Mastering SUP Surf Wave Riding

Stand-up paddleboard (SUP) surfing is a thrilling sport that combines the art of wave riding with the balance and control of paddling. Whether you are a seasoned surfer or a beginner, mastering the art of catching waves on a paddleboard is the key to unlocking the full potential of this sport. 

Unlike traditional surfing, where surfers use their arms to paddle, SUP surfers use a paddle to propel themselves through the water and catch waves. This requires a different set of skills and techniques, including proper paddling technique, wave selection, and positioning on the board. By learning these skills, SUP surfers can catch waves earlier and ride them for longer, making for a more exhilarating and rewarding experience on the water.

While it may seem daunting at first, with practice and patience, anyone can learn to catch waves on a paddleboard. In this article, we will explore the key techniques and strategies for mastering the art of wave riding on a SUP, so that you can take your surfing to the next level and enjoy the thrill of riding waves like never before.

The Basics of SUP Surf Wave Riding

Surfing on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) can be an exhilarating experience, but it requires skill and practice. One of the most important skills to master is catching waves. Here are the basics of SUP surf wave riding:

Choosing the Right Equipment

Choosing the right equipment is crucial for successful SUP surf wave riding. Beginners should choose a board size at least 10 liters bigger than the board they paddle in flat water. Waves, swell and chop require larger volume for stability. A board in the 9.5- to 11-foot range in length is recommended for beginners. Boards less than 30 inches wide will feel unstable for beginners. Most SUP surfboards feature a narrow tail and lots of rocker.

Paddling Out

Before catching a wave, you need to paddle out to the lineup. This can be challenging in rough conditions. To paddle out, lie on your board and paddle with your hands or use a paddle. Keep your eyes on the waves and time your paddling to avoid getting caught by a wave. If you do get caught by a wave, try to dive under it and hold onto your board.

Positioning Yourself on the Board

When you see a wave coming, you need to position yourself on the board. Move towards the tail of the board and get into a crouching position. Keep your weight centered over the board and your eyes on the wave. As the wave approaches, paddle with your hands or use a paddle to catch the wave. Once you feel the wave lift the board, stand up and shift your weight forward to ride the wave.

Catching Waves

Catching waves is the ultimate goal of SUP surf wave riding. It’s the moment when the surfer feels the power of the wave and glides effortlessly along its face. However, catching waves is not always easy, and it takes practice and patience to master the art. This section will cover the three main aspects of catching waves: Reading the Waves, Picking the Right Wave, and Paddling into the Wave.

Reading the Waves

Reading the waves is crucial to catching them. Surfers need to understand how waves form, how they break, and how they change as they approach the shore. The following are some tips on how to read waves:

  • Look for the peak of the wave, where it starts to break.
  • Look for the direction of the wave, whether it’s breaking left or right.
  • Look for the size and shape of the wave, whether it’s steep or mellow.
  • Look for the speed of the wave, whether it’s fast or slow.

Picking the Right Wave

Picking the right wave is essential to catching it. Surfers need to choose waves that suit their skill level and style, and that offer the best ride. The following are some tips on how to pick the right wave:

  • Choose waves that are within your ability level.
  • Choose waves that offer a good shape and size.
  • Choose waves that are not too crowded.
  • Choose waves that are breaking in the direction you prefer.

Paddling into the Wave

Paddling into the wave is the final step in catching waves. Surfers need to paddle with enough speed and power to match the speed of the wave and get on it. The following are some tips on how to paddle into the wave:

  • Paddle with your head up and eyes forward.
  • Paddle with your arms straight and your hands close together.
  • Paddle with a smooth and powerful stroke, using your whole body.
  • Paddle with enough speed to match the speed of the wave.

Riding the Wave

Once you’ve successfully caught a wave, it’s time to ride it out. This section will cover the key techniques for riding the wave on your SUP board. 

Standing Up

As you feel the wave start to lift your board, it’s time to stand up. To do this, place your hands on the board in front of you and push yourself up into a kneeling position. From here, step one foot up at a time and bring yourself into a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your knees slightly bent and your weight centered over the board.

Staying Balanced

Balance is key when riding the wave on your SUP board. Keep your gaze fixed on the horizon and your core engaged to maintain your balance. As you ride the wave, use your paddle to make small adjustments to your position on the board as needed.

Turning and Carving

Once you’ve mastered riding the wave straight, it’s time to start turning and carving. To turn, shift your weight to the back of the board and use your paddle to steer. To carve, lean into the turn and use your paddle to carve a smooth arc in the water. Practice turning and carving on smaller waves before moving on to larger ones.

Remember to always be aware of your surroundings and other surfers in the water. Stay within your skill level and never attempt to ride waves that are too big or dangerous. With practice and patience, you’ll soon be riding the waves like a pro on your SUP board.

Advanced Techniques

Once you have mastered the basic techniques of SUP surf wave riding, you can move on to more advanced maneuvers. These maneuvers require more skill, balance, and coordination, and can take years of practice to perfect. Here are some of the most popular advanced techniques:

Bottom Turns and Top Turns

Bottom turns and top turns are two of the most important maneuvers in SUP surfing. A bottom turn is a turn made at the bottom of a wave, while a top turn is a turn made at the top of a wave. Both maneuvers require precise timing and a good sense of balance. To execute a bottom turn, the rider must lean back on the tail of the board and turn the paddle towards the wave face. To execute a top turn, the rider must lean forward and turn the paddle away from the wave face. These maneuvers can be combined to create a fluid, seamless ride.


A cutback is a maneuver that involves changing direction on a wave. It is typically used to gain speed and maintain momentum. To execute a cutback, the rider must turn sharply towards the wave face and then back towards the whitewater. This maneuver requires good balance and timing, as well as the ability to read the wave and anticipate its movements.

Floater and Re-entry Maneuvers

A floater is a maneuver that involves riding over the top of a breaking wave. It requires good balance and timing, as well as the ability to generate enough speed to ride up and over the wave. A re-entry is a maneuver that involves riding up the face of a wave and then turning back towards the wave face. It requires good timing and a good sense of balance, as well as the ability to generate enough speed to ride up the face of the wave.

Safety and Etiquette

Safety Tips

When it comes to SUP surf wave riding, safety should always be a top priority. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Always wear a leash: Wearing a leash keeps you connected to your board and can prevent you from being separated from it in the event of a fall.
  • Wear a personal flotation device (PFD): Even if you’re a strong swimmer, it’s always a good idea to wear a PFD when you’re out on the water.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Always be aware of other surfers, swimmers, and boats in the area. Avoid crowded areas and give other water users plenty of space.
  • Check the conditions: Before heading out, check the weather and wave conditions. If conditions are too dangerous, it’s best to stay on shore.
  • Stay hydrated: Paddleboarding can be a strenuous activity, so be sure to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Surfing Etiquette

When it comes to SUP surf wave riding, there are certain rules of etiquette that should be followed to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. Here are some tips:

  • Respect the lineup: When waiting for waves, respect the lineup and take turns. Don’t try to snake other surfers or cut in front of them.
  • Communicate: Use hand signals to communicate with other surfers. Let them know if you’re going left or right, or if you’re passing them on the wave.
  • Don’t drop in: Dropping in means taking off on a wave that someone else is already riding. This is considered bad etiquette and can be dangerous.
  • Be mindful of your board: Be sure to keep your board under control at all times. Don’t let it drift into other surfers or swimmers.
  • Respect the beach and the ocean: Leave the beach and ocean cleaner than you found it. Don’t litter or damage the environment.


