Learn SUP Skills and techniques before you head out on water

Last updated on Apr 15, 2022 by Goosehill

Table of contents

1. How to Set up a paddle board.

2. How to stand up and keep balance on your SUP.

3. How to paddling forward and turning your board.

4. Falling and getting back on.

5. How many types of paddle boarding are there.

6. How to choose the right inflatable paddle board.

7. How to look after your paddle board.

Set up a paddle board in less than 10 minutes

  • To get started, take out the contents of the bag and unroll the paddle board. 
  • Once the paddle board is unrolled, locate the inflation valve on top of the board and the pin inside. Twist to make the pin spring into the upright position. This will stop air from escaping after your board is inflated. 
  • Next, take out the pump and connect the hose with the nozzle end to the inflation valve on the board. To do this, push the hose down and twist clockwise to lock it into place.
  • Then, attach the other end of the hose to the hand pump and push the feet of the pump into the ground for leverage as you begin to inflate. On the back of the pump is a small dial. When the dial is turned to the right, the pump will push air into your board as you push down and pull up on the pump handle to help expedite the process. 
  • Start pumping! The needle on the gauge won’t begin to move until the board hits around 7psi of air. Note, there is a significant difference between a deflated board and 7psi. Visually, the board will look practically full once you reach that threshold. Continue to pump until the board is hard and fully inflated — around 12-15psi. Once the board is fully inflated, secure the cap on the inflation valve. No need to worry about over-inflating, Goosehill hand pump will prevent the board from taking in too much air! 
  • Place the screw with the plate at the bottom into the fin box so that the bolt is pointed thread end upward. The superbolt should be towards the nose end of the fin box. Next, fit the fin into the box, aligning the previously placed bolt to go through the hole at the base of the fin. Tightly fasten the nut to the bolt to secure the fin in place.  Finally, attach the leash. Locate the metal d-ring at the tail of the paddle board and loop the leash tie through it.
  • Take the velcro strip and loop it through the leash tie. The other end of this will go around your ankle once you are on the board.

Standing up and keep balance on your SUP 

Practice this technique for standing up:

  • Stand alongside the board in about knee-deep water (just deep enough that the fins on the board don’t hit the bottom).
  • Hold the board by the edges and work your way onto the board in a kneeling position, just behind the center point of the board (you can quickly locate the center of the board by finding the carry handle).
  • Keep your hands on the sides of the board to stabilize it and move one foot at a time to place your feet where your knees were.
  • Rather than standing up in one motion, start by raising your chest up while keeping your knees bent. Once your chest is vertical, extend your legs to stand up.

Once you’re standing, there are a handful of things you can do to maintain your balance on the board:

  • Position your feet so they are parallel, about hip-width distance apart, and centered between the edges of the board.
  • Keep your toes pointed forward, knees slightly bent and your back straight.
  • Keep your head and shoulders steady and upright, and shift your weight by moving your hips.
  • Your gaze should be level at the horizon. Avoid staring at your feet.

Paddling forward and turning your board

This basic stroke propels your board forward through the water.

  • Plant the paddle in the water by reaching about two feet forward, then push the blade all the way under the surface. Move the paddle back through the water to your ankle, then out of the water.
  • Keep your arms straight and twist from your torso as you paddle. Push down on the paddle grip with your top hand rather than pulling the paddle back with your lower arm. It’s helpful for some people to think of pulling the board past the paddle rather than pulling the paddle through the water.
  • To go in a reasonably straight line, you’ll need to alternate strokes on either side of the board. There’s no set number of strokes per side; try about three or four strokes on one side, then switch to the other.
  • The more vertical you keep the paddle, the straighter you will go.

The sweep stroke is useful for turning your board while standing still or moving.

  • If you’re paddling on the right, rotate your shoulders so that your right shoulder comes forward.
  • Reach forward and plant your paddle in the water, submerging the entire blade.
  • Sweep the paddle away from the board in a big arcing motion from the nose of the board to the tail by rotating your torso and using the leverage of your legs and hips.
  • Doing the sweep stroke on the right side of your board will turn the board to the left and vice versa.

