5 Steps to Learning Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) can be a relaxing past time, not to mention, a great way to get a total body workout. However, because of the balance required, it can prove a bit difficult for beginners. These 5 steps to learning stand up paddle boarding will help beginners with the basics of SUP, so they too can channel their inner adventurer. 


Step 1: Select the Right Board

When selecting a board, it is important to select the right length in order to be able to stand up comfortably. If the board is too narrow, it can be too wobbly, which can make it harder to balance or cause you to tip over. 

Experts recommend beginning with the longest board possible or a board that is about 11′-14′ long and at least 30″ wide. 

As a general rule, the length of the paddle should be approximately 10″ lengthier than your height for touring and 8″ higher for surfing. 


Step 2: Begin in a Flat Section of Water

Locate a flat, or calm, portion of water that is free of waves and large activity. 

To begin, place your leash on your ankle. After a fall, the board will drift off, especially if there is a breeze. The leash will allow the board to remain near. Likewise, if you fall, hang onto your paddle. 

Carry the board into about 3-4 feet of water. If the water is too shallow, you may hit the bottom if you fall off. It could also allow the fin to hit the bottom. 


Step 3: Climb Onto the Board

With your belly facing downward, position your body in the center of the board. Once you are stable, turn around facing the nose, and sit up with your legs straddling the board.

Glide your body back and forth on the board to ensure you are positioned comfortably in the center of the board. 


Step 4: To Stand Up

Position yourself on all fours in the center of the board, while holding the paddle horizontally in your hands. Place your hands flat and spaced out evenly on the board. 

Facing the nose, position one foot and then the other, about a foot apart, onto the board, so you are positioned in a low squatting position. 

Keeping your knees slightly bent, slowly stand up. Keeping your knees slightly bent while standing up provides a center of gravity and absorbs the motion in the bumpy water. 

Once you stand, if you feel wobbly or unbalanced, remain in the bent or sitting position until you gain your balance and feel more comfortable on the board. 

One you are standing, you can also use your paddle as a brace by laying the blade flat on top of the water. 


Step 5: Paddle

To paddle straight, with the angle facing away from you, place one hand on the paddle shaft and the other on the grip. Now push down on the paddle grip with your top hand until the blade is planted beneath the water. 

Glide the blade back to your ankle, then out of the water, keeping your arms straight and twisting your torso as you paddle. 

Paddle about 4 to 5 strokes on one side and then the other, reversing hand positions. 

To turn right, paddle on the left. To turn left, paddle on the right. 

For more tips or for paddle board equipment, visit the Red Paddle Co