Top 7 Best Stand Up Paddle Boarding Tips for Beginners

May 5, 2020

At Bill Jackson’s, we love helping beginners as they embark on new adventures. One such adventure for which customers seek our help is standup paddle boarding (SUP). The sport can be traced as far back as the 18th century, but has really taken off in the past two decades. It can seem a daunting task to enter the sport, but these 7 paddle boarding tips for beginners will help you in the right direction.

Paddle Boarding Tips for Beginners:


1.  Choose the right board style for your specific use


First ask yourself how you will use the paddle board. Will you paddle short distances, and enjoy the activity? Or will you seek to travel from point A to point B? Perhaps you wil use it for fishing, or yoga. There are two basic types of board hulls:

Displacement Hull

Is designed to cut through small chop and waves. It also improves tracking due to water resistance at the nose of the board.  This board type is good for traveling a distance.

Planing Hull

This type is more maneuverable because of upswept nose. It is less stable, since board is affected more by the water conditions than a Displacement board.  This board type is good for play whether in surf or just exploring.  It’s main advantage is maneuverability.

2. Select the right board size for you


Once you’ve determined the right board type, consider the length and width of the board. This is determined not only by your size, but also by your use.


The longer a board is the straighter it tracks. That is good for the person who wants to travel a distance. A shorter a board is more maneuverable which is good for those want to explore or play with the activity.


When looking at the same style and length, the wider a board is the more stable it will be.


New paddleboarders should keep an eye on a boards weight capacity. A novice should be at least 20% lighter than the total weight capacity for a more enjoyable ride.

3.  Choose a paddle size


The length of a paddle should be roughly 10-12 inches taller than you. A great way to measure this is to grab the paddle with it standing straight up with a slight bend in the elbow. A nice paddle tends to be light and stiff. A light paddle takes less energy to use. This matters less when you are out for an hour, and more if you are out for the day. A stiff paddle transfers energy for efficiently which makes each stroke count more.

4. Start slow and easy


If you are a beginner, it is alright to own that fact. Standup paddle boarding does take some skill, and it has to be learned. Many new paddlers will start on their knees to get used to the way the board wants to float and wobble. This is a great way to boost confidence.

5. Remember to be safe


A whistle and PFD (Personal Flotation Device) is required by Law in the State of Florida. You must have them with you, and within reach. We also highly recommend you have an ankle leash. If you were to fall off your board, it is possible to get separated from it. This can be and has been a serious safety issue.

6.  Take a Class.


It is always a good idea to seek help from someone more experienced. That is what Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure is all about. We normally offer classes for many of the sports to which we cater. Learning the correct way to paddlie will greatly enhance your enjoyment. Although at the time of this posting, our classes have been postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. We hope soon to return to classes soon.

7.  Practice, Practice, Practice…


The more you paddle… The more experience and confidence you wil have.  Get out as much as you can to enjoy all this sport has to offer.