Your stand up paddleboard (SUP) has been designed with a built-in handle, carrying it is a breeze. Just lean the board on its rail (edge) reaches for the handle and tuck the board under one arm. Carry your paddle with the other hand. For longer distances, or if your board has no handle, you can more easily carry your paddleboard on your head. Here’s how: Stand the board on its tail (end) with the deck (top of the board) facing you. Lay your paddle on the ground within easy reach. Grasp the rails (the edges of the board) with both hands. Walk yourself under the board so that your head is about midway between the nose (front) and the tail. Stand upright with the board overhead, still holding it by its rails. Now bend down and pick up your paddle and carry it alongside the board. Head for the water.
When you’re learning the sport, it’s best to start out in ideal conditions: flat, calm water that’s free of obstacles like boats and buoys.
It’s easier to kneel on the board rather than to stand directly upright. Here are a few pointers to get you started:
A few tips to help you keep your balance as you stand upright on the paddleboard:
Once you've practiced balancing on the board in flat water, it's time to take off on a paddle boarding excursion—where the real fun begins. Here are some pointers for getting started with the basic paddle boarding stroke.
There are several straightforward ways to turn a paddleboard.
Sidestroke: One easy method to is simply to paddle on one side until the nose turns in the direction you want to go. Want to turn right? Paddle on the left. Headed to the left? Paddle on the right.
Backpaddle: Another fast way to turn or reverse direction is to simply drag the paddle or paddle backwards on either side of the board.
Sea "c" stroke: Plant your paddle towards the front of the board and take a long sweeping stroke towards the tail. This is sometimes called a sweep stroke.
Other tips: Stepping back on the board or looking over your shoulder to the direction of your turn also helps in making a turn.
Another turn that works well, especially in surf, is to paddle on your dominant side (left foot forward, paddle on your right side). Really bend your knees and put more weight on your back foot. This allows the board to pivot and turn quickly.
Stand up paddleboarding is relatively easy to learn, but expect to take the occasional fall as you're gaining skills. For those inevitable times you lose your balance: Aim yourself to the side, so that you fall into the water and not onto the board. Falling onto the board is more likely to cause an injury. If you get separated from your paddle and your board, get your board first, then paddle it to retrieve the paddle.
These mistakes are easy to make when you're starting out. Try to avoid them and you'll have a lot more fun on the water:
Once you've mastered the basics, there's almost no limit to the watery worlds you can explore on your stand up paddleboard. Play in the waves and ocean surf, carve turns or learn new strokes. You might find yourself wanting a narrower, more maneuverable board as you become more adept. Meanwhile, get out there, enjoy the view and have a great time on your SUP!
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