What’s Paddle Boarding? The Perfect Guide To Get You Started!

What is paddleboarding

What’s paddle boarding? If you want to discover everything about this beautiful and exciting sport, then allow PaddleBoardMania.com to bring you a complete and detailed explanation on it. My name is Alexander and I’ll be your host today.

We’ll start by checking a direct explanation on what it is. Then, we will jump into more detailed aspects: The different types of paddle boards, how to get started on this sport and how to choose the right SUPB for you.

This is the most complete article on this topic you will find in the internet. You can take it for granted from now.

What’s Paddle Boarding: The Explanation You Want To Read

Learn more about paddle boarding

Direct Explanation:

As the name clearly tells you will need a special kind of board which is known as paddle board or SUP. In this sport you are propelled thanks to the swimming motion generated with your arms while standing on the board.

This sport is usually practiced in the open ocean, but it’s also possible to do it in lakes or rivers. Although the real chill is brought by navigating the open ocean, I can guarantee you that. Nothing like the fresh breeze of the ocean while using your SUP.

There are different variants of this sport. Even though we will check the different types of boards on the corresponding section, here we will explore the different styles of American’s new favorite aquatic sport.

Types of Stand-up Paddle Boarding:

Surfing:

Surfing

Many persons who practice this sport do it in the surfing style. You can see people in Hawaii doing it every single day at practically any hour of the day. But how did it start? How did people decide it was a good idea to use these boards instead of the traditional ones?

First off, we have to understand that a SUPB is in simple terms an extra-long surfboard. Surfers started using them in order to accomplish two goals: Catch waves easier and faster.

Surfing with a board of this kind offers you a very different perspective which is superior to what you get with a traditional surfboard. With the help of your paddle you can cover more distance and also see waves coming from afar.

Surfing with a paddleboard was not well-accepted at the beginning, it had to battle with some opposition. But nowadays it’s very popular, which shows us this opposition has been disolved.

Fishing:

Fishing

Many fishermen have started using SUPBs to practice their passion. But why? It shares some similarities with the surfing case, because it’s brings the fisherman a better vision. As you are standing on the board, you can see down in the water, which is very advantageous for you.

People who practice this style often do it on open ocean, but it’s not strange to see people practicing it on rivers or lakes.

Some people compare it to fishing with a kayak, but it’s different. First off, the balance is trickier and if you are not able to maintain it, then you will fall down. Your balance must be very solid to make the most out of fishing with a paddle board.

Another advantage offered by these boards is that they are very easy to transport. Another important advantage, because when compared to kayaks we can all agree that they are harder to transport in most cases.

Fitness and Conditioning:

Fitness

This is not just an exciting sport, but also a great workout which will stimulate muscles you did not even know you had, therefore bringing you a complete and very powerful workout.

For this exact reason we can see that stand-up paddle boarding fitness classes are on the rise. Of course, these classes have different objectives. For example, if you desire to increase your cardiovascular resistance, then you can try long-distance paddle boarding.

And just like long-distance, you can also try a variant for training your explosiveness, which is basically “sprinting” but with your paddle. All in all, these fitness classes are on the rise because they work very well and offer a unique and different experience.

It’s also common for people to practice Yoga on a paddle board. it’s a very unique experience, but it’s also a bit hard to master. It requires a very control over your balance, but with enough practice you can learn how to do it perfectly.

Touring:

Touring

This is a very popular variant of the original sport. Because surfing can be hard and tricky for many persons. But you don’t have to surf in fact, you can simply use your paddle board for touring.

You can use your board to explore the waterways in any place you visit or in your own city. You can cover big distances easily with this, therefore it’s great for touring. And also because it doesn’t require enormous quantities of strength or effort. You can keep it at an easy pace.

Even though it’s easier than surfing in the technical side of things, it requires more endurance than any other thing. Because these sessions tend to be a bit long.

It can be practiced in the open ocean, lakes, rivers or bays. If there’s water on it and you can use your paddle board on it, then nothing can stop you.

Racing:

Racing

If you are a very competitive person, then you are going to love this variant which will put your heart working at its max and send shots of adrenaline all over your body.

But in order to practice this style, you will need a paddle board which has been especially designed for racing. They are larger than your average SUP in order to achieve higher speeds, which is exactly what you need for a race.

You can find competitions all over the world, but they are very popular in Hawaii for example. So if you are visiting this place any soon, you may want to join a competition. They are very exciting.

But in order to compete and do well, you will need to have a lot of explosiveness and resistance. But nothing to worry about, because with the right training you can accomplish these things.

Whitewater:

Whitewater

Practicing this sport on a river can be a challenging experience. And in order to practice it, you will need a SUP designed for this environment, which is inflatable most of the time. This brings you a better control and balance, which is what you need for this type of environment.

