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Image: Pounamu staffer Naomi, SUPing near Auckland, New Zealand!
Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is a perfect all-around activity - a great way to explore new rivers, ponds, or lakes, and enjoy the outdoors while getting a full body workout in! It’s a fun, challenging hobby that is accessible to many skills and ages.
Like any water sport, no matter how experienced you are, it is important to be prepared before heading out on your paddle board. Here are a few quick tips to consider before your water adventure!
Things you will need:
Nothing is worse than forgetting something at home that will ruin your day or jeopardize your safety on the water. Make sure you leave the house prepared!
Paddle board with Confidence
Now that you have everything you need for the day - it’s time to paddle board confidently! If it is your first time paddle boarding, make sure you go on a day when the wind is calm, there are minimal waves, and, if possible, a shallow sandy spot.
It can be hard to balance and step onto a paddle board for the first time. Here are some tips:
Alternatively, paddling on your knees before standing up is an effective way to get comfortable with balancing and paddling simultaneously. When you’re ready, you can try to stand up!
The hard part is complete! When standing and paddling, make sure to look ahead. It is easy to look down at your feet, but that will make it harder to balance! Keep your shoulders and eyes looking forward.
If you weren’t so lucky to get standing up on your first try, or after a few paddles, you lost your balance and fell, don’t stress! It happens to everyone, even the experts. Getting back on the board is simple with a bit of practice.
What is happening with your paddle during all of this? When you are getting onto your paddle board, place your paddle on the board before getting on. If you lose your paddle while getting on or in a fall, get back onto the board first, and while kneeling on the board, use your hands to get yourself back onto your paddle.
Holding the paddle correctly will make your SUP experience more enjoyable. When using the paddle on the right side of your board, your left hand should be on the top of the paddle handle, with your right hand a few feet below that. When paddling on the other side, use the same hand positions but swap hands. Most paddles will have a t-shaped handle at the end for gripping.
Before you paddle, make sure the blade on your paddle is facing the correct direction. The blade should angle forward from the shaft and toward the front of your paddle board. It is common to see new paddle boarders misuse the paddle with the blade facing down, but you shouldn’t be using your paddle that way unless you are doing a particular technique.
Start with gentle paddles until you feel comfortable with your strokes, balance, and maneuverability. Spend at least 25 - 45 minutes on the water for the first few sessions to get your muscles comfortable with the new activity. You may find your muscles sore after a SUP adventure! That is the beauty of the sport - getting lost in the moment, enjoying your surroundings, and staying active!
Bring a friend along! Not only to share the activity but so both of you have someone with you and watching. If you are going alone, always tell someone your plans and check back in when you are finished.
Here at Pounamu, we love spending time on the water when the weather is nice, and paddle boarding is one of the activities we lean toward to stay active!
Have fun, and we’ll see you on the water!
Image: Pounamu staffer Naomi SUPing at sunset in British Columbia, Canada. See the dot in the water behind here? It's a seal following her!