Safe SUP for Beginners: Things to Avoid as a Paddle Board Beginner
SUP for beginners
Stand-up paddle boarding is a water sport that originated from surfing. The main difference is you hold a paddle in your hands to move forward while paddle boarding. Keeping balance and maintaining equilibrium is the main thing that beginners find difficult while paddle boarding. That is why it is a water sport that requires practice, time, and patience.
Some beginners join SUP academies to learn the basics and important techniques to paddle board. However, joining academies is not an essential part. There is a lot of material available on the internet from where you can learn the basics for free. Then practice those basics with someone experienced in your circle.
There are certain mistakes that most SUP beginners make while paddle boarding. Knowing them beforehand will make you able to prevent them and have a better paddling experience.
Things to avoid as a paddle board beginner
Standing at the wrong place on the paddle board
As beginners have fewer experiences and knowledge, they do not know which place they should be standing on the paddle board to keep it balanced and well maintained. The center of the board is the key spot that you should use to keep the paddle balanced.
Some people make the mistake of standing near the tips of the paddle board. Doing so disturbs the stability of the paddle board, and the paddler ends up falling in the water. It actually disturbs the position of fins. They come out of the water surface and do not help with the movement at all. Therefore, find the center of the paddle board and maintain your body equilibrium on the center.
Using arms not your core
One very common mistake that beginners make is they use their arms instead of using their core muscles. Due to this, they also get tired earlier. It is because they use their arms which are not as powerful as the core muscles. So, arms get tired, and paddlers also feel they are out of energy.
On the other hand, core muscles are stronger and more powerful. Using them to maintain balance is a better option than using your arms. Another benefit of using core muscle sis they develop through paddling and become stronger and tougher. So, you can say that paddling will be like the whole body workout.
Holding the paddle incorrectly
Holding the paddle board such that only the tip is inside the water is another common mistake that SUP beginners make. Paddles that are not held correctly do not help with the movement as well. Your paddle board does not gain as much speed as it should be gaining.
That is why dip the paddle blade properly in the water, then apply force to move ahead. There are different techniques used for moving paddle. Each technique is for a different purpose. For example, you will have to move your paddle in a certain direction to gain speed. Similarly, you will have to move it in a different way to change your direction. You can learn these techniques from a trainer, or you will also learn them with time and experience.
Not checking wind direction and weather condition
Stand-up paddle boarding in bad weather conditions can be very challenging and dangerous even for the experts. Therefore, it is better to check the weather forecast and wind direction before you set off. If the wind is strong, your body will start acting like a sail of the boat. It will move in the direction of the wind, and you will have difficulty in maintaining direction.
So, control the paddle board direction instead of drifting with the wind. Do not go into the waters if you think that you cannot handle high water waves and high winds. As a beginner, your main focus is to learn balance and equilibrium. So, it is OK to work on it instead of performing stunts. While paddle boarding, if the wing becomes too much, then lie down like the surfers do and move your arms as paddles to reach the shore or your destination.
Choosing the wrong type of paddle board and paddle
Your paddling experience highly depends on the type of paddle and paddle board you are using. Beginners do not do proper research about which kind of paddle board they should be using. So, they often make the wrong choice. Make sure you do not make such a mistake.
Beginner-friendly paddle boards are thick and have a wider deck. Their deck is also soft because beginners fall more than the experts, so their chances of getting bruises on their legs are also more. They are longer and wider to give beginners more room for movement and adjustment. All check the weight capacity of the paddle board to make sure it is according to your needs.
Similarly, choosing the wrong paddle can also ruin your paddling experience. Get the paddle that matches your height, and you feel comfortable using it.
Going without a paddle board leash
The safety of the paddler is the most important thing everyone should consider while paddling. However, this is something that beginners do not take seriously then they face the consequences. The leash is important safety equipment that all beginners should wear before starting paddling. It will keep you with your paddle board even if you fall in the water. So, you will not get separated from your paddle board.
There are different types of leashes available in the market. They can be coiled or straight. Leashes also differ with respect to their attachment point (ankle or leg). All types of leashes are equally safe. So buy the one that you find more suitable and fitting. While buying, make sure it is neither too tight nor too loose. So you can take it off easily and do not get a bruise etc.
Paddling in a crowded area
As a beginner, stand-up paddle boarding around a huge crowd can make you nervous and confused. To avoid these bad feelings, it is better to choose a water body that is beginner-friendly and also does not have crowds. Finding such a place can be difficult but not impossible.
Even if you cannot avoid crowds, make sure you have your experienced friends with you while paddling. They will support you and provide the assistance that a beginner needs to maintain balance and move ahead in the water.
Falling on the board
It is very common among beginners to fall while practicing stand-up paddle boarding. This is completely understandable and natural. So, do not feel embarrassed if you fall again and again. It is also common to see beginners complaining about bruises on their legs. This usually happens when they fall on the hard surface of the paddle board instead of falling in the water.
In order to avoid such bad experiences, keep in mind to fall on the water and not the paddle board when you feel your body is losing balance. Don’t worry. You will not lose your paddle board after a fall if you are wearing a leash around your leg or ankle.
Not looking ahead
Most of the beginners look at their feet instead of looking ahead. They do it because of the fear of falling on the board. But it not only removes your concentration from your surroundings but also disturbs your balance. So, no matter how much your brain forces you to look at your feet or look down in the water, do not do that.
Keep your head straight and look ahead. Focus on your surroundings and make sure you do not end up colliding with other paddle boards. Keep your back straight and bend your knees a little. Relax your body and move your arms to move paddle and gain speed.
As a beginner, you need to remember that patience is the key to learn paddle boarding. Do not worry if you keep falling in the water or if maintaining equilibrium seems difficult. Everything takes time at the start. So, keep yourself motivated and do not let your energy get down.
Practice paddle boarding when even you can. Keep doing it consistently. You will fall but stand up again and put your focus on gaining the balance again. With time and practice, you will become a great paddler.
Stand-up paddle boarding is an energizing, fun, and healthy water sport that all must try. As a beginner, you will have difficulty maintaining balance and stabilizing the paddle board. Worry not; this is completely normal. Give yourself some time and be patient. You will learn all the tricks and techniques to paddle like a pro!