Beginner’s Tips for SUP boarding
Stand-up paddle boarding is one of the fastest-growing water sports there is, with hundreds picking up a paddle and giving it a go all over the UK and beyond. Whether it’s the cool, quirky nature of the sport or the fact that you can enjoy all the benefits of hitting the open water without hitting the high speeds and heights of kitesurfing, almost everyone has heard of SUP paddle boarding, and most want to give it a go. However, there is one question that seems to stop many beginners from trying it out in the first place: where do you start? While the sport is less intense and extreme than other water sports alternatives, there’s something a little daunting about the size of the board and how to stand up on what is such a seemingly unstable floating device. Here at F-One, we’ve put together some helpful tips for beginner’s so that you can hit the open water as soon as possible:
It may seem obvious, but you’ll be surprised at how many people invest in the equipment and hit their local SUP boarding hotspot with a vision of ‘teaching themselves’. We’ve been in the industry long enough to attest that it rarely works out that way and the guidance provided from a trained professional is detrimental to establishing correct and efficient techniques for the rest of your SUP boarding career. Find an instructor or centre near you and book yourself an introductory lesson today.
Use a Leash
Regardless of where you are going, a leash is an essential, safe addition to your equipment, particularly when you are learning, and unexpected dips in the sea might be more frequent than you first hoped. There are various types of attachments and leashes available, so speak to us for advice.
Standing on the Board
For absolute beginners, it will not be obvious which end is the front and which end is the rear of the board, and thus which way to face when paddling. One of the best ways to avoid any red-faced incidents on the water is to check wear the fins are before you launch – they’ll always be at the back of the board. Fins at the front will make your whole experience a lot trickier than it needs to be and without the tracking provided by the fins at the rear, the board, no matter how large, will lose much of its stability. The front of the board for most beginners will be rounded with a large nose.
You’ll want to end up stood in the middle of the board with your feet hip-width apart and parallelled, facing the way in which you are travelling. Always keep a slight bend at the knees to make you as balanced as possible and ensure your toes are consistently facing the direction of travel.
It won’t take you much time on the water to realise that while SUP boarding works your entire body, it’s your core that makes much of the strain of paddling. Make the most of your strength by standing tall and using your core as well as your arms to move with speed and power through the water.
One of the biggest mistakes made by SUP boarding beginner’s is to look down at the board in an attempt to regulate the wobbling and avoid falling in. Unfortunately, this is counterproductive and will make you even more unstable on the board if anything. Keep your head up, straighten your back and try to keep your body weight over your toes as opposed to rocking back onto your heels. The beauty of SUP boarding is that you’ll often find yourself surrounded by diverse landscapes, breath-taking scenery and unrivalled views of the coastline that allow you to see the area from an entirely new perspective – at least look up every now and again to appreciate it!
Holding the Paddle
When you’re up on the board, the wind in your hair, feeling pretty suave, don’t ruin the image by holding your paddle the wrong way around. First instincts might draw you to try and scoop the water with the side that is curved slightly inwards, but as many find out, switching sides is much more efficient for a smoother stroke and will release some of the stress on elbows and shoulders. Ensure the blade is vertical throughout the main action of the stroke to establish the best angle for maximum power.
Keep your arms straight and twist your torso when you begin the paddling motion. Stick the paddle as far in front of you as is feasible, and take long, powerful strokes that make use of the full range of movement available. Not only will this keep you more balanced, but long and slow ahead of fast and frantic is energy efficient and will ensure you can stay out on the water for as long as you like without tiring immediately.
That concludes our guide to beginner SUP boarding tips - we hope to have provided some useful information for those looking to try their hand at something new. For the more adventurous amongst you, why not check out our beginner’s guide to kitesurfing for something a little more extreme in the new year? If you’re looking to start sooner rather than later, don’t let the cold weather put you off! Here at F-One, we have a range of Manera wetsuits to keep you warm during the winter and paddling off into the non-existent sunset!
If you have any further questions about SUP boarding or any of the equipment needed, don’t hesitate to contact a member of the F-One team today who will be more than happy to help.