SUP surfing is a thrilling water sport that requires mastering the art of catching waves on a paddleboard. It involves several techniques, including paddling, wave catching, board maneuvering, and advanced surfing techniques. By mastering these techniques, riders can enjoy the sport and ride the waves with confidence. One of the key takeaways from this article is that paddling is the foundation of SUP surfing. It is essential to have good paddling skills to catch waves and maintain balance on the board. Beginners should practice paddling in calm waters before venturing out into the surf. Another important technique is wave catching. Timing is crucial when catching waves, and riders should position themselves in the right spot to catch the wave’s energy. Once on the wave, riders should use their body weight to steer the board and maintain balance. Board maneuvering is another critical technique that involves turning the board and changing directions. Riders should use their paddle to steer the board and shift their weight to change directions. Advanced techniques such as cross-stepping and cutbacks can be learned once riders have mastered the basics. In conclusion, mastering the art of SUP surfing takes time and practice. It requires a combination of physical fitness, balance, and technique. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this article, riders can catch waves and enjoy the thrill of SUP surfing.

What is SUP surfing?

SUP surfing is a water sport that involves riding waves on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) using a paddle. It combines the art of wave riding with the balance and control of paddling, making it a thrilling and challenging sport.

What equipment do I need for SUP surfing?

To get started with SUP surfing, you will need a SUP board that is specifically designed for surfing. A board size at least 10 liters bigger than the board used in flat water is recommended for beginners, with a board in the 9.5- to 11-foot range in length and wider than 30 inches. You will also need a paddle and a leash to keep you connected to your board. A personal flotation device (PFD) is also recommended for safety.

How do I paddle out to the lineup for SUP surfing?

To paddle out to the lineup for SUP surfing, you should lie on your board and paddle with your hands or use a paddle. Keep your eyes on the waves and time your paddling to avoid getting caught by a wave. If you do get caught by a wave, try to dive under it and hold onto your board.

What are the key techniques for catching waves in SUP surfing?

The key techniques for catching waves in SUP surfing include reading the waves, picking the right wave, and paddling into the wave. You should look for the peak of the wave, its direction, size, shape, and speed. You should also choose waves that suit your skill level, offer a good shape and size, and are not too crowded. Finally, you should paddle with your head up and eyes forward, using a smooth and powerful stroke to match the speed of the wave.

What are the basics of riding the wave in SUP surfing?

The basics of riding the wave in SUP surfing include standing up on the board, staying balanced, and turning and carving. You should stand up by placing your hands on the board in front of you and pushing yourself up into a kneeling position, then step one foot up at a time. Balance is key when riding the wave, and you should keep your gaze fixed on the horizon and your core engaged. Turning and carving involve shifting your weight to the back of the board and using your paddle to steer, or leaning into the turn and using your paddle to carve a smooth arc in the water.

What are some advanced techniques in SUP surfing?

Some advanced techniques in SUP surfing include bottom turns, top turns, cutbacks, floater and re-entry maneuvers. These techniques require more skill, balance, and coordination, and can take years of practice to perfect. Bottom turns and top turns involve turning at the bottom or top of a wave, respectively, while cutbacks involve changing direction on a wave. Floater and re-entry maneuvers involve riding over the top of a breaking wave or riding up the face of a wave, respectively.

Mastering SUP Downwind Techniques

If you are a paddleboarder looking to take your skills to the next level, you might be interested in learning about SUP downwind techniques. Downwind paddleboarding is a thrilling and rewarding experience that allows you to harness the power of the wind and waves to propel yourself forward. However, it requires a specific set of skills and knowledge to master, and it can be dangerous if you’re not properly prepared.

In this article, we will explore some of the most important techniques and tips for successful downwind paddleboarding. We will cover everything from choosing the right equipment and assessing the weather conditions to catching bumps and staying safe on the water. Whether you are a beginner looking to try downwind paddling for the first time or an experienced paddler looking to improve your skills, you will find valuable information and insights here.

Understanding Downwind Paddleboarding

If you are looking to improve your downwind paddleboarding skills, it is important to understand the basics of downwind paddling. Downwind paddleboarding involves using the wind and ocean swells to power your paddleboard and navigate from one place to another. This technique requires a higher level of experience, skill, fitness, perseverance, and pluck than flatwater paddling. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

Wind Direction and Swell Patterns

When paddling downwind, it is important to pay attention to the wind direction and swell patterns. You want to paddle with the wind and waves, not against them. Look for areas where the wind is blowing in the same direction as the swell, as this will create the best downwind conditions. You should also be aware of any obstacles or hazards in the water, such as rocks, buoys, or other boats.

Equipment Selection

Choosing the right equipment is crucial for successful downwind paddling. You will need a paddleboard that is designed for downwind paddling, with a long, narrow shape and plenty of rocker. You should also have a leash to keep you attached to your board, as well as a personal flotation device (PFD) for safety. Other important equipment includes a paddle, hydration system, and sun protection.

Overall, downwind paddleboarding can be a thrilling and rewarding experience for those who are up for the challenge. By understanding the basics of wind direction and swell patterns, as well as choosing the right equipment, you can improve your downwind paddling skills and take your SUP adventures to the next level.

SUP Downwind Techniques

If you’re looking to improve your downwind paddleboarding skills, there are a few techniques that you should focus on. In this section, we’ll cover feet positioning, paddle strokes, and body positioning.

Feet Positioning

One of the most important things to consider when paddling downwind is your feet positioning. You want to make sure that you have a solid base and are able to maintain your balance in the choppy water. To achieve this, try the following:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointing forward.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent, which will help you absorb the shock of the waves.
  • Shift your weight slightly towards the back of the board to keep the nose from diving into the water.

Paddle Strokes

Another important aspect of downwind paddling is your paddle strokes. You want to make sure that you’re using efficient strokes that will help propel you forward. Here are a few tips:

  • Use a high-cadence stroke, which means taking shorter, faster strokes rather than long, slow ones.
  • Keep your paddle close to the board to reduce wind resistance.
  • Use a slight J-stroke, which means angling the paddle slightly towards the tail of the board on the power phase of the stroke. This will help you maintain your course and prevent you from turning too much.

