How to Launch and Stand Up on a Paddle Board

If you’re new to stand-up paddle boarding, it’s totally understandable to feel intimidated about getting on your board and paddling away. But don’t worry, with some tips and a little practice, you’ll be a pro in no time!

How to Launch a SUP From the Shore

To launch your paddle board:

  1. Wade into knee-deep water: To prevent damage to your SUP’s fins, carry the board out into water that is knee-deep before setting it down. This depth should be enough to keep most fins from hitting the bottom.
  2. Start on your knees: Grab the board by the edges and slowly make your way onto the board in a kneeling position. The center of the board is located behind the carry handle.
  3. lie down: If you’re feeling uneasy about starting in a kneeling position on your board, you can always begin by lying down in the prone position and using your hands to paddle out – just like a surfer would! To stow your paddle, place the blade under your chest with the power face against the board. The shaft should be pointing diagonally up and toward the nose of the board. This position is best whnen you have a paddle board with seat
  4. Use your paddle: When getting into a kneeling position on your paddle board, lay your paddle across the board so the blade touches the water. This will help stabilize your board.
  5. Move away from obstacles: When you’re ready to start surfing, make sure you’re in deep enough water that you won’t hit the bottom if you fall. You should also be far enough away from any obstacles. If you’re lying down on your surfboard, get up on your knees first.

How to Stand Up on a SUP

You can start from a kneeling position on your board, and then slowly stand up while keeping your balance. You can also try lying on your stomach first and then pushing up into a standing position. Use your paddle to help you balance, and make sure to practice in calm water before you try paddling in rougher conditions.

  1. Move one foot at a time: Place your hands on the sides of the board to stabilize it. Place your feet where your knees are by moving one foot at a time.
  2. Weight your hands: When transitioning from kneeling to standing, bear most of your weight onto your palms to ensure you’ll feel more grounded as you move your feet.
  3. Raise your chest and stand: Rather than standing up in one fluid motion, start by placing your feet on the board and raising your chest while keeping your knees bent. Once your chest is vertical, extend your legs to complete the standing position.
  4. Practice on land: If you want to get used to the feeling of standing on a board without the instability of water, try practicing on land. Take the fin off your board and lay it down on a soft surface, such as grass or sand. This will help you get used to the movements and help you build up your confidence before getting into the water.

How to Balance on a SUP

While you’re standing on your board, there are a few things you can do to help you keep your balance:

  • Find the right stance: Position your feet hip-width distance apart with your toes pointed forward. Keep your knees slightly bent, and maintain a straight back. Center your feet between the edges of the board.
  • Use your hips: Keep your head and shoulders steady and upright, and shift your weight to your hips. Allow your lower body to move separately from your upper body. This will assist you in remaining balanced and avoiding injury.
  • Use your paddle: In order to keep your canoe from tipping over, it is important to keep your paddle in the water as much as possible. The paddle acts as an outrigger, providing stability to the canoe. 
  • Relax your feet: When you’re feeling unstable on the board, it’s natural to grip it with your feet. However, doing this can lead to numb and/or tired feet. Instead, focus on keeping your feet relaxed and not pressing them down too hard into the board.

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