Learning how to Stand Up Paddle Board is not hard. And with a few tips, you’ll be up and paddling in no time.
- ‘Bend zee knees’– your knees act like giant shock absorbers so don’t be afraid to use them. If at any time you feel like you are going to fall bend your knees and it will lower your centre of gravity and stabilise you. If you try to use your upper body you act like a pendulum and have to deal with a lot more weight going back and forth.
- ‘It’s all in the hips’ – Going from your knees to standing, you want to avoid bending at the hips. This moves all your weight forward and throws out your centre of gravity. Instead try doing a squat to come straight up. This will keep you balanced and allow you to bend at the knees if you feel unstable.
- Foot Placement – When paddling along in flat water, you want to have your feet parallel with the rails so that you are facing forward. Your feet should be about hip width apart and either side of the handle. Too far forward and you dig the nose in and lift the fins out, too far back and you will lift the nose and turn more. Remember the grab handle is the middle of the board so standing either side of the grab handle will keep the board on a level plane.
- Holding the paddle – when paddling on the right hand side, your left hand goes on top and your right hand is on the shaft. Your hands should be about shoulder width apart. When paddling on the left hand side the hands are swapped over.
Holding Your Paddle
There are two ways to easily help you identify which way the paddle should be held:
- The Handle – the majority of paddles will be either a ‘T Grip’ or ‘Ergo Handle’. With either of these, you will notice that the handle is not the same on both sides. What you want is to have the rounded part sitting in your palm so that your fingers fold comfortably onto the other side.
- The Blade – you want the blade facing forwards so that it is entering the water at a positive angle. One way to tell is to have the ‘v’ that runs down the spine of the blade (called the dihedral) facing backwards. If you want to know the technicals, this acts as a leading edge as the blade comes through the water and keeps the blade balanced. It’s easier to pull something ‘pointy’ through the water than a flat surface (which will make the blade cavitate).