Paddle boarding is not only a fun outdoor activity; it also provides great health benefits. If you want to learn how to paddle board, then firstly you should select a destination with calm waters and without any wind turbulence or tides. Because it will be your first time riding a board, you must be mentally and physically ready to face initial failures. Once you get the hang of things, you will have a great learning experience and with each passing day, this activity will seem easier than before. Some of the basic things that can help you to learn the art of how to paddle board are discussed in this article.
Choosing a Solid or Inflatable Paddle Board
While opting for paddle boarding, you should first make a decision whether you want to select a solid or an inflatable board and the appropriate size of the board as per your requirements. The standard boards used for this activity come with a minimum size limit of nine feet and can extend up to twelve feet in length. The solid boards are manufactured using glass-reinforced plastic as an exterior and a core made up of polyurethane.
Due to their large size it is quite difficult to store these boards when they are not in use. As the price ranges from six hundred to fifteen hundred dollars, you cannot just store them inside your garage or any other storage room with all the other items. This will create a problem if you have limited storage space.
If you are living in a restricted space then storing these huge boards can be quite challenging. Even transporting these solid boards in your car can be a bit difficult. In this situation you can opt for inflatable SUP paddle boards which are manufactured using a high-grade PVC, making it quite easy to store or carry.
How to Carry a Board and Paddle
If you have an inflatable board you can take it to the water’s edge, where you can inflate it for boarding. On the other hand, if you have a solid board, then carrying it to the water can be a bit difficult if you do not have any prior experience in carrying both the paddle and board at the same time. Generally, the majority of the solid boards have inbuilt handles in the center which provide the required balance when carrying the board. You can carry the paddle in the other hand, while carrying the board to the edge of the water. You must take care of the leash while doing so, as it can get entangled around your feet. Just coil it around the end of the board and through the fins to secure it properly. Some of the boards do not have any handles; in such a situation, just tuck the board under your arm while holding the bottom edge with your fingers.
How to Get on a Board While in the Water
Once you are knee-deep in water, the paddle should be placed parallel on the board with the handle in front. Try not to put pressure on the joint of the paddle as it can result in bending or breaking, depending upon the material that was used in the manufacturing of the paddle. Once you have positioned the paddle on the board, grab the side of the board and try to mount it while keeping your body in the center of the board.
While mounting the board, place yourself in a kneeling position with your knees on either side of the board. The perfect position for the rider in this situation is at the center of the board with the paddle in front. Once you have achieved this position, just grab the handle and start rowing. If you have no experience in paddling then you should practice a few strokes, while still in the kneeling position, until you learn the routine of successful paddling.
How to Handle the Paddle
Most of the paddles have a bend in their structure and the stand-up paddles have one just above the paddle blade. The most common mistake made by a beginner while paddling is by holding the paddle with the bend positioned at the back of the board.
The perfect position to hold the paddle is by keeping it in a vertical position with a slight forward angle. This position helps the rider to generate more power. While handling the paddle, just hold the T-grip of the handle with one arm while placing the palm on the back of the handle and ensure your fingers are encasing the top. The other hand should be placed in the upper middle region of the paddle or you can opt for the position that is most suitable for you.
After going through some paces you will start controlling the board with a few paddle strokes. Keep on practicing the rowing and when you are totally confident that you can control the board, you should opt for other activities such as yoga, surfing, touring, and stand-up boarding.
Precautions for Paddle Boarding
Some of the precautions which should be taken into account while learning how to paddle board are:
- Hold the paddle from the top, instead of holding it like a broomstick with both hands on the shaft.
- Keep one hand on the shaft while holding the T-grip with your one hand.
- The distance between both the hands should be a shoulder width apart.
- Never go for the surfing position on the board, unless you are quite confident that you have full control of the board.
- Use your back muscles rather than your arms for paddling.
- Fully dip the blade of the paddle under water and push it with long strokes for increased efficiency and power.
It is a well-known fact that you cannot learn swimming without getting into the water. This is the same for paddle boarding. You cannot just learn this sport by just going through articles or viewing online tutorials. In order to become a pro at this activity, you have to learn by trial and error.
At the beginning you may have some problems but you should remain committed to your learning schedule and you will be able to learn the basics of paddle boarding in just a few days. It is highly recommended to acquire the services of a professional trainer to help you understand and learn this sport.
If you want to go beyond the limits of swimming on your first day out, do not forget to have a personal floatation device such as a life vest.