This style is not recommended for beginners nor for people who don’t have much experience. Because in this style you will have to deal with obstacles and debris, a situation potentially dangerous for the novice.

Cruising:

Cruising

It’s the perfect style for people who simply want to chill out and give this sport a try. It’s even easier than touring, because here you don’t have to cover very big distances if you don’t want to.

It’s the perfect style to get started. You can acquire a nice cardiovascular resistance, exercise your muscles and practice your balance. It’s often used by beginners who want to be properly introduced into the sport.

It’s a very good way to get your foundation done, so you can later try your luck with touring, racing, fishing or any other style you may be tempted to try.

These are the most popular styles of this sport. Now come with me and let me show you can get started as soon as possible.

How To Get Started?

First off, you will need the right gear. You will get to know everything you need to get started on this new adventure:

The Gear:

  • A Stand-up Paddle Board: It’s most important element and also the most expensive. To choose the correct one, it’s necessary to take into account several variables. You can see it in the next section.
  • The Paddle: This is your “engine”. My recommendation is to choose a paddle which is 6-8 inches taller than you. Don’t go lower or higher, otherwise you may experience some problems.
  • Safety Items: You will need to carry with you a Personal Flotation Device (PFD), a safety whistle and a light you can use when paddling after sunset.
  • A Good Leash: Sadly, it won’t come with your SUP, you’ll have to buy it separately. By attaching yourself to your SUP you will be safer in case you fall off. This is especially important for new comers.

This is all the gear you need. Of course, remember to use the appropriate clothing. It can vary in fact. If the weather is cold, then wear a dry-suit, because hypothermia is a latent danger. But if the weather is warmer, then feel free to wear shorts, a normal shirt or a bathing suit.

How To Use Your SUP?

Now it’s time to get a solid foundation on how to use your SUP. My best advice for you is to start off in really calm water, where you can maintain your balance easily. The point of this is to develop a strong foundation, and you can only do this in calm water. It’s also important to make sure you won’t find obstacles on your way.

If you experience too much difficulty, then you don’t have to start off by standing up. You can always start by kneeling on the board. This is a perfect way to gain control and security, so you can later try it standing up or in a more challenging environment.

Standing Up:

Now come with me and let show you the steps to follow to stand up properly on your board:

  1. Find a zone with shallow water. Now stand alongside with your SUP and now put your paddle exactly on the deck of the board and use it to stabilize yourself. The paddle grip must be on the edge of your board, while the end part or blade on the water.
  2. Always hold your SUP by the edges or rails. Remember to always keep the paddle grip on the correct position.
  3. Now it’s time to hold this position and use it to climb onto the board in a kneeling position. Try to do it very near to the center point but not exactly there.
  4. Now that you are onto your board, it’s time to get a sense of the balance point. Watch out for the nose and the tail. The first one should not pop out of the water and the tail should not dive in.
  5. Firmly place your hands on both sides of the board to bring it the stabilization necessary.
  6. The moment you feel it’s right, proceed to stand up one foot at a time. The trick resides on putting your feet where your knees were.
    It’s okay if you fall off if you are a beginner. If you cannot stand up, then simply start off by practicing down on your knees. With the practice and time you will develop the capacity needed to stand up perfectly.

This is the simple and practical process to follow to stand up on your SUP. And for the third time, if you are a beginner, don’t worry about falling off at the beginning. It’s very normal and it will happen. Take it easy and follow the recommendations given.

The Balance:

You’ve just completed the first step, congratulations. You’ve obtained the gold, but now it’s time to keep it on your hands… That’s why you need to learn the foundation of how to keep a perfect balance while standing up on your board. Here you will find the directions to follow:

  1. The position of your feet matters a lot. Make sure they are parallel and at a hip-width distance from each other. You can play around with this placement, but this general recommendation is the best in my opinion.
  2. Never place your feet on the edges or rails, this way you won’t be able to control your balance.
  3. Your toes must always point forward. Your knees must be slightly bent and your back must remain straight.
  4. Your hips are your best friend. Use them to control your balance, they are the best. Never use your upper-body, because it won’t work very well.
  5. You must look to the horizon and keep it that way. And please, try not to look at your feet. It’s pretty easy to lose balance this way.

Keep these pieces of advice into account. They will be of great help to maintain your balance and have a great time using your SUP.

How To Paddle?

Now it’s time for you to learn how to propel yourself with the correct paddling technique.

You can paddle on your right or on your left. When doing it on your right, you must make sure your right hand is lower on the body of the paddle. The position of your left hand must be on the top of the paddle.

