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Essential Safety and Skill Tips for Beginner Stand-Up Paddle Boarders

Essential Safety and Skill Tips for Beginner Stand-Up Paddle Boarders

Stand-up paddle boarding is a fast-growing water sport that’s great for recreational purposes and a water-based workout. As with any sport, there are right and wrong ways to execute the techniques involved, and it takes practice and patience to master the techniques. It all starts with learning the right way to do things, and the below safety and skill tips for beginner stand-up paddle boarders help you take up this new hobby successfully.

Advice for Novice Stand-Up Paddle Boarders

  • New stand-up paddle boarders have an easier time with the increased stability of a wider, longer, and thicker board; typical upper-limit dimensions are 32 inches wide by 12 inches long by 5 inches thick
  • Use a leash to attach your lower leg to the paddle board
  • Consider wearing a personal flotation device, especially if you’re not a strong swimmer
  • In general, the paddle should be 6 to 10 inches taller than you; shoot for the upper end of this range for flat water paddling and the shorter end for surf paddling
  • Make sure the board’s facing the right way! The fins should be in the back
  • Start out in calm water; don’t take on choppy water until you’ve gotten the hang of paddle boarding
  • Don’t stand-up paddle board in water with a swift current or drops
  • Walk the paddle board out far enough into the water that its fin is clear of the bottom
  • First get on the board on your knees and paddle a few time on each side, then slowly and carefully stand up, one foot at a time, staying in the middle of the board with your feet facing forward, parallel, and shoulder-width apart, and your knees bent a little
  • It’s tempting to look down at your feet and board, but keep your head up and gaze out at the horizon
  • While paddling, keep one hand on the top of the paddle and the other hand in the middle of the shaft, with the lower arm held straight; don’t hold it like a broom!
  • Keep your hands about shoulder-width apart on the paddle; if they’re too close, you won’t have any power in your strokes
  • Extend the paddle and put it into the water as far forward as possible, and keep the paddle’s blade angled away from you (the opposite of how you’d do it if you were kayaking)
  • Get your paddling force from your core and back muscles, not your arms
  • When going straight, paddle four or five times on one side, then the same on the other side, swapping your arm positions on each side
  • Turn by paddling on the opposite side of the direction you want to go, with your body angled slightly toward the direction you want to go; crouch down a bit lower
  • When you fall—which you will—fall away from your board; you don’t want it to hit you once you’re in the water
  • Always maintain a safe distance from other people and watercraft
  • Never stand-up paddle board under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Don’t go out alone! Paddle boarding is safer and much more fun with a friend or family member!

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