How to Paddle a SUP

Paddle boarding is an invigorating sport that combines balance, strength, and serenity on the water. While the prospect of standing up and paddling on a SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) might seem daunting at first, a bit of guidance and practice can quickly turn apprehension into proficiency. Here’s your beginner's guide to finding your balance, mastering the paddle, and enjoying every moment on the water.

Getting Started: Standing Up

The initial challenge for many is simply standing up on the board. The key is not to fear falling—everyone does it! Wear a swimsuit, expect to get wet, and embrace the learning process with a smile.

 

  1. Find Your Kneeling Position: Begin by kneeling on the board with your legs on either side of the handle.
  2. Position Your Paddle: Lay the paddle across the board in front of you. You can hold onto it or grab it as you stand.
  3. Stand Up Slowly: Place your hands on the board for support, bring one foot forward at a time to replace your knees, then rise to a squat and up to standing, keeping your knees slightly bent.

 

Someone about to stand up on a SUP

Holding the Paddle

Proper grip and paddle length are crucial for an effective stroke.

  • Grip: For left-side paddling, your right hand should be on the grip at the paddle's end, with your left hand on the shaft. Keep your hands just over shoulder width apart.
  • Paddle Length: Adjust your paddle so it’s about five inches above your head. A slight bend in your elbow indicates the correct length.

 Holding a SUP paddle correctly

Mastering Your Stroke

Understanding the dynamics of paddling is essential for maintaining direction and stability.

  • Standard Stroke: Keep the paddle close to the board, submerge the blade fully, and pull back towards you. This increases stability and helps keep a straight course.
  • Sweep Stroke: Use this wider, curved stroke to correct direction in windy or choppy conditions. It helps turn the board more efficiently.

A variety of paddle sizes for different paddlers

Common Beginner Questions

  • Why Are SUP Paddles Angled? The forward angle helps direct all your effort into moving forward, rather than lifting water, which would waste energy.
  • Falling Off and Getting Back On: If you fall, swim back to your board first. Use the center of the board to pull yourself up, using your arms and a kicking motion.
  • Paddling Upstream: It's possible but challenging for beginners. Paddle faster than the current and be prepared for quicker turns due to the flow.

Logo towards the front of the board

Conclusion

Paddle boarding is a rewarding sport that offers a unique way to explore the water, improve fitness, and enjoy nature. With the right board, a proper paddle, and a bit of practice, you’ll soon move from hesitant beginner to confident paddler. The Glide O2 Retro is an excellent all-around board for learners, offering stability, ease of use, and versatility for various water conditions.

Embrace the journey, and remember, every paddler started somewhere. The most important part is to have fun and enjoy the ride. Even if you fall off every now and then!

Falling off a paddle board

 

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