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Seven Common SUP Mistakes to Avoid

beginner, Paddleboarding, SUP, Watersports -

Seven Common SUP Mistakes to Avoid

Mistakes are part and parcel of everyday life, with many of us making rookie errors from time to time. However, we can all learn from our mistakes and become better for it, with SUP boarding being no exception to this rule. Being a water sport that relies heavily on skill and technique, there are many common SUP mistakes that can be made, especially by beginners who are just finding their feet (or balance, should we say). From looking down at your paddleboard to not inflating to its full capacity, here are just seven of the most common mistakes to avoid when SUP boarding:

1. Looking at Your Board

While it may feel natural to focus on your paddleboard, looking directly at your board and nothing else can negatively affect your balance and cause you to become unsteady or at worst, take a tumble into the water! The best way to remain stable while SUP boarding is to look directly ahead and let your feet do all the work by using them to feel your paddleboard and grip when necessary to ensure you remain upright.

2. Paddling the Wrong Way

One of the easiest SUP mistakes to make, paddling the wrong way is common for beginners and a classic rookie error. As such, when hitting the water for a session, always check that the blade of your paddle is facing the correct way; it should be bent away from you when making strokes in the water. Holding your paddle correctly will enable you to get the best out of it by enabling you to make a smoother stroke and consequently, travel faster.

3. Paddling Without a Leash

Using a leash when SUP boarding is essential, especially for beginners who are likely to fall off and could become separated from their board quickly, resulting in serious danger. Not only will a leash help you stay attached to your paddleboard at all times, but if you’re SUP surfing, it will also ensure that your board remains in close proximity and will not hit others enjoying the waves.

4. Using Your Arms Alone to Paddle

Many keen paddlers use just their arms to propel themselves across the surface of the water when SUP boarding. However, if you’ve read our guide on how to get in shape for paddleboarding, you’ll know that far more than just your arm muscles are required for a truly successful SUP boarding session. Using your arms alone to paddle will not only cause you to tire very quickly, but your stroke will be weaker causing you to glide at a slower pace. If you engage other muscles in your body such as those in your back, core and legs, you will be able to yield a more powerful stroke while holding your balance more successfully.

Two people SUP boarding on a flat-water lake in the sunshine.

5. Dropping Your Board

Although SUP boards are pretty sturdy, many are made from quite delicate materials such as fibreglass or foam that can damage easily. As such, it is important to handle your paddleboard with care at all times as if you drop it on to the ground, it could chip or split meaning you will no longer be able to use it safely. As well as treating your board with respect and placing it down gently, investing in a board bag will help you to keep it as safe as possible.

6. Standing too Far Forward on Your Board

SUP boarding is all about balance; as such, it is vital to stand in the correct place on your paddleboard to ensure you remain upright throughout your session. A common mistake for SUP novices is standing too far forward on their board, which quickly makes it difficult to control while affecting your balance. A great way to establish whether you are standing in the right place while SUP boarding is to check your position against the board’s carry handles; if you are in line with these, you’re in the prime position!

7. Not Inflating Your SUP Board to Full Capacity

A flaccid paddleboard will make it severely difficult to SUP board, so no matter how long it takes, make sure you inflate your board to its full capacity. Poor inflation will cause your board to lose rigidity, hampering its performance and making it incredibly tricky for you to stand upright without losing your balance. Consequently, whether you have the luxury of inflating your board with an electric pump or pump it up by hand, always make sure it is full of air to guarantee maximum performance. 

While these are just seven of the most common mistakes to avoid, there are plenty more to watch out for. If you are a beginner to SUP boarding and are looking for advice on how to master this popular water sport, check out our blog on paddleboarding FAQs debunked or get in touch with our team here at F-One Kites who will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, visit our online stand up paddleboard shop to find all your SUP essentials today!