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How to Stand Up on a Paddleboard: A Beginner’s Guide

April 10, 2018

Paddleboarding is a truly different water experience, one you must try to fully appreciate. It might be hard to stand up on a paddleboard for the first time. Here’s is where we can help.

“It’s easier to stand up on a paddle board than you think,” says Marcus, who works in Bill Jackson’s Paddling Dept. “It’s a very unique thing to stand on water. You’ve just got to do it.”

Paddleboarding requires little equipment and just minutes to learn. At a minimum, you need a paddleboard – also known as standup paddleboard (SUP) – a personal flotation device (PFD), a leash and a paddle. Put any other belongings in a dry bag and secure it to the board with a bungee. Wear a bathing suit or clothing that will dry quickly. You’re probably going to get wet.

Here are some paddleboarding tips to get you up and on your way:

Starting point

Never get atop your paddleboard on land. Some boards may be able to handle it, but most times this results in cracking the board.

Float the board in calm water along a shoreline. Get deep enough that fins don’t touch the bottom. You’ll likely be in water less than knee deep. Secure the leash around your ankle. Grab your paddle.

Stand on the right or left side of the board. Find the center of the board. Generally it’s where the hand hold is on the deck. Set your paddle across the board, and climb on hands and knees. Position yourself on or just behind the center spot.

Get a feel for the board by paddling from a kneeling position. Take a stroke or two on one side, then switch to the other.

To stand up, get on all fours again. The paddle shaft should be across the board again. With your hands and paddle still on the deck, move one foot forward, then the other into a crouched position.
Slowly stand up, turning the paddle into a post position. Use the paddle to steady yourself and move your feet shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in the knees for balance.

Now paddle forward, stroking on each side. Keep a slight bend in the knees to compensate for waves and balance.

Dismount by reversing the steps to stand up.

Now enjoy your new sport.

Come into Bill Jackson’s to take a paddleboarding class and learn about stopping, turns and more.