Stand up paddle boarding is a fun and accessible water sport. SUP is a mix of surfing and kayaking. You can explore shorelines and rivers once you learn a few basic techniques. This water sport is quickly becoming popular since anyone can practice it and the sensation of gliding over the water is very relaxing. Here are the techniques you need to master to get started with SUP.
Transporting Your Paddle
Transporting your paddle won’t be an issue if you sign up for a beginner’s class. However, you need to know how to attach your paddle on a rack on top of your vehicle and how to carry it to the water if you want to explore remote locations.
This might not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about learning how to paddle board, but transporting a large board that can catch the wind might be difficult in some spots.
Securing Your Stand-Up Board On Top Of A Vehicle
You need to install a rack on top of your vehicles to safely transport your equipment. Loading your paddle on top of your vehicle is easier if you always keep the paddle parallel to the vehicle to avoid catching the wind.
Start by leaning your board against your vehicle. Place the tail of the board against the ground. If possible, use your vehicle as a shelter from the wind.
Lift your board and pivot it so that the tail is pointed towards the back of your vehicle. Lift the paddle board and secure it on the rack. You might need to invest in a small ladder so you can easily lift your paddle and secure it on top of your vehicle.
Carrying Your Board To The Water
If you are trying SUP in an area with no wind, you should be able to carry your paddle under your arm. You will find a carry handle in the middle of the board.
If the wind is blowing, it will be easier to transport your paddle board by balancing it on top of your head. The trick is to lift your board and set it on top of your head without catching the wind.
Place your paddle board on the ground, and kneel next to the tail of the board. Grab the edges of the board and lift the tail of the board.
Get under your board and place your head under the midpoint of the board. This corresponds to where the carry handle is. You can then slowly lift your paddle board as you get up. Carrying the paddle board to the water should be easy if you keep it parallel to the ground.
Standing Up On Your Board
This is one of the first things you need to learn if you are interested in SUP. You will probably need to practice for a while before you feel comfortable standing on your board. If possible, find a quiet spot with shallow water so you can work on your balance.
Start by standing in the water next to your paddle board. Hold on to the edges of the board, and slide one knee on the board.
Try to stay as close as possible to the midpoint of the board. Slide your other knee on the board. You should now be in a kneeling position on your board.
Getting up one foot at a time will probably cause you to lose your balance. It is easier to stand up on your board if you sit straight up with your knees bent under you and slowly extend your legs.
Practice this movement at home before trying SUP for the first time. You can keep your balance by keeping your torso straight and by extending your legs slowly.
Keeping Your Balance
Keeping your balance can be challenging at first. Stay away from areas with wind and surf until you feel comfortable on your SUP.
Always be mindful of your posture when you are on your board. Your feet should be parallel at all times and should be placed at an equal distance from the edges of the board. Don’t keep your feet too far apart. This will make maneuvering the board difficult. Your feet should always point towards the front of the board.
The secret to keeping your balance on a stand-up board is to slightly bend your knees. This will allow you to use your hips to maintain your balance.
Make sure you keep your back straight and look at the horizon.
Holding Your Paddle
It is important to hold your paddle properly so you can get enough traction in the water and propel your board. Be mindful of the angle of your paddle. The blade of your paddle should be angled away from you and toward the front of your board.
Keep one hand on the T-grip of your paddle at all times. The other hand should grip the paddle below the T-grip. Choose a spot that feels comfortable.
Your left hand should be on the T-grip of the paddle when paddling to the right of your board, and your right hand should be on the T-grip when you paddle on the left side of your board.
You need to master these three paddling techniques to fully enjoy SUP.
This is the first paddling technique you need to learn. You will use the forward stroke to propel your board over the water.
Remember to hold your paddle properly. Reach towards the front of your board, and push the paddle down in the water. You will need to pull on the paddle to get your board to move forward.
You shouldn’t reach more than two feet forward and pull on the paddle until it is aligned with your feet. You can then pull the paddle out of the water and wait a few seconds before the next stroke as the board will keep gliding over the water.
Keep your paddle vertical when performing this move. You can accidentally steer your board if your paddle isn’t perfectly vertical.
It is impossible to glide in a perfectly straight line when using the forward stroke. You will have to keep correcting your trajectory by paddling on the other side of your board. There is no need to switch sides after each stroke. You can do three or four forward strokes on one side before switching to maintain your trajectory.
Be mindful of your posture when using the forward stroke. Keep your arms straight and use your torso to control your paddle. You should primarily rely on the hand that is on the T-grip of the paddle when pulling.
This move is similar to the forward stroke, but it allows you to slow down or stop. It is also useful for turning in the water. You can turn the front of your board towards the side on which you perform a reverse stroke.
You should start by reaching behind you. Plunge the blade of the paddle in the water, and pull back so that your feet are aligned with your paddle. You will have to twist your torso to perform this move.
Mastering the sweep stroke allows you to maneuver your board with precision. You can use the sweep stroke to turn whether you are standing still or gliding over the water. If you perform a sweep stroke on the right side of your board, the front of the board will turn to the left.
The sweep stroke consists of forming an arc under the water. You will need to practice this move to form a perfect arc and get your board to go where you want to.
Start by reaching toward the front of the board. Plunge the paddle under the water, and trace a large arc while keeping the blade of the paddle under the water. Your arc should start at the front of the board and end at the tail. Your paddle should be at the furthest point from your board when it is aligned with the midpoint.
The secret to forming a perfect arc is to use your legs and hips.
Getting Back On Your Board
You are probably going to fall from your board during the learning process. Always try to fall to the side to avoid injuries.
Don’t let go of your paddle when you fall. Invest in a good wrist strap to avoid losing it. If you let go of your paddle, grab your board first, get back on it, and paddle with your hands to reach your paddle.
The easiest way to get back on your board is to get to the side of your SUP board. Get as close to the midpoint of the board asFspot possible. Grab the handle with one hand, and relax so that your legs will float to the surface of the water.
You can then slowly slide your entire body on the board. You will lose your balance again if you try to get up before your entire body is on the board. Adopt a kneeling position and slowly extend your legs to get back up on your board.
These are some of the most important SUP techniques you need to master as a beginner. Think about signing up for SUP classes so you can learn these techniques with an experienced instructor.