Body Positioning

Finally, your body positioning is also important when paddling downwind. You want to make sure that you’re positioned correctly to catch the waves and maintain your balance. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Keep your gaze fixed on the horizon to help you maintain your balance.
  • Shift your weight slightly towards the side of the board that the waves are coming from to help you catch them.
  • Use your knees to absorb the shock of the waves and keep your balance.

Advanced SUP Downwind Techniques

If you are looking to take your downwind paddleboarding skills to the next level, there are a few advanced techniques that you can try.


Cross-stepping is a technique used to move up and down the board while maintaining your balance. This technique allows you to shift your weight and adjust your position on the board to better catch the wind and waves. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start by standing in the middle of the board with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Take a step forward with your front foot and cross it over your back foot.
  • Shift your weight onto your front foot and bring your back foot up to meet your front foot.
  • Take a step back with your back foot and cross it over your front foot.
  • Shift your weight onto your back foot and bring your front foot up to meet your back foot.

Footwork Drills

Footwork drills can help you improve your balance and coordination on the board. Here are a few drills to try:

  1. Stand on one foot and balance for as long as you can before switching to the other foot.
  2. Jump from one foot to the other, trying to land as softly as possible.
  3. Stand on one foot and rotate your upper body to the left and right, keeping your balance on the board.

Reading the Water

One of the most important skills for downwind paddleboarding is reading the water. Here’s what to look for:

Water ConditionWhat to Do
Choppy WaterUse a wider stance and keep your weight centered on the board.
Large SwellsUse a narrower stance and shift your weight forward to catch the wave.
Small SwellsUse a wider stance and keep your weight centered on the board.

With these advanced techniques, you can take your downwind paddleboarding to the next level. Practice these techniques regularly to improve your balance, coordination, and ability to catch the wind and waves.

Safety Considerations

Before you head out on your downwind SUP adventure, it is important to consider safety. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

Weather and Tide Conditions

Always check the weather and tide conditions before heading out. Wind and waves can pick up quickly, and it is important to be prepared for changing conditions. Make sure you have a plan for what to do if the weather changes unexpectedly. 

Also, be aware of the tides. Strong currents can make it difficult to paddle, and you don’t want to get swept out to sea. Check tide times and plan your route accordingly.

Equipment Checks

Before you leave shore, make sure to check all of your equipment. This includes your paddle, leash, personal flotation device (PFD), and board. Make sure everything is in good working condition and that you have the appropriate gear for the conditions.

It is also important to make sure your leash is securely attached to your ankle or calf. If you fall off your board, your leash will keep you connected to it and prevent it from drifting away.

Finally, make sure you have a way to call for help if needed. This could be a phone or radio, or even a whistle to signal for assistance.


By now, you should have a good understanding of the techniques and skills required for successful downwind paddleboarding. Remember to always prioritize safety, check the weather and water conditions before heading out, and bring appropriate gear such as a leash and PFD.

When it comes to equipment, make sure you have a board that is suitable for downwind paddling. Consider factors such as length, width, and volume, as well as the type of fin setup that will work best for you.

As you paddle, keep in mind the importance of timing and positioning. Look for the sweet spot in the swell and use your paddle to help you maintain speed and direction. Practice reading the water and adjusting your technique as necessary.

Finally, don’t forget to have fun! Downwind paddleboarding can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience. With the right skills and equipment, you can make the most of the wind and waves and enjoy the thrill of the ride.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is SUP downwind paddling?

Downwind paddleboarding is a technique where you use the wind and ocean swells to power your paddleboard and navigate from one place to another. It requires a higher level of skill and experience than flatwater paddling, as it involves utilizing the wind and waves to propel yourself forward efficiently.

What equipment do I need for downwind paddleboarding?

You will need a paddleboard designed for downwind paddling (long, narrow, with plenty of rocker), a paddle, a leash, a personal flotation device (PFD), sun protection, and a hydration system. It’s important to choose the right equipment for a successful downwind paddling experience

What are some basic SUP downwind techniques to know?

Some basic SUP downwind techniques include proper feet positioning (shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, weight shifted towards the back of the board), efficient paddle strokes (high-cadence, keeping paddle close to the board, slight J-stroke), and body positioning (gaze fixed on the horizon, weight shifted towards the side of the board that the waves are coming from, using knees to absorb shock).

How can I practice advanced SUP downwind techniques?

Advanced SUP downwind techniques include cross-stepping (moving up and down the board while maintaining balance), footwork drills (improving balance and coordination), and reading the water (identifying water conditions and adjusting techniques accordingly). Practicing these techniques regularly can help you improve your skills.

What safety considerations should I keep in mind?

Always check the weather and tide conditions before heading out and have a plan for changing conditions. Ensure your equipment is in good working condition and that you have the appropriate gear, including a securely attached leash and a personal flotation device (PFD). Carry a means of communication, such as a phone, radio, or whistle, in case you need to call for help.

5 Top Paddleboarding Mistakes to Avoid

Paddleboarding is a fun and exciting water sport! As a beginner, it’s important to be aware of some common paddleboarding mistakes to avoid! In this article, we’ll discuss a few of the mistakes beginners often make and provide tips on how to prevent them.

Common Beginner Mistakes

Poor Paddle Handling

Paddleboarding mistakes to avoid

As a beginner, it’s essential to learn proper paddle handling to make your experience enjoyable and efficient.

One common mistake is holding the paddle backwards, leading to inefficient strokes.

Make sure the angle of the blade faces away from you, and hold your paddle with your arms at 90-degree angles for correct hand placement. Check out this post on paddleboarding basics for more help!

Another issue is paddling with bent arms. It’s important to keep your arms straight to generate power and maintain balance.

Also, ensure you’re using the whole paddle blade to get the most out of each stroke.

Incorrect Stance

Maintaining the correct stance on your board is crucial for stability and balance. Make sure you’re standing in the centre of your board, with your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Avoid looking down, as this can affect your balance – instead, focus on the horizon and maintain a slight bend in your knees.

Not Understanding Weather Conditions

Lack of Safety Awareness

Lastly, safety awareness is paramount when paddleboarding.

Wearing a leash – it helps prevent your board from drifting away in case you fall off. 

Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) – especially if you’re paddling in open water or rough conditions.

Tell Someone – Always inform someone onshore about your planned route and expected return time

Know Local Regs – check local regulations regarding paddleboarding to ensure you’re in compliance.

Local Hazards – Familiarise yourself with local weather conditions, tides, and potential hazards such as submerged rocks or strong currents.

Weather conditions play a significant role in your paddleboarding experience. Beginners often underestimate the impact of wind, currents, and tides on their ability to stay upright and navigate. Before heading out, take the time to understand local conditions, and avoid going out in adverse weather or strong currents to stay safe.

Improper Board Care

Taking care of your board is essential to ensure it lasts and performs well. Avoid leaving your board exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods, as this can cause damage to the materials. Additionally, always rinse your board with fresh water after use, especially if you’ve been paddling in saltwater. This helps prevent the buildup of salt and other debris that can degrade the board over time.

