For a beginner of stand up paddle boarding, the most difficult part must be balancing on the paddleboard.
Here are a few useful tips for you beginners to quickly learn how to balance on a stand up paddleboard.
1. Get the most suitable gear for yourself
A suitable inflatable stand up paddle board and a paddle of the right size for you play a key role in learning how to balance on a paddle board, especially on an inflatable SUP board. The more you weight, the taller you are, the bigger your paddle board should be. And the most important parameter is the width. The wider the paddleboard, the easier it is for you to balance on it. As time goes, your skills will advance and you will be able to balance nicely on smaller board.
2. How to get on the board
If you are just starting to learn how to paddle board, it’s recommended that you find a place that allows you to get on your paddle board from a standing position, like shallow water. Also, a dock would be a great place to launch your SUP board, too. But that would require other techniques.
Here is how you can get on the board safely when you are standing in shallow water. Firstly, get on your knees on the board. It’s always necessary to make sure you are right in the middle where the paddle is because that’s usually the center of the weight. If you are too far back, the tail will sink into the water, and so will the nose of the paddleboard if you are too far forward. So if you want to get on the board safely and steadily without falling into the water, always make sure you are right in the middle of the board.
Once you get used to kneeling on the board and are able to balance perfectly, you can try standing up. If you are still struggling to balance when you are kneeling, you might need a wider board to be able to balance properly. A bigger and wider board would be able to provide you with more stability, thus making it easier for you to balance on it. If you struggle to balance even when you are kneeling, it could be even more difficult for you to get into the standing position.
After getting on the board kneeling, try and take a few strokes and see how things go. You don’t have to hold the paddle from the top, try holding it shorter and take a few strokes to get the board moving.
3. How to stand up
After kneeling on the board for a while, get ready to stand up and have a real paddle boarding experience. If possible, try going into the wind first. And then put the paddle in front of you, put your feet where your knees were and then stand up. Don’t look down while you are trying to stand up and start paddling immediately.
Some people might have stiff knees and they could have a hard time trying to get from the kneeling position to the standing position. So here’s another way for such people to stand up. Put the paddle in front of you and slowly get from the kneeling position to standing position and use the paddle as a support to help you stand up. It might not be a easier way to stand up but it works for certain people. And always stay in the middle of the board to make sure that your paddleboard is flat on the water.
4. Keep your knees bent and your upper body forward
Keep your knees slightly bent after standing up and look forward. Try not to look down at the board and avoid to be hunched over or bent forward.
5. Keep the paddle in the water
After you start to paddle, always keep your paddle board in the water. If you start to lose your balance, get low and put your paddle board in the water. The further you get the paddle out to the side, the more stability it’s going to provide you.
6. Stand right in the middle
As is mentioned previously, smaller SUP boards tend to be less stable. And it’s more important to stand in the middle while you use a relatively small board. If you put some weight further back, you will notice that the tail will sink and the board gets less stable. So the center is always the best and most stable position. Unless you want to turn the board quickly, stick to the center. If you do want to move forward or backward, try making small jumps. If you move around by unweighting one foot, the board is going to get extremely unstable. The best way to do that is making small jumps.
When starting to learn how to paddle board, it’s natural to struggle to balance on the board, all you need is practice and you will be able to stand on the board steadily in no time. And be sure to get yourself a good inflatable stand up paddle board. If you haven’t gotten one, go check out the Goosehill Rainbow R Inflatable SUP board. It’s one of the most excellent inflatalbe paddle board under $600. Get yourself a nice SUP board and enjoy your time on the water.