Beginners Guide to Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)
SUP has quickly became the world’s fastest growing water sport. With limited restrictions, SUP is an activity that can be enjoyed by people of different sizes and skill levels. We have put together this beginners guide for SUP to help people just getting into the sport understand the basics. This guide will cover the gear you will need, the basic SUP How Tos, and the different ways that people use SUP to exercise and enjoy the outdoors.
Making sure that you have the proper SUP gear is important to having a good time out on the water. If you end up with a board that’s too small, you will be unbalanced and SUP will be more difficult than it actually is. Luckily, there isn’t too much gear that is needed to get started. What you will need to get started is a stand up paddle board, a paddle, a leash that can attach to your SUP, and personal flotation device.
While there are a number of different stand up paddle boards on the market, which we will go into later, the main two are going to be a standard all around SUP and an inflatable SUP.
A standard SUP is going to be the most common stand up paddle board. Most rental locations use these types of paddle boards as they are the easiest to maneuver and they are the best for beginners.
An inflatable paddle board is going to be the most potable SUP. When fully deflated, an inflatable paddle board is fully compact and is easily stored in a closet or trunk. This is perfect for people who are already limited on space.
The proper SUP paddle is going to be similar to one that is used for a canoe, but is slightly longer. Typically, a stand up paddle board paddle will be adjustable so if can be fixed to a length that best works for your height. The correct length of the paddle should be to the height of your wrist when your hand is straight above your head.
A SUP leash is used to tether you to your stand up paddle board. In the event that you might fall, the leash will keep your SUP near you, making it easier to climb back on.
PFD (Personal Flotation Device)
For extra safety measures, it is important to always wear a PFD when on the water. A SUP is also classified as a vessel, so when SUP outside of a swim area, it is required by the U.S. Coast Guard to wear a PFD.
SUP is a water sport that someone can do with little instruction. For beginners, it will be best to pick a day where the water is calm and flat. Start on your knees at the center of the board. This will allow you to get the hand of paddling and getting your balance while on the water.
Standing on a SUP
Lay your paddle across the board so that it doesn’t float away. While standing in the middle of your SUP, place one hand on each side of your paddle board. Slowly start standing up, grabbing your paddle as you stand. Once you’re standing, be sure to bend your knees slightly, this will make it easier for you to control your balance.
Holding the Paddle
When paddling, be sure to have one hand holding the paddle at the top in the palm of your hand, and the other hand gripping the middle of the paddle. If your paddle stroke is on your right side, your left hand should be at the top pushing the paddle, while your right hand is at the middle pulling the paddle towards you.
The Different SUP Strokes
There are three different types of strokes that you will use while paddle boarding. The first stroke is the Forward Stroke. For the Forward Stroke, your top hand will push the paddle, and the bottom hand will pull the paddle. The second stroke you will use will be the Reverse Stroke. For this stroke, your top hand will pull the paddle, and the bottom hand will push the paddle. These two strokes will only require you to move your paddle in a front to back motion. The last stroke will be the Sweep Stroke. This stroke is used when wanting to turn your SUP around. On one side of your board, move your strokes in a half circle in the water until your board is facing the desired direction.
Getting back one once you fall
Sometimes you will fall, it happens to everyone. Luckily it’s not too difficult to get back up. To get back on you stand up paddleboard, place yourself near the middle of the board. Place one hand on the handle at the middle of your SUP, and let your legs float to the top of the water.
Once your legs are floating, using the hand that is on the middle handle, start to pull yourself back onto the board. Grab the other side of the board, and then pull the rest of your body up onto the board.
Different Ways to SUP
Once you’ve had some practice, there are plenty of other activities that you can do while you’re stand up paddle boarding. Some other activities you can try while stand up paddle boarding is SUP Yoga, SUP Fishing, SUP Racing, and SUP Surfing.
SUP on the Colorado River and enjoy all the beauty that nature has to offer. All skill levels welcomed. Book a half day adventure with Canyon Voyages Adventure Co. today.