With stand up paddleboarding being somewhat new to Ontario, we wanted to give you some tips on how to make your SUP experience that much more enjoyable. Getting started with stand up paddling is fun, exciting, and simple; and for you fitness buffs out there, it’s a great workout too!
Why only 10 tips, you may ask? Well, the reason is that we encourage you to get out on the water and then give tips of your own to help improve this article. So without further adieu, here are our 10 tips for Stand Up Paddleboarding:
1) TUCK IN WHEN FALLING
Falling off your SUP board is inevitable, even for the most experienced paddler. As such, during the learning process, we want to make your fall as safe as possible.
When taking a spill, keep your arms close to your body. Your instincts may tell you to reach out and try to grab your board as you fall; however, this can lead to injuries to your elbows, shoulders, and even your face. It’s important to fall back away from the board, tuck your arms in, and enjoy a refreshing dip in the drink!
Note: Don’t worry about losing your board – by wearing a SUP leash, it can’t go very far!
2) COVER YOUR HEAD
After you’ve fallen into the water, which you will, it’s important to cover your head as you come back up to the surface. This ensures that if you come up underneath your SUP, your head is protected from bouncing off the bottom of the board or hitting the fin.
3) GET BACK ON FROM THE BACK
Climbing back onto your board while you’re in the water can be challenging. The easiest way is to swim around to the tail of the board, allow your legs to float up to the surface, and then slowly inch yourself onto the board making your way to the centre.
Note: Once you’re in the centre of the board, lift yourself to your knees and then pop up into the standing position.
4) ENTER ONTO THE NOSE
Not all your paddling destinations are going to have a dock or raft that you can launch your SUP board from. And on those cooler days, you may be leery about stepping into the water. Therefore, when launching from the shore place your board in tail first and climb onto it from the nose. This puts the fin of your board into deeper water to avoid damage. Once you’ve climbed onto your SUP, simply turn yourself around before setting off.
5) AVOID SHORELINE PADDLING
After you’ve successfully launched yourself, it’s important to get out into deeper water. Paddling along the shoreline is great when in a canoe or kayak, but you’re centre of gravity is higher on a stand up paddleboard. As such, if you fall off while in shallow water, there is greater risk of bumping your head on a submerged rock or log. Getting out into deep water ensures your safety should fall off your SUP.
Note: While in shallow water, you may want to paddle from your knees to reduce the impact of a fall if it occurs.
6) CENTRE YOUR WEIGHT
Stand up paddleboarding is a fantastic full-body work out – you’ll even ‘feel the burn’ after a short paddle. To maximize your fitness, it’s important to centre your weight on the board over the instep of you feet. Try not to lean too far forward on your toes or too far back on your heels.
Note: Keeping your weight centred will help prevent cramping during your paddle as well as increase your stability.
7) WEAR LOOSE FOOTWEAR
If you choose to wear water shoes or other foot apparel, it’s important to keep them loose: don’t tie the laces too tight and keep the buckles slack. Also, be sure to wiggle your toes every now and then to keep good circulation.
8) RELEASE THE DEATH-GRIP
Your paddle isn’t going to try and free itself from your hands, so it’s ok to have a loose grip on it. This prevents blistering on the palms of your hands and allows you to slide your hands up and down the shaft when doing various paddle strokes.
Note: When paddling, maintain a stroke right alongside your board to help you track straight. This streamlined stroke can be altered when doing a course correction or trying to turn your board.
9) START DURING THE CALM
For your first outing, we recommend beginning your stand up paddleboarding experience on a day when the lake is calm and the wind is minimal. This will allow you to feel confident on the water, which in turn enables you to learn quicker.
You may also want to begin paddling from your knees with your hands choked on the paddle. Once you are comfortable, pop yourself up onto your feet to get the full benefits of SUP boarding.
Note: If the conditions worsen or you become a little tired, you can always drop back down onto your knees to get some rest or increase your stability.
10) KNOW THE LAWS ON PFD’S
Laws vary regarding personal flotation devices from country to country, state to state, and province to province, so it’s important to know them in the area(s) you are paddling.
Note: It’s just as important to know how to properly use your PFD – this will increase your confidence on the water and enhance your paddleboarding experience!
HAVE A STAND UP TIME
Although this isn’t much of a tip, have fun while you’re out on the water! The core benefit of any paddling experience is that it’s enjoyable. Anybody who has tried stand up paddleboarding will tell you that it’s a blast, so relax and have fun with it! If you fall, you fall. If you get wet, well, you got wet – it’s all part of the experience.
Don’t have a SUP board? Why not come visit our shop and try one out for yourself! We offer free test paddling 6-days a week on our own pristine Pearkes Lake, and rentals are available during the spring and summer.
Click Here for driving directions to our On-Water Paddlesports Centre
Click Here to view our stand up paddle board rental terms and rates