Falling and getting back on

Despite your best efforts to stay balanced on your board, you’re going to fall in the water at some point. Even experienced paddlers take the plunge from time to time, so if you’re feeling a little wobbly, don’t worry about it and remember that SUP is a watersport.

For those inevitable times when you lose your balance:

  • Aim yourself to the side, so that you fall into the water and not onto the board. Falling onto the board is more likely to cause an injury.
  • Try to hang onto your paddle while falling. If you get separated from it, retrieve your board first and get back on, then paddle with your hands to get the paddle.

To get back on your SUP after falling off:

  • Position yourself next to your board and near the center.
  • Grab the handle at the center of the board with one hand.
  • Let your legs float up to the surface behind you, then kick your legs while pulling on the handle to slide yourself onto the board.
SUP sport
stand up paddle board

Types of Paddle Boards

SUP is a large board that yuu can stand atop and maneuver using a paddle. They can be used for sitting and relaxing, or for fitness like SUP yoga, racing or even overnight touring.

  • Solid: These SUPs are made of a foam core commonly wrapped in epoxy and fiberglass, but also carbon fiber (more expensive) and plastic (less expensive). Solid SUPs offer the best performance and stability, but they take up a lot of space.
  • Inflatable: Instead of featuring a foam core, these use air to provide buoyancy and stability. While softer than solid boards, they are still very sturdy when properly inflated. Inflatable paddle boards are better for casual paddlers or those with limited space to store their board.
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board | Goosehill Sailor SUP goosehill
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board | Goosehill Sailor SUP goosehill
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board
All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board

All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board | Goosehill Sailor SUP

Reinforced Inflatable SUP Board | All-Around | Goosehill ISUP goosehill
Reinforced Inflatable SUP Board | All-Around | Goosehill ISUP goosehill
Reinforced Inflatable SUP Board | All-Around | Goosehill ISUP goosehill
Reinforced Inflatable SUP Board | All-Around | Goosehill ISUP goosehill
Reinforced Inflatable SUP Board | All-Around | Goosehill ISUP goosehill
Reinforced Inflatable SUP Board | All-Around | Goosehill ISUP goosehill
Reinforced Inflatable SUP Board | All-Around | Goosehill ISUP goosehill
Reinforced Inflatable SUP Board | All-Around | Goosehill ISUP goosehill
Reinforced Inflatable SUP Board | All-Around | Goosehill ISUP goosehill
Reinforced Inflatable SUP Board | All-Around | Goosehill ISUP goosehill
Reinforced Inflatable SUP Board | All-Around | Goosehill ISUP goosehill
Reinforced Inflatable SUP Board | All-Around | Goosehill ISUP goosehill
Reinforced Inflatable SUP Board | All-Around | Goosehill ISUP goosehill
Reinforced Inflatable SUP Board | All-Around | Goosehill ISUP goosehill
Reinforced Inflatable SUP Board | All-Around | Goosehill ISUP goosehill
Reinforced Inflatable SUP Board | All-Around | Goosehill ISUP goosehill

Reinforced Inflatable SUP Board | All-Around | Goosehill ISUP

Sailor Touring Inflatable Paddle Board
Sailor Touring Inflatable Paddle Board
Sailor Touring Inflatable Paddle Board
Sailor Touring Inflatable Paddle Board
Sailor Touring Inflatable Paddle Board
Sailor Touring Inflatable Paddle Board
Sailor Touring Inflatable Paddle Board
Sailor Touring Inflatable Paddle Board
Sailor Touring Inflatable Paddle Board
Sailor Touring Inflatable Paddle Board
Sailor Touring Inflatable Paddle Board
Sailor Touring Inflatable Paddle Board

