I have always been a water baby – spending 4/7 nights a wee in the swimming pool as a child. On holidays you can more often than not find me on a lilo in the pool, probably with a cocktail in hand. So the first time I saw someone try this was just before the pandemic and I was in awe – I knew I needed to have a go. Granted it took me a bit longer to get on a board due to the pandemic, and a lot longer to actually master (use that word lightly) standing up. That’s why I’ve chosen to write a beginners guide to paddleboarding, from a beginner!
I should also mention this is often referred to as Stand Up Paddleboarding, or SUP.
At the start of my paddleboarding journey, I booked a lesson – it may seem the boring way to go about things, but I needed the basic knowledge of why the equipment was necessary and general tips for navigating the board.
during this lesson I learned 2 things:
- Always use a leash.
- My balance was terrible.
This was in the July. From there I hired a board for a trip up North (where I found one of my favourite Loch’s I’ve ever paddled on – Loch Achility), and then later in the year I was gifted one for my birthday. The key for me, as with most things – get out and do it. Practise as much as you can, and don’t be afraid to fall in.
Equipment for a Paddleboard beginner:
So, you’ve got your board. Most starter boards come in a “Paddleboard Starter Pack” if purchased from a well known supplier like Aqua Marina, or Aqua Planet, or Nautical.
This should include:
- The board
- A leash
- A Manual Pump
- Repair Kit
- Carry Bag
If you’ve been out on one before, I highly recommend purchasing an electric pump. It was the best purchase I made – saves going on to the water absolutely shattered from using all your energy to pump up the board.
Personal equipment I recommend:
- Lifejacket – this is a massive safety asset and I wouldn’t recommend anyone to head out without one.
- Wetsuit – if you fall in (I did A LOT as a beginner) this will help you regulate your body temperature.
- Wet Shoes/Boots – The only thing that creeps me out in the water is when something touches my feet, so this helps with that!
- Waterproof phone case – i love to take pictures on the board, but do I trust myself to just carry my phone? NO! These can be picked up very cheaply.
- Water/juice& snacks. Keep hydrated and energised, but remember to take your litter home with you!
Here’s a few things you’d find in my “go paddleboarding” kit:
Tips for when you’re on the paddleboard:
So you’ve completed the equipment checklist and you’ve blown your board up to the correct PSI – you’re suited and booted and ready to go.
First thing’s first – get on your board with your knees straddling the handle in the middle. Get comfortable and get used to the feel of the water. Don’t worry if you don’t stand right away, just get a feel for it!
When you’re ready to take the next steps there’s a few ways you can stand up. First thing is to adjust the height of your paddle to a stand up length – it should be about a hand height taller than you are. Then the way I like to do it is to bring one foot forward parallel ish with the handle, and have the paddle in your hands across the board. Use that to push yourself up and quickly bring the other foot to match the other – and stand up! DONE! (I know it sounds easy, but keep practising!)
The best advice I can give when standing is DON’T LEAN BACK!
Also, if you’re feeling a bit wobbly use the paddle to stabalise yourself but having it act like a pole on the board.
And mostly – HAVE FUN!
What is Paddleboarding?
Paddleboarding is water sport that gives you an all round core workout. Standing on a board you maneuver yourself through the water, and explore!
Is Paddleboarding difficult?
Paddleboarding is known as an easy watersport – and once you get the hang of it yes! It can be trickier at the start to find your balance and coordinate yourself.