Paddleboarding Lessons and Tips

Taking lessons from experienced instructors or seeking guidance from seasoned paddleboarders can help you in developing your skills and avoiding common mistakes. They can provide valuable insight into proper techniques and help you with any specific difficulties you may encounter. Remember, practice makes perfect, and learning from others can accelerate your progress.

What are the most common paddleboarding mistakes beginners make?

Some common mistakes include poor paddle handling, incorrect stance, not understanding weather conditions, improper board care, and lack of safety awareness.

How can I improve my paddle handling skills?

Ensure the angle of the blade faces away from you, hold the paddle with your arms at 90-degree angles, keep your arms straight, and use the whole paddle blade to maximize each stroke.

What is the correct stance for paddleboarding?

Stand in the center of your board with your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart, look at the horizon, and maintain a slight bend in your knees.

How can I ensure my safety while paddleboarding?

Wear a leash, consider using a personal flotation device (PFD), inform someone onshore about your plans, and check local regulations to ensure compliance.

What precautions should I take with my paddleboard?

Avoid leaving your board exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods and rinse it with fresh water after use, especially when paddling in saltwater.

How can I learn proper paddleboarding techniques?

Take lessons from experienced instructors or seek guidance from seasoned paddleboarders, as they can provide valuable insight into correct techniques and help with any difficulties.

Why is understanding weather conditions important for paddleboarding?

Weather conditions, such as wind, currents, and tides, can impact your ability to stay upright and navigate, so understanding them helps ensure a safer and more enjoyable experience.


By being aware of the most common paddleboarding mistakes, you can enhance your experience on the water and progress more rapidly in your technique. Start by ensuring you have the right equipment and follow crucial tips for hand placement and maintaining straight arms during paddling. Avoid inefficient strokes by having the angle of the blade pointing forward.

Be mindful of your balance and resist the temptation to focus solely on avoiding falling in. Instead, embrace the learning process and know that with practice, your balance and confidence will improve. Above all, always prioritise safety by familiarising yourself with local water conditions, having necessary safety gear, and paddling within your skill level.

With dedication and continued practice, you’ll soon overcome these common beginner pitfalls and begin reaping the numerous health benefits of paddleboarding, while enjoying the serenity and adventure this sport offers.

SUP Progression Tips – When you’ve mastered the basics!

Advanced Paddleboarding Techniques: Building on the Basics

Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals of paddleboarding, it’s time to take your skills to the next level. To improve your overall performance and make your time on the water even more enjoyable, consider focusing on a few key areas.

  • Pivot turns: Pivot turns involve shifting your weight to the tail of the board, allowing the nose to lift and making it easier to change direction. I like to watch SUP races on YouTube so that I can see how the Pros move their body weight and feet. Pivot Turns are also known as Step Back Turns and they allow you to quickly change the direction of the board. It will take a lot of practice and you can expect to spend some time swimming, but it will be worth it!
  • Foot positioning: Experiment with different foot positions to find the optimal stance for speed, stability, and manoeuvrability. Try moving your feet wider or narrower, and closer to the rail or the center of the board.
  • Cross-stepping: To navigate your board more efficiently and effectively, learn to cross-step. This technique involves moving one foot in front of the other along the centreline of the board, which will allow you to maintain balance while adjusting your position on the board.
  • Bracing strokes: To enhance stability in choppy conditions, learn to perform bracing strokes. These strokes involve placing the paddle blade flat on the water’s surface to create additional support and balance.

Paddleboarding Fitness and Conditioning: Enhancing Your Performance

In order to make the most of your paddleboarding experience, it’s essential to work on your overall fitness and conditioning. By focusing on specific exercises and training routines, you’ll not only improve your performance on the water but also reduce the risk of injury. Consider incorporating the following elements into your fitness regimen:

  • Core strength: A strong core is crucial for maintaining balance and stability on your paddleboard. Incorporate exercises like planks, leg raises, and Russian twists into your workout routine to target this area.
  • Upper body strength: Paddleboarding relies heavily on upper body strength, particularly in the shoulders, arms, and back. Exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, and rows can help you develop the necessary power to propel your board efficiently.
  • Cardiovascular endurance: Building your cardiovascular endurance is key for sustaining long paddleboarding sessions. Running, swimming, or cycling are excellent options for boosting your heart health and stamina.
  • Flexibility: Enhance your flexibility through regular stretching or yoga practice. Improved flexibility can lead to better balance, control, and injury prevention while paddleboarding.

Mastering Paddleboard Balance: Tips for Improved Stability and Control

Achieving balance and stability on your paddleboard is essential for both beginners and advanced paddleboarders looking to progress. By incorporating some simple strategies, you can build confidence, maintain control, and enhance your overall paddleboarding experience. Here are a few tips to help you master balance and stability:

  • Lower your centre of gravity: Bending your knees slightly and keeping your weight centered over your feet can help improve your balance, especially in choppy conditions.
  • Widen your stance: Standing with your feet wider apart can provide a more stable base, making it easier to maintain balance on your board.
  • Engage your core: Activating your core muscles helps to stabilize your entire body, making it easier to maintain balance and control while paddleboarding.
  • Keep your head up: Focusing on a distant point on the horizon can help improve your balance and stability. Avoid looking down at your feet, as this can cause you to become unsteady.
  • Use your paddle for support: Your paddle can act as a third point of contact with the water, providing additional stability. Keep it in the water as much as possible, especially when you feel off-balance.

Paddleboarding in Various Conditions: Adapting to Wind, Waves, and Currents

Paddleboarding in different weather conditions and environments can be both challenging and rewarding. By learning how to adapt your techniques to wind, waves, and currents, you’ll be better prepared to handle whatever Mother Nature throws your way. Here are some practical tips to help you navigate various conditions while paddleboarding:

  • Dealing with wind: In windy conditions, lower your stance and keep your paddle strokes shorter to maintain control. If you’re paddling into the wind, lean forward slightly to reduce wind resistance.
  • Handling waves: When facing waves, shift your weight back to lift the nose of your board, allowing it to ride up and over the waves. Make sure to keep your knees bent for better shock absorption and balance.
  • Navigating currents: When paddling in a current, angle your board slightly upstream and use efficient paddle strokes to maintain your desired course. Be prepared to adjust your angle and stroke rate as needed to counteract the current’s force.
  • Staying safe in choppy conditions: Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) and use a leash to stay connected to your board. Keep an eye on weather forecasts and be aware of your surroundings to avoid getting caught in dangerous conditions.

