, increasing core stability and toning your arms.

If you’ve been wanting to try, but feel intimated to get started, know you are not alone! Many people feel nervous at the beginning, but we’re willing to bet once you try it you’ll be hooked! To help you feel more confident though, here are some beginner tips forĀ standing up on a paddle board.

How to Stand Up on a Paddle Board

  • Stand next to your board in about knee deep water, making sure that the water is deep enough that the fins on your board don’t hit or scrape along the bottom.
  • Hold the edges of your board and then slide yourself onto the board in a kneeling position, just below the center of the board.
  • Keeping your hands steady on the edges of your board to stabilize it, slowly move one foot at a time into the same place your knees were.
  • Next you want to start standing up very slowly. First, lift your chest while your knees remain bent. Then slowly and carefully extend your legs until you are standing fully upright.

Staying Balanced on a Paddle Board

  • To stay balanced on your paddle board, keep your feet centered between the edges of your board and about hip width distance apart.
  • Keep your back straight, your knees slightly bent and your toes pointed forward.
  • Shift your weight by moving your hips but make sure to keep your shoulders straight and your head steady.
  • It might be tempting to look at your feet, but to maintain your balance it’s important to keep your eyes should be focused on the horizon straight ahead.

How to Get Back On after Falling

  • Understand that while you learn, you will fall off from time to time. Even more experienced paddlers occasionally still lose their balance.
  • If you let go of your paddle while falling, get back on the board first and then paddle with your hands to retrieve the paddle.
  • To get back on your board, position yourself on the side of your board, moving toward the center.
  • Grab onto the handle that is in the center of your board.
  • Relax your legs and allow them to float up to the surface of the water.
  • Now kick your legs while pulling the handle and slide yourself back onto your board.

How to Paddle while Standing on your Board

  • Forward Stroke: This is the basic paddle board stroke that will move your board forward through the water. To remain moving forward in a fairly straight line, you will want to alternate strokes on each side of your board, similar to if you were kayaking.
  • Reverse Stroke: This stroke is exactly what it sounds like. You can use it to help you reverse, turn around, slow down or stop. It is basically the opposite of the forward stroke. You will push the water backward instead of forward.
  • Sweep Stroke: This stroke helps you turn your board. Start at the nose of the board and sweep your paddle away from the board like you are making a big arch in the water.

More Beginner Tips for Stand Up Paddle Boarding

  • Pay attention to the weather. A nice sunny day with very little wind is perfect for beginners!
  • Chose a smaller, calm body of water that will be free from boat traffic and waves. A pond or small lake are great to start with.
  • Don’t go alone. Make sure you bring a friend along so you can help each other and keep an eye on one another.
  • Understand you’ll get tired quickly until you build up and strengthen the muscles using in stand up paddle boarding. Keep your first few sessions about an hour long and then increase your time in small increments as you’re able to.

Now that you’ve read some basic beginner tips, I hope you’re feeling more confident! Grab your friend and a board and go have some fun!