For a beginner of stand up paddle boarding, there are several necessary SUP skills to learn and one of them is learning how to stand up on your paddle board the first time you get on it. Balancing on the board can be a real problem for certain people and it even gets more difficult when you try to stand up on the board. Here are some useful tips that can help you stand up more steadily when riding a paddle board for the first time.
To begin with, you need to find a paddleboard that’s suitable for your size. If you are not too confident about your balancing, then you should probably go for a wider board. 32’’ is a common size for all-around inflatable paddle boards and it’s very suitable for beginners. For those who have great balance, a 30’’ board would be a great choice. And there are wider boards as well. Wider boards translate to better stability and can make standing up on the board much easier for unexperienced SUP paddlers. If possible, find a local rental shop to try out boards of different sizes/widths before actually buying one to find out which size suits you best.
For first-timers, it’s not a wise decision to try to push your limits the first time you get on a paddle board. With that being said, the most ideal choice of location for your first SUP session would be a place with calm, flat water. And since the weather can change easily, if you find a location that you think is suitable today, be sure to check out the weather forecast and see if there’s going to be rain or wind tomorrow. Weather conditions like that can make your first SUP session potentially dangerous, especially when you are just a beginner without so much experience.
Now it’s time to try to stand up. Before actually doing that, there’s one more thing left to do and that is to adjust your paddle to a length that’s suitable for your height. There’s a generally accepted standard which is 6 inches taller than you.
when you start to stand up and paddle, your toes will play an important role in helping you balance. So if you want to stand up and paddle more easily and steadily the first time you ride on a SUP, going barefoot is actually not a bad idea. If you choose to wear shoes, wet suits flip flops, or boots, it might increase the chance of getting cramps.
After getting on the board, it’s for the best you get the board moving as soon as possible because that’s when the board is most stable. So before you try to stand and get to your feet, start paddling on your knees first. It would be ideal if you are going downwind because the wind can help push you forward and get the board moving more quickly.
When trying to stand up, keep in mind that it’s important to have your feet in the right position before and after standing up. After standing up, you might not want to move because you will risk losing your balance. So before you attempt to stand up, make sure your feet are in the correct position so you don’t have to make adjustments after standing up. Usually, the most stable part of a board is around the handles. So try and have your feet parallel either side of the handle when standing and keep your feet wide apart. The wider your feet are, the more stable you’ll feel when standing up.
Start to move from your knees to your feet. Place your feet where your knees were and stand up. If the board is a little wobbly, take it slow. If you stand up too fast, the board may slide from underneath you. The paddle is a good tool to help you balance while trying to stand up. Try and get your paddle back in the water and continue to paddle when standing up to maintain the forward momentum to gain more stability. If the board starts to wobble, which it probably will, keep your knees bent slightly and it will help to absorb the small wobbles. Try and keep looking forward and avoid looking down because if you do, you might feel a force that’s dragging you down and getting you back on your knees and you are likely to fall into the water while getting back down.
Keep paddling with big strokes with the paddle blade in the water completely as much as you can to keep the board moving forward at a relatively fast speed to maintain stability. So when you have the chance, paddle as hard as you can, it can do no wrong.
If you are starting your first SUP session with other paddleboarding beginners, there’s no need to be competitive. Don’t try and rush into standing on the board. It’s important to take your time to get the hang of some basic skills like strokes and taking a turn on your knees.
If you don’t have a very good balance, it’s okay to kneel in the beginning but just don’t get too comfortable with it. At some point, you are going to have to try and stand up. So as soon as you are used to being on your board on the water, start taking a shot and standing up. If you kneel too long, your leg and feet will only get very uncomfortable and numb.
When actually standing on the board, just relax and don’t worry about falling in. Don’t let the thought of falling in stop you from trying. If wearing a wet suit or going swimming before you start can help make you less worried, then go for it. The more relaxed you are the less you’re going to be afraid of falling in.