Paddle boarding is all the rage these days.
If you’re interested in the sport but haven’t ever tried it, here’s what you need to know to get started and have a great time on your board.
Where can you do it?
Whenever you need a break from your office, from your liberal arts degree studies, or just from life in general, paddle boarding is a great way to get exercise while enjoying nature and giving your heart and mind a break.
A paddle boarding Florida experience is one of the best choices for beginners, since Florida’s weather ensures an amazing experience all year round and offers plenty of places to take out your board. Ride on the ocean, in bays and inlets, or on rivers all over the state.
What board do I need?
The most common type of board you see is one made of fiberglass with a foam core. They look a bit like surfboards, but they’re a lot thicker. The all-around stand up paddle board, or SUP, is usually the most versatile for fishing, yoga, or touring and can be used on all types of water.
A fishing SUP has a bigger deck pad so you have room for your gear, while a yoga board is usually wider and more stable than other types. Touring or racing SUPs are made to be easier to push through the water, so they are narrower.
What equipment do I need?
You’ll need a leash, a paddle, and whatever you’re bringing along on your adventure. When you rent a board, you’ll be given a leash that goes around your ankle and keeps you from being separated from your board if you fall off. Always use this.
You’ll also be given a paddle that fits the type of board you’re renting and is suitable for your height. The longer side of the paddle is for flat water, while the shorter side will help you move through surf. If you’re using a board to fish or get to a picnic spot, make sure you have a stable bag to hold necessities.
How do I get started?
You always want to mount your board in calm water. Make sure the board’s fin isn’t hitting the bottom so you can push away easily. Then get up on the board on your knees. While on your knees, paddle a few strokes and see how you feel.
When you’re comfortable, try getting up. Do it one leg at a time and be sure to stand in the middle of the board when you do. Keep your feet about shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent.
What if I keep falling off?
You will have a lot easier time getting and maintaining your balance if you have a wider board. Many beginners use boards that are too narrow, causing them to fall and then give up. If you keep falling, or if you stand up and can’t seem to feel comfortable and balanced, try a bigger board.
Another issue could be the water you are paddle boarding in. If the water is too swift or choppy, you may have trouble standing up and keeping your balance. If this seems to be the issue, then try it again on smoother water.
How do I paddle?
Grab the paddle with one hand on top and your other hand holding the middle of the paddle. Use your top hand to drive the paddle down and through the water. Use your other hand to guide the paddle slightly, but keep the arm straight.
Always put the paddle as far forward into the water as you can comfortably reach, and then insert the entire paddle portion into the water. Don’t think of yourself as pulling the paddle towards you, but as if you’re moving yourself beyond the paddle. Switch sides every few strokes to stay in a straight line, and before you know it, you’ll be a paddle board expert.