how to use a paddle board

If you enjoy water sports, but you don’t live near the ocean or know how to surf, then paddle boarding is a good alternative when you want to ride some waves. Paddle boarding has been done in some form for thousands of years, but the modern sport was developed in Hawaii to ride waves when the swells were low. If you’re interested in the sport, you will need to learn how to use a paddle board.

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How to do Stand Up Paddle Boarding

You won’t need to buy a paddle board to learn the sport. You can take lessons while on vacation, Hawaii would be a great place to learn, and they will supply the necessary equipment. If you ask someone “how do you paddle board?” they may provide you with these 11 tips.

Use the Buddy System

Before heading out to the lake or beach to try paddle boarding, find a friend or relative who will go with you. A novice paddle boarder shouldn’t be alone when learning how to use a SUP. They could fall off the board, get injured, and be in danger if they are alone. If you cannot find someone to go with you, then go to a beach or lake where there are lifeguards on duty in case you need help while in the water.

Rent Equipment

Before investing $160 up to $2,500 on a stand up paddle board, try the sport to decide if you like it before buying equipment. Rent a paddle board set up from a local company that offers boating and water sports equipment. Since stand up paddle boarding doesn’t require waves to have fun, the sport can be done almost anywhere there is water, including landlocked states like Colorado, Utah, or Kansas.

Pick a Calm Day

Look at the weather forecast when you’re ready to learn how to paddle board. Pick out a nice day with little wind to make it easier to stand and balance on a board. If the wind is blowing hard, the water will be choppy, making it more difficult to maintain your balance.

High winds can also carry you further out on the water, which you may not be ready for if you’re on the ocean. As you practice balancing on a SUP, then you’ll be able to handle it on windier days.

Put on a Leash

Attaching a leash to the board and around your ankle is a safety precaution you should always use. No matter what type of stand up paddle boarding you do and what body of water you’re on, using a leash can save your life.

If you fall off the board in deep water when you’re tired or if you’ve been injured, the board will act as a floatation device to help keep your head above water. Without a leash, a breeze of any kind can quickly separate you from the board, making it more difficult to be spotted and helped.

Learn Prone Paddling

Although you can launch a SUP from the beach or the shore of a lake or river, prone paddling allows you to go out deeper into the water before using the paddle. Prone paddling is the same technique surfers use to go out to the waves.

Lay flat on your stomach, with the paddle in a vertical position on the board and with the blade underneath your upper body to prevent it from falling off the board. Put an arm in the water on either side of the board and move your arms as if you are swimming to take the board out onto the water.

Learn Knee Paddling

If you don’t want to lay down to move the board through the water, sit on your knees and paddle out onto the water. Place the paddle between your knees to prevent it from going overboard and floating away. Balance your body in the center of the SUP to keep the nose and tail level on the water.

How to Hold Paddle Board Paddle

To move smoothly through the water with the least amount of resistance on your body, you need to learn how to hold the paddle so that the blade is in the correct position. The blade has a slight angle on one side which looks like it should be used to scoop water away when paddling it. However, if you’re scooping water, you’re holding the paddle backward.

The correct way to hold the blade would be with the angled side facing the back of the paddle board, or away from you, so it glides easily through the water. Holding the paddle correctly will prevent your shoulder and arm muscles from working too hard to efficiently move the paddle board through the water, which will also help you learn how to use a paddle board correctly.

Paddle Grip

The grip on the paddle should be the same grip you would use on a canoe paddle. Firmly grip the T-bar handle at the top with one hand and hold the paddle around the middle of it with the opposite hand. Then as you’re paddling, switch sides to help steer the board straight.

When you switch the paddle to the other side of the board, move your hands to the opposite positions. For instance, if you start with the left hand on the top of the handle, switch, so the right is at the top position when switching to the other side of the board. If you only paddle on one side of the board, the board will only move in a circle.

Face the Correct Way

When you get the board in the water, make sure it is facing the right direction. For novice paddle boarders, it can be difficult to determine which is the nose, or front, of a board. If you’re learning on a beginner’s board, the nose will usually be rounded, the board will be tall, and the fins should be at the back of the board.

Check where the fins are before getting on the board to make sure it will be traveling in the right direction. The fins on a paddle board help keep it stable and straight as it moves through the water. If you didn’t check the board and it feels wobbly, the board is probably facing the wrong direction.

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How to Stand Up

Before you can start paddling a board, you first need to stand up on it. Learning the proper technique for standing up on a board will keep it from tipping over and you from falling into the water. If you’re laying on the board paddling to deeper waters, stop paddling and move into a kneeling position.

Place the paddle horizontality across the board and grab the sides of it with each hand. Place one foot at a time onto the board’s deck where your knee was until you’re in a squatting position. Then slowly stand up, bringing the paddle along with you.

As you stand, adjust your feet as necessary to maintain your balance on the board. Ideally, your feet should be about as wide apart as your hips when standing on the deck. Grip the paddle as previously mentioned to start moving through the water.

Paddling a Board

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After you’ve come to a standing position, bend your knees slightly and make sure the core of your body is centered over the board. The core is made up of the abdominal, side, and major pectoral muscles which help support the skeletal system and provides the body with flexibility.

When paddling, use these muscles instead of those in your arms. The core muscles are stronger, and you won’t get as tired as quickly if you use them instead of your arm muscles. A paddle stroke involves immersing the paddle into the water and pulling it back toward your ankles, then lifting it back out of the water and repeating the stroke.

To move backwards or to stop the paddle board, put the paddle into the water and move it forward instead of back. Doing this will reverse the direction of the board, and if you do it slowly, the board will come to a stop.

Following these 11 tips can teach paddle boarding how to to almost anyone. Not only is paddle boarding fun, but there are many physical benefits to riding one:

  • It is a low-impact exercise, so it is gentle on your joints.
  • Paddling boarding can help improve your balance.
  • It is a good cardio workout.
  • It can improve your physical endurance, especially since it is a full body workout.
  • Paddle boarding can reduce stress as you’re out on the water enjoying yourself.

Unlike surfing, parasailing, and other water sports, paddling boarding doesn’t require someone to be in superb shape to participate in the sport. Almost anyone of any age can learn how to use a paddle board and enjoy riding the waves, taking a trip down a river, or soak up the sun while on a lake.

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