Follow these seven points to avoid SUP mistakes

If you haven’t tried stand up paddle boarding before, it is an excellent way to get out onto the water, offering a full body workout and an alternative to the traditional canoeing and kayaking.


Whether you are renting an SUP or looking at SUP boards for sale to get out onto the water, there are a few common first-time paddle boarder mistakes that you will want to avoid. Follow our guide below to ensure you avoid these mistakes and have the best possible experience:

Make sure your paddle is the right way around

It’s an easy mistake to make, and many have made it in the past because it feels right at the time; you want to scoop the water as you try to balance and paddle without falling in. However, you’ll soon find out the paddle goes the other way as it works more effectively when in the standing position.

This results in much smoother paddle stroke, putting less stress on your shoulders and elbows. As the shaft is the leading edge, you pull the blade through the water in a slightly trailing position. This helps blade stability, and as you perform each stroke, the blade is vertical which provides the best angle through the middle of your stroke, for maximum power.

Face the right way

If you are a non-surfer or do not venture into the water that often, it is not immediately obvious which end is the front of the board. Many beginner boards are rounded at both ends, which offers excellent stability.

So before you hop on the board, check to make sure the fins are at the back when you paddle. The fins at the back help to keep the board straight when you paddle, whereas fins at the front make for a very twitchy board which won’t go straight no matter how hard you try!

Paddle with your core

This may sound weird at first, but paddling is best done with your core. These are some of the strongest muscles in your body and provide the most effective power for your stroke. Standing up and paddling just using your arms won’t get you anywhere fast, and will tire you out much quicker. Don’t worry if your strokes aren’t great at the beginning – practice makes perfect after all!

Fall off the right way

Everyone falls off, so you don’t need to worry if you come off your SUP. But what you should be aware of is how you fall off. Paddle boards are quite large and can hurt you when they hit you. When you fall off, try to fall away from the board. You should be attached to it with your leash so you don’t have to worry about it drifting off, but falling clear of your board means you won’t land on the board itself or the fins, which could cause you an injury.

Only ride waves you can handle

Most of the time, it is advised that beginners start off in flat, calm water such as a lake. Eventually, you can build up to taking your SUP into the sea, but you should only ever ride waves you can handle.

Be smart, ride the waves in the right conditions for your skill level and know your own limits. Mother Nature can be unpredictable, so make sure you stay safe.

Watch the wind

Following on from the last point, it is important to know the conditions when you paddle out. Check the forecast before you head out and keep an eye on the wind. If it changes quickly, lay down with your paddle tucked under you and paddle the board to shore like you would a surfboard. Again, you need to stay safe first and foremost.

Look at the horizon

Beginner paddlers have the natural temptation to look down at the board, watching the water and pray they don’t fall in! But for the best stability, you want to keep your head up, back straight and your body weight over your toes. If you are watching your feet, you are more likely to rock back on your heels and end up in the water!

Leave a Comment