Perfecting Paddle Strokes: Advanced Techniques for Speed and Efficiency

As you progress in your paddleboarding journey, refining your paddle strokes can greatly improve your speed, efficiency, and overall enjoyment on the water. Here are some advanced techniques to help you perfect your paddle strokes and get the most out of your paddleboarding sessions:

  • Reach and catch: To maximize the power of each stroke, reach as far forward as possible before fully submerging the paddle blade in the water. This ensures a more efficient catch and a longer stroke, propelling your board further with each movement.
  • Vertical paddle position: Keep your paddle as vertical as possible during the power phase of the stroke to minimize side-to-side movement and maintain a straighter course. This will reduce wasted energy and increase overall speed.
  • Exit and recovery: Remove the paddle from the water just as it passes your feet, allowing for a smoother exit and quicker recovery. This prevents dragging the paddle behind you, which can slow you down and decrease efficiency.
  • Alternate sides: To maintain a straight course and distribute effort evenly, alternate paddle strokes between your left and right sides. Develop a consistent rhythm, switching sides every 3-5 strokes or as needed to maintain your desired direction.

Paddleboarding Yoga and Fitness: Integrating Wellness Practices on the Board

Combining paddleboarding with yoga and other fitness activities can provide a unique and engaging way to improve your overall wellness while enjoying the outdoors. By integrating these practices on your paddleboard, you can enhance your balance, flexibility, and strength, all while connecting with nature. Here are some tips for incorporating wellness practices into your paddleboarding routine:

  • Start with basic poses: Begin by practicing simple yoga poses on your paddleboard, such as seated forward bend, downward-facing dog, and warrior II. As you become more comfortable, gradually progress to more challenging poses.
  • Focus on stability: Choose a wider, more stable paddleboard specifically designed for yoga and fitness to ensure a secure platform for your practice. Inflatable boards can also provide a softer surface, making them more comfortable for certain exercises.
  • Use a tether or anchor: To prevent drifting while you’re practicing yoga or fitness routines, consider using a tether or anchor to secure your board in one spot. This will allow you to focus on your practice without worrying about staying in place.
  • Take a class or find a community: Join a paddleboard yoga or fitness class, or connect with a local group to learn from experienced instructors and share your passion with like-minded individuals.

Exploring Paddleboarding Disciplines: Racing, Touring, and SUP Surfing

As your paddleboarding skills progress, you may find yourself eager to explore different disciplines within the sport. Each discipline offers unique challenges and opportunities for growth, allowing you to discover new aspects of paddleboarding and push your limits. Here are three popular disciplines to consider:

  • Racing: Paddleboard racing involves competing against other paddlers in various race formats, such as sprint, long distance, or technical races. To excel in this discipline, focus on building your cardiovascular endurance, perfecting your paddle stroke technique, and selecting the right racing board for your needs.
  • Touring: Paddleboard touring involves embarking on longer journeys, exploring new waterways, and connecting with nature. Invest in a touring-specific board designed for speed and stability, and ensure you have proper safety equipment, navigation tools, and knowledge of local conditions before setting off on your adventure.
  • SUP Surfing: Stand-up paddleboard (SUP) surfing combines the thrill of traditional surfing with the added challenge of navigating waves while standing on a paddleboard. To get started, choose a SUP-specific surfboard, practice in smaller waves, and gradually progress as you gain experience and confidence.

What are some effective techniques to increase my paddle stroke efficiency?

Focus on reaching forward for a better catch, maintaining a vertical paddle position during the power phase, removing the paddle just as it passes your feet for a smoother exit, and alternating sides consistently for balanced effort.

How can I ensure I’m prepared to paddleboard in various conditions like wind, waves, and currents?

Practice in controlled environments first, gradually exposing yourself to different conditions. Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) and use a leash, and stay informed about weather forecasts and local conditions.

What types of paddleboards are best for SUP surfing?

Choose a SUP-specific surfboard, usually shorter and wider than a traditional paddleboard, designed for manoeuvrability and stability in waves.

How can I stay safe while practicing paddleboarding yoga and fitness routines?

Use a wider, stable paddleboard designed for yoga and fitness, consider an inflatable board for added comfort, secure your board with a tether or anchor to prevent drifting, and always practice within your limits.

What are the main differences between paddleboard racing, touring, and SUP surfing?

Paddleboard racing involves competing in various race formats, focusing on speed and technique; touring involves exploring waterways on longer journeys, with an emphasis on endurance and navigation; and SUP surfing combines traditional surfing with paddleboarding, requiring skills to catch and ride waves while standing on a paddleboard.

Master Your Paddleboarding Technique

Master your stance, perfecting your stroke and avoiding common mistakes with our paddling tips below. We’ll show you how to have a more powerful and efficient paddling stroke.

Table of Contents

Mastering Your Stance

When it comes to paddle boarding, mastering your stance is key. It’s the foundation of a successful and enjoyable experience.

To ensure a successful and enjoyable paddle boarding experience, it is important to master your stance – here are some tips for doing so.

Foot Placement

Place your feet shoulder-width apart with the toes pointing slightly outward.

Make sure to keep your knees bent as well, this will help you maintain balance and control while paddling.

Distribute weight evenly across both feet.

Paddleboarding Technique


Keep your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Good posture will allow for freedom of movement without sacrificing power or stability on the board.


Getting used to staying balanced on a paddle board can take time, so don’t be put off if you go for the odd swim! The more time you spend on the board the more you will naturally get used to balancing on it.

I found that my balance improved the most when I was playing around in the sea, jumping off the board and having fun!

Holding Your Paddle

Check out our quick YouTube guide on how to hold your paddle boarding paddle…

Have a look at our YouTube Channel for more How To Videos!

Hold the paddle in one hand upright with the end planted on the ground – and the blade pointed straight in the air. Reach up with the other hand and adjust the paddle blade so that the tip fits into your cupped fingers – this is the optimal length for your body height.

Perfecting Your Stroke

When it comes to perfecting your paddle stroke, the key is understanding the three stages: The Dip, The Power Phase, and The Release & Transition.

The Dip – at the start of each stroke reach forward and place your paddle into the water. Extended your arms and engage your core.

Keep the paddle vertical and close to the board, this will help to keep the board moving in a straight line.

Paddleboarding Technique - The Dip
Paddleboarding Technique - Power Phase

The Power Phase – engage your core, legs and back muscles and focus on pulling yourself and the board towards the paddle.

Keep the paddle vertical as you move through the length of the stroke.

Finish the Power Phase level with your feet.

Release & Transition – when the paddle reaches your feet straighten your body and lift the paddle out of the water.

Stretch forward and prepare for the start of the Dip.

Paddleboarding Technique - Release and Transition

Good paddleboarding technique will save energy and reduce your risk of injury. Take some time to practice drills such as alternating strokes or doing short sprint intervals so that you can get comfortable with proper form and build up strength in those key muscle groups mentioned earlier (core, legs, back).

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Many paddlers make the same mistakes when they first start out. Knowing how to avoid them will help you to improve your SUP technique and staying safe:

1. Not Paddling in a Straight Line – One of the biggest challenges when you start out is keeping your board moving straight. This can be especially difficult if you’re paddling against strong wind or current. To help, keep your paddle vertical and close to the board for the Power Phase. Check out this post on How to Paddle Board Straight for some more advanced tips like the C stroke.