The elbow or angle of your SUP is very important. You must make sure it’s facing away from you. You must get used to this, because in the beginning it feels like it’s not right, but it’s the ideal position.

Your trunk or torso is essential at the hour of paddling. Just like with kettlebell swings the advice is the same: Your arms must remain straight. Your arms are used to grab the paddle, while the motion of your torso generates the power needed to paddle and advance.

Now it’s time to push down on the paddle grip by using your left top hand. Don’t do it too profound. Just the blade should be under the surface.

Once the blade is totally under the surface, you just need to pull it back to your ankle and then get the paddle out of the water. Remember to keep your arms straight and realize this movement with the strength and motion of your torso.

This is all you need regarding strokes. And before we pass to the final section of this article, I’d like to share with you important tips:

  • If what you want is to go in a straight line, then you need to keep a balance between right and left. Do 5 strokes on the right and then switch to the left. Keep doing this and you will go on a straight line.
  • At the hour of switching sides, ALWAYS change the placement of your hands. It may seem a bit hard at first, but with enough practice doing this switch will smooth and easy.
  • The first strokes don’t need to be super powerful. You just need to get going, so these first strokes must be quick and not necessarily strong. You’ll need that later.

This is your foundation for excellent paddling. As you can see it’s not hard but it requires practice. You must get used to this, so it can become second-nature. Once you achieve that stage, you will see how easy it is to paddle. But like any other thing, it requires time and practice.

Now it’s time to pass to the final section of this article, where we will review the different types of paddle boards and how to pick the right one for you.

The Different Types of Paddle Boards and How To Choose The Right One

I’ve decided to mix both of these sections. I like to tell/write things straight to the point. I’ll talk to you about the different types of SUPs and for which activities they are best suited. Cool? Then let’s go!

Surf Stand-up Paddle Board:

This type of SUP is very characteristic. It’s more compacted, which means it’s shorter, lighter and narrower than your average paddle board. This peculiar design helps you to accomplish the following things: Ease on quick turns, obtain an excellent performance when surfing and plenty of freedom on movement.

As the name clearly tells they are best suited for surfing. Using it for other variants like touring may not be a wise idea, because as it’s lighter and narrower it’s harder to keep on track, which is a real blunder on long-distance paddles.

Racing Paddle Boards:

Racing has become a huge thing in the world of paddle boarding. Therefore, there’s an enormous demand which requires boards which are designed for racing.

These boards have a special design: They are very long, have a pointy nose and are much narrower than your average board, similar to a surf SUP. This design is perfect for racing, because:

  • It allows you to stay on track
  • Advance through water as soon as possible

These boards are perfect for racing and also for fitness. If what you want is to get an intense workout on your middle-section, then you will achieve it with this one. Because it’s very challenging to keep it stable.

In order to achieve a decent point of stability it’s mandatory to achieve a fast speed. If you are a beginner, I definitively do not advice you to buy this one. Because it takes plenty of time to get used to, and it won’t allow you to learn the basics and foundation properly.

Touring SUP:

The great thing about touring stand-up paddle boards is that they are suited for a wide myriad of purposes besides touring.

Just like our previous ones, it also has a characteristic design: It’s longer, wider, has a pointed nose and is usually heavier and bulkier. This design is perfect for beginners, cruising or touring, because they are a lot more stable, so it’s easier to control the balance.

My recommendation for you is to pick this board if you are a beginner. It’s perfectly-suited for you. It will bring you the features needed to set a strong foundation you can later use to venture yourself in racing, long-distance paddling, racing, etc.

Inflatable Stand-up Paddle Boards:

As the name clearly tells, it’s inflatable. It’s perfect for people who cannot store a normal SUP in their apartment or home. If you live in a small space, then this one may be perfect for you. Additionally they are easier to transport.

But everything comes at a price. The downside of these boards is that you won’t have that characteristic stiffness of normal boards. Therefore, due to the lack of stiffness, it’s not a good idea to use them for surfing. It’s doable on light conditions, but more often than not it’s way too challenging.

Although, this board has a very special use: It’s become the favorite of people who practice whitewater paddle boarding. Its design makes it perfect for this purpose. Just remember that getting used to this board takes time and that whitewater paddle boarding is NOT suited for beginners.

They can also be perfect for paddle boarding on a calm lake, but stay away from rivers if you are a newcomer. It’s too much of a problem for you at this stage.

Conclusion and Final Words:

I sincerely hope this introduction to paddle boarding solved all or at least the majority of your doubts and questions. You can explore more of Paddle Board Mania to learn more about this beautiful sport.

This website has been created for you. I invite you to visit the different sections to read more tips, advice, reviews and tutorials. See you next time. Alexander has spoken to you!