A beginner’s guide to riding an SUP

A fantastic way to get in the water and explore nature is to use a paddle board, such as our SUP inflatable boards at Canoe and Kayak Direct. Not only does it offer a fantastic workout but it is also a fantastic option for people who prefer to be on the water and not in it!

SUP stands for stand up paddle boarding and has gained in popularity. It is now considered to be the fastest growing water sport in the world having taken influence from surfing and kayaking; it’s basically standing on a large surfboard and using a paddle to move around.

Due to the size of the boards (they are longer, wider and thicker than surfboards) you are able to firmly balance yourself standing up, but that’s not to say your core muscles won’t get a work out!

Read below for a guide and some top tips for SUP-ing for the first time:

  • Many people start on a board that is way too small. The board should feel comfortable under your feet and not tip over when standing without forward motion. If it still feels hard to balance after several attempts, try a larger, wider board.

  • When it comes to holding the paddle for the first time, make sure to grip the paddle with one hand on the top of the paddle and the other on the centre of the shaft. Keep the paddle in front of you, with your elbows bent at 90 degrees as this is the optimum comfortable spacing for paddling.

  • The blade will be angled, so when paddling remember to keep the blade angle facing away from you and remember they float! So don’t panic if you fall off and let go.

  • It’s a lot of fun taking a SUP out into small swell but as a beginner we recommend starting off in calm, flat water such as a lake or cove.

  • When you start, make sure there is enough water so the fin isn’t dragging on the floor.

  • Start on your knees and paddle around like that first so you can get a feel for the board, paddle and the water.

  • Slowly start to stand up, one foot at a time whilst concentrating on standing in the middle of the board. Remember to keep your knees slightly bent.

  • Using your paddle as a lever, your top hand will be driving the lever and the bottom hand will act as the pivot.

  • Keep your grip on the paddle shoulder width apart. The shorter the grip, the less power you will have in your strokes.

  • Remember to keep your feet parallel. If you have experience surfing you will automatically want to go into a surfing stance through habit. This makes it a lot harder, so keep your toes facing the nose of the board.

  • Most importantly, and we can’t stress this enough… Have as much fun as possible!

Watch the video below to see a comprehensive tutorial on going on an SUP for the first time.

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