Basics of Paddle Boarding

Introduction To Paddle Boarding
It is no secret that participation in all types of physical activities boosts your health and battles stress. Watersports in particular, are gaining popularity among enthusiasts and hardcore athletes for their low physical impact and reduced risk of injury. Add to that the fun of being in the cool water, and you have a recipe for hours of endless fun. One of the water based sports you may enjoy is Stand Up Paddle Boarding or SUP. An offshoot of surfing, the sport originated in Hawaii and involves maintaining an upright stance on a board while using a paddle to navigate through the water. The remarkable popularity of this sport propelled it to the most popular outdoor sporting activity with the highest number of first-time participants of any sport in the US.

Increasing Popularity
A look back at the basics of paddle boarding shows this sport first caught on in 2004, spreading all around the world, making the age-old art of surfing popular once again. The surfing industry, stuck in its heydays of the 1960s, has also been revitalized with an increasing number of participants taking to stand up paddle boarding. The biggest attraction for most is that everyone is welcome, beginners included. Unlike traditional surfing which was becoming limited to a very specific group of people, stand up paddle boarding opened up access to all kinds of surfers instantly. Lets take a look at the basics of paddle boarding to help you jump right in!

The Basics:

Before you get started, here are some of the basics of paddle boarding that you should keep in mind:
1. Gear:

  • The minimum essentials you need to fully enjoy this sport include a stand up paddle board, paddle, personal flotation device, a wetsuit or other appropriate clothing, and leash that tethers you to the board.
  • Experts recommend using sunscreen and sunglasses to stay protected from harmful UV rays.

2. Techniques on Water:

  • Start out in calm water, in an area with no obstacles. You may find it easier to kneel at first.
  • Try standing alongside the board in shallow water with your paddle placed across the deck like an outrigger. Hold the board by the rails and climb on while kneeling.
  • Once you have a feel of the balance, keep your hands on either side of the board and try to stand up. Bring along a friend to stabilize the board if you need.

3. The Stance:

  • Stay on top of the game by maintaining a proper stance. Keep your feet parallel, about hip width apart, centered between the rails with toes pointed forward. Your knees should be slightly bent and back straight. Strike a balance with your hips, keeping your head and shoulders upright.

4. Paddling:

  •  Your hand on the side you are paddling should be lower on the shaft, with the other hand on top of the paddle grip.
  • Keep your arms straight and twist your torso to paddle.
  • Push the paddle blade all the way under the water, pull it back, and then out of the water for most efficient paddling.