Where to Stand on Your Paddle Board
Learn where to stand on your paddle board for the purposes of efficiency.
Introduction to Paddle Boarding Positions
When it comes to the world of water activities, paddle boarding stands out for its accessibility, versatility, and the sheer fun it provides. From a serene yoga session on a calm lake to an adrenaline-filled adventure of surfing ocean waves or long distance expeditions, paddle boarding offers something for everyone. One of the most important skills to master in paddle boarding, regardless of your style, is where to stand on your paddle board.
Getting Started With Your Paddle Board
Whether you're using an inflatable paddle board or a solid board, the basics remain the same. Boards come in various sizes, shapes, and designs, each tailored to different kinds of paddle boarding.
Unpacking Your Paddle Board
Inflatable paddle boards have the advantage of being super durable and easy to transport, fitting into a storage backpack when deflated. After taking your inflatable stand up paddle board (SUP) out of the storage bag, use the manual pump or hand pump that usually comes with the board to inflate it. These boards typically come as part of a package, often including an adjustable paddle, a repair kit, and sometimes additional SUP accessories like a kayak seat, a waterproof bag, or even a camera mount for those looking to capture their paddle boarding adventures.
Preparing Your Paddle Board for the Water
Once inflated, turn your attention to the fins. Most stand up paddle boards come with three removable fins that provide stability and control. Attach these to the bottom of your board. Now, inspect your traction pad, the part of the board where you'll be standing most of the time. This non-slip deck pad aids in maintaining your balance while on the board.
Understanding Where to Stand on Your Paddle Board
Locating the Sweet Spot
The ideal place to stand is roughly in the middle of your paddle board, generally just above the carrying handle. On most boards, this is also where the traction pad is located. This position offers the most stability and control over your board. Stand too far forward, and the nose of your board will dip into the water, making paddling difficult. Stand too far back, and the tail sinks, causing the board to drag and lose speed.
Proper foot positioning is as crucial as finding the sweet spot. For maximum stability, your feet should be parallel and approximately hip-width apart, centered between the board's edges. Your toes should point forward. Remember to keep your knees slightly bent and your back straight. This stance helps maintain balance and lets you paddle effectively on either side of your stand-up paddleboard.
Adjusting Your Position for Different Paddle Boarding Activities
Depending on the paddle boarding activity you're undertaking, you may need to adjust where you stand on your paddle board.
Racing and Long Distance Paddling
For those interested in speed or covering long distances, standing slightly further back on the board can help. It allows for longer, more powerful paddle strokes and can help increase speed. But remember, standing too far back will slow you down as the tail sinks.
Yoga and Fitness
If you're planning to practice yoga or other fitness routines on your paddle board, you'll want to stand in the center, where the board offers the most stability. Look for a board with a larger deck pad for these activities.
Fishing and Cruising
For activities like fishing or leisurely cruising, you might find yourself moving around the board more. In these instances, your stand-up paddle board becomes more like a platform. You may sit, kneel, or even lie down.
Getting Comfortable on Your Paddle Board
Comfort and confidence on your paddle board come with practice and patience. Spend time on the water and get to know your board. Don't be afraid to move around and experiment with different positions, especially in calmer waters where the risk of falling off is minimal.
Remember, safety should always be your priority. Always wear a personal flotation device, and consider a leash to keep your board close if you fall.
Whether you're paddling an inflatable SUP or a solid board, in the great outdoors or at your local lake, understanding where to stand on your paddle board is the foundation for a great time on the water. With the right equipment, a good understanding of board positioning, and a spirit of adventure, paddle boarding can be a fantastic way to enjoy the water.