As a new trend in water sports, paddle boarding has had its fair share of attention from the public in recent years. More and more people are taking their interest in the sport. One of the characteristics of paddle boarding is that it’s easy for people of all ages. But there are still things a paddle boarding beginner should know. So here we’ve rounded up several important tips for paddle boarding beginners.
Getting the right board and leash
You have a choice between surf, flatwater, and all-around paddle boards and they can either be inflatable or hardboards. As a beginner, it's advised to start with a simple all-around paddleboard to get the hang of maneuvering before choosing a specialized board. All-around boards are the largest (11 feet long), thicker, and more stable; which are critical features for enhanced safety. Some other specs you should consider when getting a board are your height and weight. You want a board that complements your size and works with you when you're on the water, not against you. A board that is too small may not handle you well in more challenging waves. A board that is too big may be challenging to control. Have a talk with a representative in a shop you're buying your board from and they'll be happy to give recommendations. It's always recommended you pick up your board from big names like Goosehill to ensure the board's performance and durability.
A leash is a key safety feature you must have before you take off. There are two kinds of leashes you can get; those that attach on the ankle and others that go on just below the knees. Although the choice often depends on your preference on which feels most comfortable, lots of other SUPers prefer ankle leashes because they tend to be gentler on the ligaments and easier to maneuver with. Ankle leashes are often rated as the most comfortable and easy to use in cases of falling off the board.
The efficient way to paddle
It's often recommended that you take a course before you take on the waters on your own. On the other hand, some have found it easier to learn on their own. Whichever route you use, you should know how to operate your paddle.
The recommended length your paddle should be is about as tall as your slightly outstretched arm is when reaching over your head. Most paddles come with an adjustable knob for you to adjust for this height. Once you're on the board standing up and want to move, you'll use your paddle to steer and accelerate. To accelerate, you will be paddling front to back for about five to seven times on each side. To turn, you will have to move towards the back of your board to allow the front end to have some room to lift and move. Once you're in a good position on the board, you'll paddle from the back of the board towards the front. To stay balanced, it's critical that you engage your core muscles and legs which will give stability to the board.
Fall the right way
Now that you have your leash and your paddling technique figured out, you need to be ready for the worst case scenario--falling. For beginners, you'll be lucky if you don't fall a couple of times when learning. However, it's quite natural to fail before getting the technique down. In cases of falls, you want to be sure that you're falling to avoid injuries. To do this, you'll need to remember to always fall away from your board and not seek to hold on to it as you fall. In other words, embrace the fall onto the water. This is important if you use a hard paddle board which may get you hurt by falling on them. If you are afraid of getting injured, get an inflatable SUP, they are softer than hard boards and less likely to get you hurt when you fall. An inflatable paddle board is also cheaper, lighter and more durable than a hard board. Also important is to avoid falling feet first into shallow waters as you may hit rocks or sharp objects. So, fall on your side to minimize the length you'll delve into the water. Getting back on to the board may be intimidating after the first few falls, but if you stay relaxed and focus on keeping the balance, you'll be fine. Once you're in the water, focus on keeping your feet behind you and floating as your chest leans on the board. You can take a few minutes to catch your breath before getting back onto the board. Once ready, hold on to the handle in the middle of the board with one hand and reach the other arm to the opposite edge of the board to pull up on the board from your chest to your knees. Once on the board, take a few minutes to regain balance on your knees before getting back on your feet.
Although paddleboarding is generally easy to start, but a few useful beginner tips would go a long way to make it enjoyable even from the beginning. By following the above paddle boarding tips you should be able to have a good start. After mastering the basic skills, you can even choose to go paddle boarding with dogs. When trying a new activity on a SUP like fishing, learning the necessary SUP fishing tips is always needed, so is other activities. All in all, it's a sport that can bring you tons of fun.