Some people will get on a paddle board and within a few minutes be up on their feet while others will take longer to feel confident enough to stand. There is no rule about when you have to stand or how long it should take you. Some of the most coordinated people I know struggle to keep their balance on the water while others seem to master it their first time. We share a few tips that will help you with how to stand up on a paddle board for the first time:
Choose a Calm Body of Water
Personal experience has taught us some valuable lessons. That first time out on the water when it’s the sea and a choppy day… not good! Don’t expect to be able to master standing if you’re out on choppy waves. Choose a calm stretch of flat water like a river and choose a day when the water isn’t being whipped up by the waves.
Take a Lesson
If you want to feel more confident and learn from the professionals, there are local paddle board companies that offer lessons, organised boarding sessions and board hire. They will teach you the basics so that you can be confident that if you buy your own board, when you take it out on the water, you will know what you are doing. They will be able to offer their advice and input on the different types of board to try which we cover in more detail in our article on how to choose a stand up paddle board.
Before You Get on the Water Check Out the Depth
If you’re on the sea, you will no doubt launch from the shore and wade out into the shallow before getting on your board. If you’re launching on a river, you will have no idea how deep the water is. A jetty means you are leaving it to fate. If it’s a sloping pontoon, you will be able push your board off while still standing up. If you are unsure of the depth then wear a life vest and be very careful. Start off on your knees and make sure you feel confident before you stand up
Be Prepared to Get Wet
There is a very high chance that you will fall in the first time or two. It’s not an absolute that you will fall in. I never did and I know others that haven’t. Some do though. They get it eventually but we all learn at different rates. We didn’t all just get on a bike and start riding so have a little patience. Be prepared to get wet with light clothing, a change of clothes, no valuable jewellery on and a dry bag with your keys etc in. As you get more experienced, you will probably stow stuff on your board. Don’t do this until you are confident.
Tether yourself to the board using the leash which you should do at all times. Your board is a valuable buoyancy aid, not to mention the fact that it’s not cheap and you don’t want it floating off without you!
Check Out YouTube Videos
If you prefer to the self taught approach, check out online resources. There are some excellent resources online like this little video from Blue Planet. You can find so many videos, personally we prefer the shorter clips – but everyone takes in information differently. This is the video we like to share though. Simple and straightforward although he’s not wearing a life jacket. We do advise wearing a life vest when paddling, especially as a beginner.
If you’re not the video watching type, this handy graphic may help you understand the steps of how to stand up on a paddle board:
Source: Fix.com Blog
There are many people who want to be able to run before they can walk and expect to nail everything first time. On the other end of the scale are those who fear trying new things and expect themselves to be rubbish at it. I am often shocked at how many people I see with a really strong core that are keen sports people who struggle. There is often no rhyme and reason. Some people are naturals, others are more cautious. There are so many factors to consider which will influence how you feel when standing on a paddle board those first few times:
- The water you are on – is it choppy or still
- Your strength and balance
- How confident you feel
- How nervous you are
- The type of board you have
Just relax, don’t judge yourself (no-one else is) and take your time. As you paddle up and down various bodies of water you will see all kinds of people sitting, kneeling, standing, doubled up in pairs etc. Some people even buy the kayak seat (or not) for their board and prefer to use it like a canoe. There are no rules. While much of the time you will find us standing up, when we get tired, the current gets stronger, or we fancy taking it easy, we will sit down and paddle. It’s a pastime to be enjoyed, a way to relax and a different way to view nature so go easy on yourself and enjoy your time on the water.