2. Overdoing It – Many people want to jump right into long distance paddles without building up strength and endurance first. This can lead to fatigue, soreness, cramps or worse. Take it slow at first; practice shorter trips until you’ve built up enough stamina for longer ones later on down the road.

3. Improper Foot Placement – Where you place your feet on the board makes a big difference in stability and control while riding waves or navigating choppy waters. Make sure that both feet are evenly spaced apart from one another near the centreline of the board so that neither foot extends past its edge – this will help ensure proper balance throughout all manoeuvres.

4. Going Out Alone – While solo outings can be enjoyable, it’s always best practice to go out with someone else who knows what they’re doing (and has an extra set of eyes). That way if something goes wrong there’s someone there who can come to your aid quickly. Plus having a buddy means double fun.

No matter how brief or leisurely your voyage may be, always wear a PFD, sunscreen, hat and other necessary items – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

FAQs in Relation to Paddleboarding Technique

What are the psychological benefits of paddle boarding?

Paddle boarding offers a variety of psychological benefits. Paddle boarding provides a means of calming the mind, with its emphasis on mindful breathing and soothing relaxation. Paddle boarding can also help improve focus, clarity of thought, and concentration due to the need for balance while on the board. Additionally, paddle boarding can boost self-confidence as you learn new skills and become more proficient in your technique. Finally, paddling helps build resilience by teaching you how to adapt to different environments with grace and poise.

Should you bend your knees when paddle boarding?

Yes, it is important to bend your knees when paddle boarding. Keeping your knees bent while paddle boarding is essential for preserving equilibrium and steadiness, making it simpler to manage motions. Additionally, bending your knees allows you to move more efficiently through the water with each stroke of the paddle. Bending your waist can help in keeping you from toppling, as well as aid in lessening exhaustion of the arms and back. Finally, bending your knees can help you adjust to changing water conditions and improve your overall performance.

Essential Guide to SUP Racing: Ready, Set, Go!

Are you looking to get into the fast-paced world of SUP Racing? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. Whether it’s your looking for beginner SUP racing tips or if you’re already an experienced racer – this blog post will have something for everyone.

We’ll cover all things related to SUP Racing, equipment, training tips, race day preparation, and post-race recovery. So let’s dive in and learn more about how we can make our mark on the water with some awesome sup racing skills.

SUP Racing is a fast-growing sport that combines the skills of paddling technique, strength, balance and endurance. It’s a great way to get out on the water, challenge yourself, meet new people and improve your skills.


When it comes to SUP racing, having the right equipment is essential. There are a few key pieces of gear that you’ll need in order to get started.

Paddle Board

Hopefully it’s not a surprise that need a paddle board! The volume of your board will depend on your size, so make sure you get one that fits your body type.

We’ve created a board volume calculator that will help you to estimate the length of board that you will need.

SUP Volume Calculator

Bear in mind that this is just an estimate though, you should always try the board before you purchase it. You don’t need a race board when you’re starting out, you can always borrow of hire a board before you commit to buying one.

You will also need to decide whether you want a rigid board or an inflatable one. It depends on personal preference, skill level and the conditions in which you’ll be using the board.

Rigid carbon boards are lightweight and offer great speed and performance, but can be less forgiving and less stable than inflatable boards.

Inflatable boards are typically more durable and stable, great for people who are looking for a more comfortable and relaxed paddling experience. They can also be deflated and packed up for easier transportation.

SUP Racing Paddle

You may also want to invest in a race paddle. SUP racing paddles are typically narrower and have a flatter blade, which allows for more efficient strokes and faster speeds. They are also stiffer so that they don’t bend and power is transmitted from the paddler to the water without loss of efficiency.


Some races don’t require you to wear a Buoyancy aid, but they do usually require that you use a leash. Ankle leaches can be fastened just below the knee within easy reach, or consider getting a quick release belt leash for use on rivers or surf.


What you wear will depend on the time of year, weather and the distance of your race. Use your practice sessions to decide on what you will wear. Have a look at our article on what to wear if you’d like some tips. For longer distance races it’s always a good idea to take something warm and windproof in a dry bag.

Buoyancy Aid

Some race organisers will insist that competitors wear Buoyancy Aids. Check the rules for your race and ensure that any PFD you intend to use meets the required standards, for example some organisers require that it is ISO 12402-5 certified.

Certification information will be printed on the Buoyancy Aid, if you are buying online the certification details should be provided.

Water and Food

Energy gels or power bars are also a good idea for longer races. You should be able to work out how much you need to bring with you when you go on your training paddles.

Energy gels can cause an upset stomach, so make sure you test different types before race day!

Depending on the length of your race, you might want to bring water and food. Some racers like to use a Camelback type of water container, but you can just use a normal water bottle, don’t forget to tie it to your board.

Well prepared equipment is
essential for SUP racing

Having the right equipment is essential for successful SUP racing, so make sure you have all the necessary gear before starting your training. Next up, we’ll discuss some tips to help you get in shape and prepare for a race.

Training Tips

There are many different types of SUP racing, from sprints to long distance events.

Training for SUP racing is essential if you want to get the most out of your race day experience. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, it pays to have a plan in place that will help you build up your strength and endurance. Here are some tips on how to train for SUP racing:


Proper technique is key when it comes to SUP racing. Focus on honing your stroke efficiency by practicing with good form and paying attention to the details like hand placement, body rotation, and paddle angle. Make sure you also practice sprints so that you can increase your speed during races.

Here’s a great video from SUP Boarder on how to paddle like a pro:

Endurance Building

Endurance building exercises should also be part of any training program. Incorporate interval training into your routine by alternating between short bursts of intense paddling followed by short periods of rest or recovery strokes, for example:

30 seconds fast paddling
30 seconds recovery
Repeat x 5

As your fitness improves you can reduce your rest periods and increase your work times.

You can also add in longer distance sessions where you focus on maintaining a steady pace over time while gradually increasing the duration as needed.

Strength Training

Strength training is an important part of improving performance during races and reducing fatigue afterwards. Incorporate weight lifting exercises such as deadlifts, squats, lunges and rows into your weekly routine along with other bodyweight exercises like push-ups and pull-ups which will help build muscle mass throughout the entire body.

Include core exercises such as planks and squats which will strengthen muscles used during paddling and improve overall stability while on the board.

This is beneficial when powering through long distances or choppy water.

SUP Racing Rules

In the UK, SUP racing is governed by British Stand Up Paddleboarding Association (BSUPA). The BSUPA has established rules for SUP races in England, Scotland and Wales. These include race distances, board classes, equipment requirements and safety protocols. Racers must adhere to these rules or risk disqualification from the event.

