What To Expect Your First Time Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Just like many undertakings in your life, the only real way to learn how to do something new is to try it. Like the saying goes- â€śthe only way you learn how to swim is to jump inâ€ť.
Stand-up paddleboarding is such a new sport that it always receives new paddlers everyday. In my business, Paddleboard Miami, we get an average of four paddleboarders a week and out of those four, all of them leave with the newly acquired skill of paddleboarding.
Here are some of the things to expect when you first try paddleboarding:
The Size of the Paddleboard and Paddle is BIG
Most stand-up paddleboards range from 10 feet to 14 feet long, with the standard and preferred length being right in the middle at 12 feet. These boards are almost 3 feet wide and weigh around 30 lbs. The boar ds are so big most of them come with a built-in handle in order to facilitate transporting the boards to the water.
The paddles are always long. They should be 6-8 inches taller than your height. The reason they are longer than you is so that the paddle can reach deep enough into the water to give you a nice push while you are standing.
Surfing Skills are NOT Required
Once you have your paddleboard and paddle, you will get your first lesson: having the right paddling stance. Unlike, the side stance of a surfer, paddleboarding uses a very relaxed and centered stance of legs hip-length apart and knees slightly bent. If you are on the paddleboard for the first time it is very unlikely that you will need to walk up and down the board like you see surfers do on occasion. Instead, once you20find the sweet spotâ€¦ stay there and enjoy it!
Balancing is Easier on Your Knees First
The hardest part of stand-up paddleboarding is the first 2 seconds it takes for you to stand on your board. One thing you will learn is that starting on your knees first is the easiest way to stand-up! You have to learn to crawl before you walk right? Here- my advice is to learn to kneel before you stand. I personally love to stand next to the board, give the board a little push as I jump on my knees and then I stand up with paddle in hand. Works every time.
Standing is Easier if you Go with the Flow
If you happen to be paddleboarding in the ocean or in a place where the water is not flatâ€¦ youâ€™re in for a fun treat. Balancing might be a challenge, but youâ€™ll find that if you resist the temptation to fight the waves, it will be easier for you. Allow your knees to become less tense and more bending. Kee p your center of balance (around your belly button) in one point while your legs move with the waves. Try to be fluid like the ocean and you will last longer standing.
Falling is Part of the Fun
If you happen to fall in the water the first thing youâ€™ll notice is that- it isnâ€™t that bad to fall! Just remember though, that it is important to be aware of your surroundings. You do have a floating board to take care of and also a paddle. If you didnâ€™t fall too far from the board, just jump back on. Place the paddle on the board and pull yourself up next using both hands and a strong leg. If you fell far from your board, your priority is the board- not the paddle. Get to your board first and then get to your paddle. You ca n always use your natural paddles- your hands, to get to the floating paddle. That nice dunk in the water will keep you refreshed and alert for the rest of your paddleboarding lesson.
Looking Up to Where Youâ€™re Going Helps
It is normal to be curious about this new board and paddle you are using. Get used to placing the paddle in the water and paddling from front to back. Once youâ€™re comfortable doing this- try looking up and ahead of you. This will help you tremendously with your posture and also with directing your board. You will also be better prepared to spot the animals that could be passing by right under you.
Paddleboarding is EASY
There is a huge misconception that you have to be a surfer to be a stand-up paddleboarder. This is far from the truth. Anyone who spends the time to become familiar with the board and with the sensation of â€śstanding on waterâ€ť can start paddleboarding almost instantly.
With these pointers you will be better prepared on that day when you decide to try stand-up paddleboarding. You will have a better idea of: (a) how big the equipment is, (b) how to make sure you get on the board right, (c) how to position yourself correctly onc e youâ€™re on the board and (d) what to do if you happen to fall in the water. The majority of the people actually realize the unexpected- that paddleboarding is indeed easy and very enjoyable for everyone and anyone. We should now change the saying from â€śthe only way to learn how to swim is to jump inâ€ť to â€śthe only way you learn how to paddleboard is to jump on!â€ť