Goosehill Sailor Touring Inflatable Paddle Board

Kids Inflatable Paddle Board
Kids Inflatable Paddle Board
Kids Inflatable Paddle Board
Kids Inflatable Paddle Board
Kids Inflatable Paddle Board
Kids Inflatable Paddle Board
Kids Inflatable Paddle Board
Kids Inflatable Paddle Board
Kids Inflatable Paddle Board
Kids Inflatable Paddle Board
Kids Inflatable Paddle Board
Kids Inflatable Paddle Board

Kids Inflatable Paddle Board | Goosehill SUP boards

Choose the right inflatable paddle board 

Your weight and the type of SUPing you intend to do determine the right size SUP for you. You'll want to look at the board's length and width:

  • Short (under 10'6''): More maneuverable for surfing and a great choice for kids.
  • Medium (10'6''-12'6"): Great for casual use and Sailor Touring.
  • Long (over 12'6"): These are faster and steer straighter, making them great for racing 

Paddle board width generally ranges from 28" to 32". A wider board is great for bigger people or those that want to carry cargo. A narrower board is better for smaller people or more advanced paddlers looking for speed.

Looking after your paddle board

  • Cleaning your SUP

Wash off your paddle board with fresh water after every use. Every once in a while use a lightly water-mixed cleaning solution

  • Lubrication & rust prevention

Once a year, take some basic household oil or WD-40 and lubricate all the metal pieces on your paddle board including the fin hardware in the fin box, the fin tightening bit on the side bites, leash cup bars and any other pieces you find on your paddle board. Even though all the metal components on the board should all be marine grade stainless steel and should not rust, it will keep them working well and make sure that the harsh marine environments don’t cause any harm to the metal components on the board. Also, if non-stainless steel metals touch the stainless steel components then there is still a possibility for galvanic corrosion. In all likelihood, you have nothing to worry about, but its a good idea to do every year or two with your SUP.

  • Paddle board in the sun

Even though these paddle boards were meant to enjoy “fun in the sun,” it’s important to realize that sand, asphalt, or just being laid about anywhere in the sun is not good for your paddle board. Remember that black asphalt gets much hotter then the air temperature of where its at. According to one researcher, asphalt can get 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsisus) above the air temperature. Just as the sun hurts our skin, it hurts the board and greatly increases the risk of a delamination. Plus, some stand up paddle boards have graphics that will fade over time in the sun so be wary of it.

  • Be aware of your paddle board & its surroundings

Be aware of your paddle board and the environment that is around it and avoid anything that is potentially sharp. This seems like a simple one, but it is the most simple things that are the most common and cause the most damage to your SUP. Docks, rocks, your paddle blade hitting your board, kids jumping on your board with the fin installed on the beach, or simply dropping your paddle board on the asphalt when you are taking it off the top of your car are all things to be wary of. Yes, there are always things that you will miss, but just being aware of your surrounding is a key to make sure that you don’t find a random hole in your board.

  • Holes or dings

Speaking of dings or holes in your SUP, regularly (ideally after every paddle) inspect your paddle board for any holes, damage, ware and tear, or anything new that your paddle board seems to have on it. If you do have a problem we recommend taking the paddle board to a professional SUP repair store like supservices one of Goosehill's partner in UK. Also, as a side note, if your paddle board seems to be getting heavier and heavier then it is a good idea to do a completely thorough inspection of your paddle board including fin boxes to make sure that you don’t have a small pin hole that is taking in water.

  • storage

Store your SUP in a location that does not have high temperature fluctuations and is not near any heat source. So many times we talk to people who after they pull out their paddle board from their garage after a cold winter they find that their paddle board has delaminated because it was next to the heater. Delamination occurs when heat causes the fiberglass of the paddle board to separate from the EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) foam core. 

Also, insure that your paddle board does not get any pressure dings by making sure that the paddle board is not resting on any sharp or small surface area items that may cause lines or break the board if things are put on top of the paddle board. Keep in mind that these are really more of guidelines and that like everything, eventually life will happen to your stand up paddle board. 

As long as you follow these guidelines then you should be extending the life of your stand up paddle board. If you follow these guidelines then your board should stay looking better and maintain its value over years.

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