Here’s an example of a Race Series Competition Rules, it includes details of:

  • Board Restrictions – Board and equipment design restrictions, for example; paddle with 1 blade, single hull board, no sails/baggy clothing, use of electronic equipment.
  • Equipment Restrictions – Event and Series scoring system.
  • Safety – Use of safety equipment such as Leaches and distress procedures.
  • Event Procedure – Briefings, Registration, time limits, Prize Giving etc.
  • Race Procedure – Types of Starts, Starting order, Start process and signals, Course rules, Drafting rules, Finishing.
  • Conduct – Doping, Collisions, Respect etc.

In the US, SUP racing is regulated by USA Surfing (USAS). USAS sets out specific guidelines for all aspects of competitive surfing including wave selection criteria and judging criteria for surf competitions. Additionally they have created a set of standards specifically tailored to stand up paddle board racing which includes details such as course designations and time limits per heat or race distance.

Globally there are several organisations responsible for regulating international events such as ISA World Championships or APP World Tour events. Each organisation has its own unique set of rules that apply to their respective events; however most will follow similar guidelines when it comes to safety protocols and equipment requirements such as mandatory buoyancy aids or leashes being worn at all times during competition.

Race Day Preparation

Race day is an exciting time for any paddle boarder, but it can also be a nerve-wracking experience. Preparation is key to keeping nerves under control and ensure that you have the best chance of success. Here are some tips to help you get ready:

Pack Your Gear

Make a list of everything you need on the day to ensure you don’t forget to pack anything. This includes your paddle board, paddle, leash, life jacket, clothing and other items such as sunscreen and water bottles.

Don’t forget to check the weather conditions so that you know what to wear.

Check Your Equipment

The week before the race, make sure all of your equipment is in good condition. Check that your paddle board has no cracks or damage and inspect all parts of it including fins, straps, handles etc., ensuring they are secure and not worn down from use over time. Also make sure that any accessories like leashes or paddles are in good condition too.

Check and double check your equipment

No matter how much preparation you do, race day can still be a nerve-wracking experience. To make sure your race goes as smoothly as possible, it’s important to know what to expect on the day of the event.

What to expect on Race Day

On race day, you’ll want to arrive early and be prepared. Unpacking your board and setting out all of your gear is the first step and can help settle your nerves.

Register for the race, the process will vary depending on the type of competition you’re entering into – some races may require online registration while others may need an in-person signup at the start line.

Read through any instructions carefully so that you know what documents or forms are needed prior to arriving at the race area.

After registering, take some time to familiarise yourself with the course layout and plan out how best to approach each section of water during your run. If possible get out on the water well before the starting, this will give you a better idea of wind, currents or tides throughout the course.

Race Starts

The details of the types of start, sequence of class starts and timings will be published before the race so by the time you get to the start you’ll know what’s happening.

Types of start

Beach Start – Competitors assemble along the length of the start line on the shore, leashes attached and holding boards and paddles. On the Start Signal they will run into the water and mount their boards.

Water Start – Competitors will start on water, standing on their boards along the start line.

Straddle Start – in the event of challenging weather conditions, Competitors can be asked to sit on their boards out on the water with their legs in the water on either side of the board (no kneeling). At the start signals Competitors start taking forward strokes and rise from their sitting position.

Start Warning Sequence

An example of the race warning signals and sequence is shown below, these will vary between events so check the rules for your event and attend the race briefing:

3-10 Minutes
1 Minute
10 Second
Race Start
Verbal Warning
Warning signal
Warning signal
Start signal
Read you Racing Rules and Notice of Race!!

On race day, expect to be surrounded by other passionate paddlers who are all working towards the same goal. After the race is over, it’s important to take time for post-race recovery and refuelling so you can stay healthy and ready for your next challenge.


The most important things are to have fun and stay safe! Don’t over think it and try to enjoy yourself. You can fine tune your technique and buy new equipment over time, you don’t have to win your first race!

FAQs in Relation to SUP Racing

What is a racing SUP?

A racing SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) is a specialized type of paddle board designed for speed and agility. It has a long, narrow shape with a pointed nose to cut through the water more efficiently, and its wider tail provides stability while paddling.

The design also allows racers to stand up higher on the board for better visibility and control when navigating around obstacles or other competitors. Racing SUPs are typically made from lightweight materials such as carbon fiber or epoxy resin to reduce drag in the water and increase performance.

How do you get into SUP racing?

SUP racing is a great way to challenge yourself and have fun on the water. To get started, you’ll need a good quality board that’s designed for racing. You’ll also want to make sure you have the right paddle and safety gear like a life jacket or leash. Once you’ve got your equipment sorted, it’s time to practice.

Start by paddling around in flat water conditions until you feel comfortable with your balance and technique. Then join some local races or SUP clinics to gain experience and build confidence before entering larger competitions. With dedication and determination, anyone can become an expert racer.

How much faster is a racing SUP?

Racing SUPs are designed to be much faster than recreational boards. They have a longer and narrower shape, allowing them to cut through the water more efficiently. The construction of racing SUPs is also lighter and stiffer, providing better performance in terms of speed and manoeuvrability.

Depending on the conditions, an experienced paddler can expect to see speeds up to 10-15% faster than with a recreational board. However, it is important to note that these speeds can vary greatly depending on the paddler’s skill level and the conditions of the water.

Is SUP harder than surfing?

SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boarding) is a relatively new water sport that has grown in popularity over the past decade. It can be argued that SUP is both easier and harder than surfing, depending on the individual’s skill level and experience with each activity. Generally speaking, SUP requires less balance since you are standing up on a board rather than lying down like when surfing.

However, it also requires more upper body strength to propel yourself forward while paddling. Ultimately, whether one activity is harder or easier than the other will depend on your own personal abilities and preferences.

A Beginner’s Easy Guide on How to Paddle Board

A Beginner’s Easy Guide on How to Paddle Board

Learning how to paddle board is easy, fun, and an ideal leisure activity for people of all ages who enjoy being on the water. The good news about a SUP paddle board experience is that anyone can learn how to get up on a standup paddle board after a brief practice session, even beginners or newcomers to water sports.

If you don’t already have a Paddle Board, then check out this article – What Size Paddle Board Do I Need.

Paddle boards are simple to handle, light, buoyant, and easy to steer. As you gain more experience as a Paddle Boarders you will be able to race, surf waves, or run river rapids.

Once up and cruising, it’s possible to immediately start enjoying leisurely long-distance touring, picnicking, fishing, sunset views, voyaging with your kids or favourite pet, and even practising yoga and other strength-building exercises on your SUP.

In this article, we’ll explain in simple terms how to paddle board, starting with six tips for learners, followed by a brief introduction to the parts of a SUP paddle board. And finally, how to stand up, balance and use the paddle correctly. Continue reading to discover how to cruise smoothly along a lovely quiet waterway or across a gorgeous bay like an expert – let’s take the paddle board plunge together!

