How to Properly Lift a Stand Up Paddle Board

Lifting your paddle board correctly can prevent injuries, protect your board from damage, and make your paddle boarding experience more enjoyable. In this article, we'll guide you through the steps of lifting your SUP properly, with tips to make it easier and safer.

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is a fantastic way to enjoy the water, get some exercise, and connect with nature. However, before you can hit the water, you need to know how to handle your board safely and effectively. One crucial skill is knowing how to properly lift your stand up paddle board. Lifting your board correctly can prevent injuries, protect your board from damage, and make your paddle boarding experience more enjoyable. In this article, we'll guide you through the steps of lifting your SUP properly, with tips to make it easier and safer.

carrying a paddle board

Why Proper Lifting Techniques Matter

First, let's talk about why lifting your paddle board correctly is so important. Paddle boards are large and can be quite heavy, especially when you factor in the additional weight of accessories like paddles and leashes. Improper lifting techniques can lead to muscle strains, back injuries, and even damage to your board. By following the right techniques, you can avoid these issues and ensure a smooth start to your paddle boarding adventure.

Step-by-Step Guide to Lifting Your SUP

1. Assess Your Surroundings

Before you lift your paddle board, take a moment to assess your surroundings. Make sure there is enough space around you to maneuver the board without hitting obstacles. Look for a clear path to the water or your vehicle, and check for any hazards like sharp rocks or uneven ground.

2. Get a Firm Grip

Stand next to your paddle board with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and squat down to reach the center handle of the board. If your board doesn't have a center handle, find a secure grip on the side of the board, near the midpoint. It's crucial to use both hands to ensure a firm and balanced grip.

3. Use Your Legs, Not Your Back

The most important rule of lifting any heavy object is to use your legs, not your back. Keep your back straight and engage your core muscles as you lift the board. Slowly straighten your legs while keeping the board close to your body. This technique minimizes the strain on your back and reduces the risk of injury.

4. Position the Board on Your Head or Shoulder

Once you have lifted the board, you have a couple of options for carrying it. For shorter distances, you can rest the board on your head. To do this, carefully raise the board above your head and center it so that the weight is evenly distributed. For longer distances, it's often more comfortable to carry the board on your shoulder. Tilt the board slightly and rest the edge on your shoulder, using one hand to stabilize it from below.

5. Walk with Caution

carrying paddle boards

As you walk with your paddle board, be mindful of your footing. Take slow, deliberate steps to avoid tripping or losing your balance. If you're carrying the board on your shoulder, switch sides occasionally to prevent muscle fatigue. Remember to keep an eye on your surroundings and watch out for obstacles.

Tips for Making Lifting Easier

Use a SUP Carry Strap

A SUP carry strap can be a game-changer, especially if you have a long walk to the water. These straps attach to the board and allow you to carry it over your shoulder, freeing up your hands and distributing the weight more evenly.

Team Up

If your paddle board is particularly large or heavy, don't hesitate to ask for help. Teaming up with a friend can make the lifting process much easier and safer. Each person can take an end of the board, making it more manageable to carry.

Practice Makes Perfect

Like any skill, lifting your paddle board properly takes practice. Take the time to practice lifting and carrying your board in a safe environment before heading out to the water. The more you practice, the more confident and efficient you'll become.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Lifting with Your Back

One of the most common mistakes is lifting with your back instead of your legs. This can lead to serious injuries and should be avoided at all costs. Always remember to bend your knees and engage your core.

Rushing the Process

Another mistake is rushing the lifting process. Take your time to assess your surroundings, get a firm grip, and lift the board correctly. Rushing can lead to accidents and injuries.

Ignoring Safety Gear

If you're carrying your paddle board over uneven or rocky terrain, consider wearing protective gear like gloves and sturdy shoes. This can provide extra grip and protect you from potential hazards.


carrying a paddle board

Lifting your stand up paddle board properly is an essential skill that can enhance your paddle boarding experience and keep you safe from injuries. By following the steps outlined in this guide and avoiding common mistakes, you'll be well-prepared to handle your SUP with confidence. Remember, practice makes perfect, so take the time to master these techniques and enjoy your time on the water safely and comfortably.