Stand-up paddle boarding, or SUP, is known for its accessibility. One only needs to find their balance on a board before they are able to begin exploring new landscapes across the country, from coastal waters to tranquil lakes.
However, while beginners are likely to find themselves getting the hang of paddle boarding quickly when compared with other watersports, there remain a few considerations that should be taken into account, not only for one’s safety but to ensure that the experience is made easy and enjoyable.
So, if you’re interested in picking up one of the fastest-growing watersports in the world this summer, we’re sharing six essential tips to ensure you have a great experience.
Consider Your Launch
Even confident paddle boarders can find their confidence shaken when first getting out onto the water. It is launching against the waves and finding one’s first sense of balance that tends to be the trickiest challenge. Firstly, it’s best to launch on calm waters and on a day without too much wind. Then, once you’re ready, choose a shallow spot, preferably with soft ground, such as sand, and kneel on your board until it’s under your control.
Keep Yourself Tethered
Ensuring that you and your paddle board cannot be too far separated is a fundamental safety consideration when out on the water. This is why an ankle harness, or leash, is recommended. The cord simply attaches comfortably to your ankle and will ensure that, in the event of going overboard, you’ll be able to quickly and safely regain control of your board and climb back on top.
Choose The Right Board
If you are planning on buying your first board, you may soon realize that not all boards are identical. In fact, some are specifically designed for different physiques and abilities, which is why it’s important to find the right SUP for you. Choosing the right board will make the experience even more enjoyable as you will be able to navigate the water with less effort, whereas hurrying your decision and choosing the wrong board will potentially increase the required effort and reduce the amount of fun.
Being out on the water requires a few considerations and, whether you choose to paddleboard on a hot or cold day, you may need to choose a different outfit. During the summer, it’s important to remain cool and protected from the sun, being sure to have sunglasses or a hat to protect your eyes from glare. Then, during winter, be sure to cover your hands and feet or else you may soon find yourself losing grip in the cold.
Look Up, Not Down
There’s a tendency for beginners to watch their feet and the water when first paddle boarding but this is a mistake that will quickly see beginners fall into the water. Instead, to support your balance, you should try to maintain your gaze upon the horizon, staring in the direction you wish to paddle.
Practice Your Mount
While there is little risk when riding a paddleboard, falling into the water can, at first, feel a little scary. Much of this anxiety comes from the prospect of having to climb atop your SUP when in the water. To deter this potential stress, it is recommended that beginners spend a small amount of time practising their mounting skills when floating in the water, helping to build confidence.