Frequent Stand Up Paddle Boarding Mistakes

Paddle boarding is a very unique sport. It can be as complicated and intricate or as simple and laidback as you want. Whatever your preference is all paddlers need to follow these rules to not look like a loser.

To err is human. To err on a SUP board is all too common for beginners and veterans alike. Listed below are 13 paddle boarding violations that can lead to imprisonment in North Korea. Though you probably won’t serve a hard time here in the US you will very likely be socially castigated by your paddle-boarding peers so please take heed of these important points we're about to bestow you with.

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1. Your paddle is backward

Most newbies ask the question, "how do you know if your paddle is backwards?" Your chiseled abs and new Volcom board shorts will not even be noticed when everyone on the beach starts screaming at you to turn your paddle around. When paddle boarding, your paddle’s blade should be bent away from you. An easy way to remember this when using Glide paddles is that the logo should always be facing forward, just as the glass side of a smartphone should be positioned towards its owner’s face.

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2. Keeping your board in direct sunlight

The sun is a hot orb of gas that, in addition to making life on Earth possible, can also damage your SUP board. Never keep your paddle board (hard or inflatable) in the direct sunlight on land for an extended period of time. This heat can delaminate your hard paddle board and potentially damage the seams of your inflatable paddle board. Additionally, the color of your paddle board will fade from ongoing direct exposure.


3. Paddling at an angle

A good paddle stroke separates beginners from the experts. A poor stroke is not only embarrassing but will slow you down. Your paddle should always be perpendicular to your board when it enters the water, never at an angle. This technique will allow you to get considerably more power and action out of each SUP stroke.

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4. Not doing your homework before going to a new SUP spot

Imagine inadvertently paddling over Niagara Falls. A few minutes of advance homework about a new SUP destination can oftentimes prevent such tragedies from happening. The importance of understanding the nuances of an unfamiliar paddling spot cannot be overstated.

What is the forecasted wind condition? Will the tide be in or out during your stay? Do Piranhas frequent this ecosystem? Just be smart and do your SUP research before you head out.

Also, if you have a hard paddle board, it’s important to figure out if you can park near your paddle destination. No one wants to schlep a SUP board a mile from their car to a water access point.


5. Not inflating your board to the recommended PSI

In order to enjoy a wonderful day on the water while not sinking, please inflate your board to a minimum of 12 PSI. Additionally, do not attempt to inflate a non-inflatable SUP board. Keeping your iSUP properly inflated will assure board rigidity and increase performance. You want your iSUP paddle board to be inflated to its suggested PSI so it floats and paddles to its full capabilities.


6. Forgetting to use a leash

Always use a leash on a SUP board. Forgetting to do this is all too easy so we’ve come up with a catchphrase to help remind you: “Pet a pup, leash a SUP”. A leash will keep your paddle board close to you so that when you inevitably fall in you won’t have to wear yourself out swimming after your SUP.

If you fall in and there is the wind, a current, or even a breeze on a lake, river, or in the ocean, your board will catch the wind and literally sail away from you. Also, if you’re SUP surfing a leash will protect your heavy SUP board from inadvertently killing other surfers in the lineup.



7. Strapping your board to your car’s roof the wrong way

Please do not assume that your SUP board simply needs to be hoisted atop your car’s roof to be safely check-listed for transport. Science tells us that the board must be anchored to the car itself by way of wonderful straps. Here is an informational “how-to” video that explains the process.


8. Standing too far forward on your board

One of the most common SUP mistakes that first-timers make is standing too far forward on their boards. As a general rule of thumb, if the butt of your board is several feet out of the water then you are too far forward. Most surfers have experienced “pearling” which occurs when the board rider is too far forward on the surfboard.

Same principle here. Most paddle-boards have carry handles at the center of the deck pad. This carry handle can act as a marker for where you should stand on your board.

In addition, standing too far back on your board will make it considerably more difficult to control. Proper positioning while paddling will enhance the glide and tracking of your SUP board.


9. Looking down at your board when paddling

Never look down while you’re paddle-boarding. If you do, there is a good chance you will lose your balance and plummet into the water. A solid tip to maintain stability while paddling is to focus on something on shore or in the water and then begin to paddle towards that object.

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10. Not gripping your hand on top of your paddle

Whichever side you may be paddling on, it’s important (and more comfortable) to have your hand gripping the top of your paddle. If you’re paddling on the right side of your board, your left hand should grip the top and vice-versa for paddling on the left side. Practice this motion with your paddle on land prior to heading out on the water. Alert people nearby what you are doing so that they aren’t overly concerned for their safety.


11. SUP Surfing in a packed lineup

If there’s one thing that surfers hate in the lineup, it’s a stand up paddle boarder hoarding all the waves. To avoid tongue lashings or assault from locals, go SUP surfing at spots where the lineup isn’t crowded. It’s common sense. Don’t paddle out at popular surf breaks, instead, paddle in between those breaks where the crowd is dispersed and the waves are still fun.


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12. Not checking the weather before you leave your house

Always be sure to check the weather forecast of the destination you plan to paddle, especially if this destination is over an hour away. The last thing you want is to be SUPing in the midst of a typhoon. If the forecast calls for triple-digit temperatures you will not require ear muffs. If meteorologists issue a blizzard warning you should consider rescheduling your SUP outing.


13. Forgetting to bring water and snacks

Paddle boarding can be a deceptive full-body workout. Proper hydration is key. Many SUP enthusiasts bring snacks along with them for an extra boost of energy along the way.

There is no hard and fast rule as to what kind of snack is best. For us it’s baklava. Some SUP enthusiasts prefer cheese, others have a proclivity for a sandwich. It’s exciting to think of all the snack options that are out there.

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There's a lot of important information to know before you become a SUP champion, but we help you breakdown that process more here.

There's no point in waiting and practicing these things in your room, take it outside and prove to yourself that you can paddle better than anyone else with your new knowledge.


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