Is it Hard to Fall off a Paddleboard?
A lot of people ask us if it's hard to fall off of a paddle board and then get back up again. If you follow these tips, you will find it incredibly easy.
Paddle boarding differs from kayaking in that you are probably going to fall quite a bit when you are learning to master the sport. You are definitely going to get wet at some point. The key is learning how to fall properly and then how to get back up on your board.
Falling flat off your paddle board
When learning to paddle board, you are going to fall, so to think that you will avoid falling is not being realistic. At some point you will lose your balance and end up in the drink. There is no reason to fear this because water is quite forgiving to land in.
The key is to practice your landing in the water so that you fall safely. If you are in deep, flat water with no obstacles just under the surface of the water, it doesn't really matter how you fall because you will be fine. If you are in shallow water or aren't sure if obstacles are just under the surface, you want to master the art of falling flat.
Make sure that you check the water temperature before your first practice fall and make sure that you are in calm water. If you worry that the water might be too cold to practice falling in, consider getting a wet or dry suit.
Essentially, to fall flat you will want to belly flop but land on your back with your hands out (after you drop your paddle) to help break the fall and to keep you from going too far into the water. This way of falling will keep you from hitting anything under the water with too much force.
Getting back on your board
If you fall off your paddle board, getting back on your SUP can be a bit challenging, but with the right technique, getting back onto the board can be fairly easy. The first step is to retrieve your paddle and SUP board, and then position the board parallel to the shore or the direction of the waves.
From there, swim to the carry handle of the board so that you know you are at the center of the paddle board. Then grab the rail of the paddleboard on the opposite side of you with both hands. Then begin pulling your chest up onto the board, while you kick with your legs to give you a little momentum. A strong kick will really reduce the amount of pulling you will need to do to get back on your hard or inflatable SUP.
Next, pull your legs up onto your board, one at a time, until you slide into a prone position. From the prone position push yourself to the kneeling position right over the carry handle.
Finally, stand up slowly by stepping one foot forward followed by the other while maintaining your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent with at least one hand holding the paddle . If you are still having trouble, you can ask a friend to hold the board or try getting back on your board in calm, shallow water until you feel more confident. Remember to always wear a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) and use a leash to keep your board close in case you fall off again. The leash is handy for pulling the board back to you.
Safety first when Paddle boarding
Stand up paddle boards are far easier for pulling yourself back up on then a kayak. But even if you master this most important skill of falling flat, you will want to make sure that you are wearing appropriate safety gear because even if you stick the landing, you can't always be sure what is lurking beneath the surface of the water.
Even experienced paddlers throw on a helmet to protect their head when paddling in whitewater because there are so many rocks on the surface of the water for just below it. They also make certain to wear a personal flotation device in whitewater because no matter what your skill level is, you are going to fall in multiple times when your paddle session involves trying to stay balanced on turbulent waters or surfing a river wave.
Falling doesn't have to happen if you use the carry handle as your positioning guide
Stand up paddling is one sport where your sense of balance can make all the difference between falling and not falling. To stay balanced on paddle boards, you need to center your body weight on the paddleboard. To accomplish this, put your feet on either side of the carry handle as that represents the center point of you paddle board.
Make sure that either foot isn't too close to the rail of the paddle board. If you find your feet in the wrong position in terms of either the carry handle or the rail, you can do a light jump to reposition yourself on the paddleboard.
Other tips to help you balance on your stand up paddle board would be to make sure the leash doesn't become wrapped around your legs while paddling. So grab the leash and straighten it out if it gets in your way and disrupts your balance.
You shouldn't worry about falling off of your stand up paddle board because falling is part of the fun of this unique watersport. If you spend some time practicing flattening your body while you fall, using the leash to retrieve the board, and then trying to get back on the board, with a strong kick and pull as you grab the far side of the board, you will find that you have a lot less to worry about when you inevitably lose your balance.