Entering the realm of paddle boarding can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Paddle boarding can be just as easy or hard as you want it to be, and anyone can do it if they work at it enough. Before getting on the water and making your first paddle board purchase, consider whether or not stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is something you want to pursue and whether or not you are prepared for the hard work that goes into mastering this sport. You may find yourself answering yes to both of these questions after reading this article on the basics of stand up paddle boarding!
How long does it take to learn stand up paddling?
The main thing is to just get out there and paddle, paddle, paddle. If you don’t know what you’re doing, that’s okay! Most of us were beginners at one point, and it takes a little practice to get it down. Of course if you have lessons from a professional instructor that will definitely help, but it really doesn’t take too long to pick up on your own. So don’t be intimidated! Grab some friends, head over to your favorite spot, and start paddling away. You’ll be an expert in no time.
And what if I am not athletic?
While stand up paddle boarding may seem like a sport for those who are athletic, it’s actually not. While you do need to paddle in order to move forward, there is mostly balance involved. The key is keeping your core tight and using your legs as well as your arms while paddling through the water. Your core will get a workout while you catch a tan on your new board! After about 10 minutes of practice most people can be out on their own enjoying a fun day at the beach or lake. As with any other activity that involves moving from one place to another (walking, running) practice makes perfect – you just need to stop be afraid of falling off; Those who paddle board report it feels very similar to surfing but because you are higher off of the water, it is easier to learn and feel comfortable with movement.
What if I don’t know how to swim?
If you don’t know how to swim, it is not necessary to learn in order to paddle board. There are ways of safely standing up on a paddle board that do not involve swimming. That said, there are plenty of benefits to learning how to swim if you can; paddle boarding next to someone who knows how to doggie paddle might make for an awkward day out on the water—and isn’t everyone more fun when they know their way around some basic water safety? Get yourself over at your local YMCA or community center and take a class! You’ll be glad you did. (Bonus: Learning something new always makes us feel good.)
What if I am afraid of water?
If you’re afraid of getting in water, then paddle boarding is not for you. If you don’t want to put your head under water, or are scared of sharks and other creatures then do not use a stand up paddle board…
As with most things in life, practice makes perfect. The more you paddle, the better you’ll get. You should expect to fall a lot at first and even in subsequent weeks and months of your paddling career. But it’s not as hard as it looks; all it takes is enough practice and you’ll be out there, too!