8 Tips for practicing Paddle Surf

One of the water sports that has become more popular in recent years is Stand Up Paddle (SUP). A sport that doesn’t take much time to learn and is the perfect option to enjoy with family and friends.

If you want to practice this sport, you should take into consideration some bases to make the most of this experience, which can be done both in the open sea and in calmer waters.

If you are going to have contact with this sport for the first time, we recommend that you start at a paddle surfing school, where you will learn the basics of SUP and avoid acquiring bad habits. After a few paddle surfing lessons, you’ll be hooked and wishing you had your own stuff.

Follow these 8 SUP tips for beginners

If you’re interested in paddle surfing, we’ll give you some key advice to get you started in the best way:

1. Check the weather conditions

Practicing paddle surfing is relatively simple and very pleasant when the water is calm. However, wind and waves can hamper stability and progress.

Before jumping into the water, assess the area where you are going to practice SUP, as well as the weather conditions for that day.

For starters, the ideal is to choose a day with lots of sun and very little wind. If you choose a day with waves and strong winds, chances are, your experience will not be the best. So before you go, check out the waves on the internet. With just a few minutes you will guarantee a more pleasant walk.

2. Don’t forget about these security elements

Although paddle surfing seems like a calm and risk-free activity, we must not forget that it is practiced at sea (or in any other aquatic environment) and its conditions can change from one moment to the next. For this, we recommend that you wear a life jacket.

What can never be missing from your board is the leash. This should be attached to your leg and the SUP board at the other end. The leash will prevent you from moving away from the board if you fall into the water.

Finally (and although it’s obvious):

  • Avoid approaching rocky or shallow areas;
  • Keep a safe distance from the rest of the practitioners;
  • Stay away from motorized boats.

3. Use equipment suitable for you

Choose the paddle that best suits you and allows you to paddle more easily. It is recommended that it be between 15 cm and 20 cm above your height.

When we talk about “equipment”, we also mean bringing sunscreen to avoid burns and water to stay hydrated.

And, of course, you should be aware of the clothes that best suit your SUP practice. A swimsuit is usual if temperatures do not drop below 21°C. Otherwise, we recommend neoprene wetsuits according to the temperature of the area.

4. Work on your balance

SUP requires less balance than classic surfing. Still, enough stability is needed to prevent falls. In paddle surfing, it’s not just the legs that work for balance, the whole body must work to maintain proper posture. Abrupt foot movements should be avoided in order to prevent falls.

The ideal is to first practice with the board on solid ground, on the shore where the activity will be without damaging the keel and stay on top to learn the position correctly. Spread your legs (about shoulder width apart) with your knees slightly bent. This is how greater stability is achieved.

Before entering the water, you must place the leash around your ankle. It’s best to practice paddle surfing in quiet areas, without obstacles that you can collide with. Avoid beaches with big waves and rivers with currents if it’s your first day of SUP.

Once in the water, place your chest on top of the board and move towards the center while kneeling on the board. It is advisable to go up from the back of the SUP. If you have balance problems, or if it’s windy, you can use the board on your knees, this position is very easy and comfortable. Once you’re on your knees, you can start paddling to gradually gain balance.

When it comes to keeping the body balanced in the center of the board and executing each paddle correctly, almost every muscle group in the body is worked. The upper body is responsible for exerting the force necessary through the paddle to move the board, while the lower body is responsible for controlling balance on the board.

Therefore, all our muscles are active at all times: the lower back, abdomen, legs, buttocks, chest, arms… they help us to gain stability on the paddle board.

5. Use your body

Don’t just row with your arms. As with balance, the paddling process should be practiced with the whole body, which will allow you to master your board and help you control your movement through the waves.

If you feel discomfort in your elbows and shoulders, it means that you are using your arms excessively. If you want an activity without intense pain, we suggest that you use other areas such as the chest, legs or abdomen.

6. Keep your eyes on the horizon

Although it seems obvious, you should be aware of what is coming your way, to know how to deal with any unforeseen during the tour. Sometimes we are so focused on the movements that we forget to look ahead!

In addition, looking at the horizon will also ensure proper body posture, which we would not have if we were with our head down. If we constantly look in the direction of the board, we will lose posture and balance on the board.

7. Separate your hands and sink the paddle

When paddling, it is common to bring your hands together a lot. However, this is a mistake, as we can lose our balance! The correct way to row is to keep one hand on the paddle while the other is in the middle of the handle. Thus, the quality of the paddle will not be affected.

When rowing, you must stretch both arms and fully sink the paddle. Otherwise, the effort will be the same, but your progress will be much less.

8. Learn to fall

Despite everything we’ve said to keep you from losing your balance, there’s always the risk of falling. And it is normal for this to happen with any water sport.

However, there are different ways to fall. It is not desirable to suddenly fall into the water and accidentally hit the paddle or even the board. Be aware of these situations if you lose your balance to avoid unnecessary accidents.

With these tips, you are more than ready to enter the water without any fear. These paddle surfing tips will help you to largely avoid the unforeseen, so you can have fun without fears or complexes.

Related article: The 4 main differences between SUP and Surf boards

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