6 Tips for SUP Paddle Board Beginners:

1. Head for Tranquil Waters

The best bet for SUP paddle board newbies is to start on calm water, for example, a quiet lake, restful farm dam, meandering river, or maybe even a sparkling turquoise lagoon in a tropical holiday setting. Avoid beaches with surf, waves, or currents. Restful water is essential for a beginner learning to get their balance.

2. Select a Quiet Area

Choose a protected environment to start learning, preferably a quiet and remote place with no wind. It’s best to have plenty of space to practise, especially on the first attempt, so be sure there’s a large area on the water where it’s possible to manoeuvre and turn wide circles, making the accidental mistake. Learning how to stand up on a paddle board on a busy lake or off beaches packed with tourists, surfers, kiteboarders, and swimmers may prove hazardous. And it’s easier to relax and concentrate when no one is watching.

3. Find a Suitable Starting Depth

The next step is to find a good entry point where the water is at least 20 – 30 inches deep and suitable for floating on a paddle board before attempting to kneel and then standing up on it. Choose a spot where it’s easy to launch a SUP, bearing in mind that they are bulky, although very lightweight. Ensure the water has easy access with low banks or a beach, so there’s no trouble getting in or out.

4. Check for Obstacles in the Water

Scan the area for obstructions, like boats, floating pontoons, rocks, sandbanks, logs, piers, fishing nets, or other water revellers – before entering with the paddleboard. Make a note of areas to avoid and decide where you will travel once upon the board – planning keeps you safe.

5. Pack a Mobile Phone and Sun Protection

It’s a good idea to take a mobile phone in case you get stuck on a far bank or the other side of a sweeping bay and need to call for a ride back to base. Just pop it in a waterproof case and have it on a lanyard around your neck or in your dry bag that you can attach securely to the SUP paddle board.

Let a friend know where you are and what you’re planning – so if anything happens, like getting stuck miles down a river, they know where to find you. Ensure you have adequate sunblock, a hat, a T-shirt, a towel, and maybe even a dry carry bag with water and snacks. There’s plenty of space on SUPs, enough for a couple, a picnic basket, a small backpack – and even the family dog. Check out this article on how to Avoid Sunburn While Paddle Boarding.

Getting to Know Your SUP

Paddle boards are usually between 10 to 12 feet long (3-3.5 meters) and weigh 15 to 30 pounds (7-14kgs). Check out our guide to getting the right paddle board for your needs. Inflatable or epoxy fibreglass models are medium-weight, commonly found, and moderately priced, both excellent choices for beginners learning how to stand up, paddle, and balance for the first time. Carbon boards are the lightest but more costly and thus recommended for more advanced boarders.

How to Paddle Board

SUP Deck and Handle Well

The surface of a SUP paddle board is called the deck and should have a non-slip material covering the rear seating, kneeling, or standing area. Choose a light-coloured matting if possible because it will reflect the sun’s heat better – and feel cooler to the touch. The front part of the deck is the nose, and the back end is called the tail. Right in the middle of the deck is the handle well (or carry handle), used to attach a carry strap for transport.

SUP Rails, D-Rings, and Leash

The sides of the board are the rails – they are slightly raised and curved for a better grip. SUPs have D-rings attached to the inside of the rails to connect portable seats – and one at the tail for the leash. The leash attaches via velcro straps to your ankle and should stay attached to avoid the board drifting away and getting lost – in the unlikely case of capsizing. The straps of a portable seat attach just behind the carry handle for a solo and in front of it for a passenger, pet or camera, scuba diving, or fishing equipment.

SUP Fins

Fins are blade-like plastic objects which clip onto the base of the paddleboard and protrude into the water. There may be one, or two fins beneath the board, lending it stability in the water and aiding your balance. Remember to clip them on before you set out.

How to hold a SUP Paddle

Check out our quick YouTube guide on how to hold your paddle boarding paddle…

Have a look at our YouTube Channel for more How To Videos!

Hold the paddle in one hand upright with the end planted on the ground – and the blade pointed straight in the air. Reach up with the other hand and adjust the paddle blade so that the tip fits into your cupped fingers – this is the optimal length for your body height.

How to Get Up on a Stand Up Paddle Board

Now that you’re familiar with SUPs, it’s time to get out on the water. Here’s how to do it.

Step One: Kneel on Deck

Stand to one side of the board, which should be gently stable on a calm surface, and place one foot on the board. Attach the leash, then kneel on the SUP with a knee on either side of the carry handle, resulting in your body weight bearing slightly to the rear of the middle, just forward of the tail. Always kneel for launch and entry because it’s easier to control the board in this position.

Step Two: Move to a Safe Zone

Hold the paddle with one hand on the middle of the shaft and the other near the blade and move out to a safe zone in deeper water before trying to stand.

Step Three: Stand Up Slowly

Once in a safe area, a bit out from shore, you’re ready to stand on the sup paddleboard. Grip the paddle horizontally with both hands about a foot from its centre, then lower it, placing your knuckles on the deck. Bring your leading foot, then the second, to a knees-half-bent position and straighten up slowly, keeping eyes forward, the paddle blade in the water, and a slight bend in the knees. You’re up, and it’s time to start moving forward in a straight direction.

How to Paddle a Stand Up Paddle Board

Hold the paddle with the hand nearest the fin in the middle and the other firmly gripping the top of the shaft. Lift the paddle and dip it into the water near the nose. Keeping it underwater, sweep the blade firmly along the rail towards the tail in one smooth movement, only lifting it once it has completed the length of the deck. Raise the paddle once again and repeat this movement three to four times.

How to Balance on a Stand Up Paddle Board

The SUP paddleboard will move directly forward for a while after a few strokes … and it’s okay to raise the paddle and let it drift while finding your balance. Keep your knees slightly bent and your eyes focused on where you want to go. Make sure you’re standing just behind the carry well with feet equidistant from the centre of the board.

Keep a straight back and evenly weighted feet on slightly bent knees. Balance comes quickly with practice. If you feel uncomfortable or the wind blows too strongly, return to a kneeling position to regain control.

Changing Sides

After a few strokes on one side, the board will veer in that direction, so it’s time to change sides. Slide the hand that grips the handle down to meet the one in the middle. Then, once you’ve got a firm grip, swing the paddle over to the other side, and move the second hand to the top of the shaft. Take three to four more firm forward strokes and let the board drift.

Turning Around on a SUP

To turn slowly, dip the paddle into the water at the nose. Instead of bringing it back in a straight line along the side of the rail, move it outwards and back to the tail in a wide semi-circle. Here’s a video to demonstrate:

To turn more rapidly, called a Step Back Turn, plunge the paddle in at the tail – and swing an arc towards the nose, keeping the blade below the surface. Here’s a video to demonstrate:

Congratulations! You’ve got the basics of learning how to paddle board, and now practical experience is all you need. We hope you have a fabulous time out on the water, getting your balance and trying out various manoeuvres on