Stand-up paddling is the fastest-growing watersport because it’s fun. It’s easy to begin by simply buying or hiring a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) and heading out to the nearest stretch of water.
However, while it’s fun to simply stand on the board and then fall off, at some point you’ll want to progress in the sport. When you improve at paddleboarding, you will be safer on your SUP, you will be able to explore more interesting stretches of water, and you will have much more fun.
The following simple tricks are the first things you must learn if you want to learn how to paddleboard so you can progress and get more from your SUP.
If there’s one thing you can guarantee will happen to you on your SUP, it’s that you will fall off. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It happens to everyone, which is why you must always wear a leash, so you don’t wind up too far from your board. But there’s falling and there’s falling. If you know how to fall properly, you will avoid injury.
When you take your first paddles on your SUP, choose safe places to practice. A beach with a soft, sandy bottom below the waves and a lifeguard on duty is ideal. But don’t be afraid of falling. You’re not diving from the top of a 60 platform, and you’re not even falling from the raised side of a swimming pool. You’re only falling a short distance.
When you feel yourself falling, avoid your board. Most people only get hurt when they land on their SUP. The water is soft, but your SUP is hard. Fall flat instead of feet first. If you hit the bottom feet first in shallow water, any hard object down there will hurt your feet. When you fall flat, you only hit the water, and it will absorb your fall.
Also, hold onto your paddle as you fall. If you don’t, you could land on your paddle and hurt yourself. You might also lose your paddle. If you want to ensure you fall the right way every time, practice falling deliberately in safe locations until falling into the water while retaining your paddle becomes second nature.
The simplest way to clamber back aboard your SUP after a fall is to slide your chest onto the board from the side while kicking your feet backward. If there is a handle in the center of your board’s deck, like on the Big EZ Hawaiian Air, make use of it. Don’t kick downward toward the bottom because you’ll unbalance your board and make things difficult. Let your body float flat and then kick backward.
Many tourists using hired boards jump off their SUP and splash blindly into the surf. If there’s something under the water or a hard surface, they can easily twist or otherwise hurt their feet. Bring your board into a shallow area, with a soft bottom where possible. Lower yourself into a kneeling position and then step off to the side one foot at a time. Don’t jump.
Don’t be tempted to paddle your board all the way onto the shore. Not only is there a danger of hitting something and momentum forcing you off your board onto a hard surface, but you will also scratch the base of your board. Keep your board undamaged by picking it up in shallow water and carrying it to shore.
Robert Baker is a blogger and a travel writer for many years and has been providing destination guides and recommendations to places he has been.
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