Beginners Guide on How to Practice Paddle Board
The beginners who discover the paddleboarding discover that the paddleboarding is one of the most growing sports in the world that allows you to experience the water that surrounds us. It’s not only a fun activity to do on waters, but it is also a full-body workout. Not only this, but it’s a sport for all ages and skill levels.
Paddle boarding was inspired by surfing, but unlike surfers, paddle boarders have the advantage of moving themselves with their paddles’ help. It is a sport that anyone can learn, but before you get on the water for the first time, the following are the few basics and tips you need to learn.
Types of paddle boards
Paddle boards come in different sizes and shapes, each suitable for different skill levels and water conditions like beginners. As a beginner, you should always go for longer and wider boards. A professional can also help you in choosing the best paddle board. However, there are different varieties of paddle boards that you will find in the market.
All around paddle boards
They are the most common and beginner-friendly paddle boards. They are suitable in all water conditions, from ocean waves to calm lakes. As the name suggests, they can be used for various purposes, including paddle board yoga, touring and surfing.
Inflatable paddle boards
Inflatable paddle boards are suitable for storing and transporting as they can be inflated and deflated when required. They are also durable as they are not damaged if dropped and so are suitable for beginners. They are also ideal for yoga as they float higher on the water surface.
Fishing paddle boards
These paddle boards are suitable for fishing. They have a wider deck for storing your fishing gear and attachments like fishing rod holders, bait trays etc. They are ideal for beginners and have more advantages than fishing from land.
Yoga paddle boards
The yoga paddle boards have wide deck pads to give you more space for your yoga poses. Inflatable yoga paddle boards are more convenient than other types as you sit higher on the water, which keeps you stable and dry. More yoga experts are beginning to use the yoga paddle boards for their daily yoga flow. They are also very convenient for beginners.
Touring paddle boards
Touring paddle boards are longboards but are less wide than the other types of paddle boards. They have a pointed nose. They are ideal for long-distance adventures. Touring paddle boards are typically used in racing competitions and are designed to generate more speed and glide efficiency. They are not suitable for beginners.
Surf paddle boards
Surf paddle boards are designed in a way that makes them suitable for surfing. They are capable and responsive in surfing because of their small size. Being less stable on the water surface, they are not suitable for the people who are surfing for the very first time.
Basic equipment for paddle board beginners
After choosing the perfect paddle board that you need, you also need to know about some essential equipment for safe boarding.
Paddles come in different sizes and a variety of materials such as plastic, aluminium, wood, and carbon fibre. All paddles have different handles, blades and shaft shapes. The general rule to select the best paddle is that it should be 6 to 10 inches taller than the paddler. To glide on a calm lake, size your paddle on the longer side and paddle board surfing, size your paddle board on the shorter side.
A paddle board leash prevents you from getting away from your board during a fall. It keeps you attached to your board with the help of a strap around your ankle. There are different leashes designed for surfing, calm waters and rivers. The general rule to select the best leash is to use the leash of the same size as your board.
Wearing a life jacket is another safety measure while paddle boarding. In some places, it’s a law to wear a life jacket when boarding outside a surfing or swimming area. Wearing a perfect fit jacket is important as a smaller jacket will be restrictive, and an oversized jacket will not be effective. Wearing a life jacket is really important for beginners.
Most of the damage caused to paddle boards is during transportation. Using a board bag can prevent it from any damage, and it can also increase its life. Inflatable boards come with bags, but you can always buy them if you are using solid boards.
Sizing the paddle of your paddle board
The correct size of the paddle board is different for every person and type of paddling. You can use different techniques to size your paddle.
Laird Hamilton’s method
This one is the most common method used to size your paddle. To adjust your paddle using Laird Hamilton’s method, use a paddle that is 3-4 inches above your head. You can then adjust its length according to your requirements.
The hands up method
Raise your hand in the air as if you are doing a pull-up. In your other hand, hold the paddle upright, parallel to your body in a way that its blade touches the ground. Then adjust the paddle to the height of your other hand in the air. Keep adjusting until your paddle’s grip is comfortable under the palm of your hand.
The shaka method
If the above methods don’t feel comfortable, try using the shaka method. Make the hang-loose sign or shaka sign and put it on top of your head. Your paddle’s shaft should end at the tip of your pinky finger.
Stare it straight in the eyes method
Hold the paddle parallel to your body. Grip it in a way that the shaft touches the ground and the blade is in the air. The place where the shaft meets the blade should be at eye level with you. Keep adjusting the length of your paddle to get the proper size.
How to stand up on a paddle board
As beginners, you should always choose a wider and longer board and start boarding on calm water. It is recommended to use a 30-inch wide and 11 feet longboard as a beginner. The board should feel stable and comfortable while standing. If you cannot balance your weight even after several attempts, you should use a larger board. Follow these steps to stand on your paddle board:
- Put your board in shallow water, so its fin does not touch the bottom.
- Begin with a kneeling position in the middle of the board.
- Stand up with one foot at a time and keep your feet at the same place as your knees.
- Stand on your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your knees slightly bent and back straight.
- Try to balance yourself. You may fall off but remember to get up and try again.
Paddling techniques and tips for beginners
There are different techniques for paddling, but they all revolve around using the paddle as a lever. To hold the paddle in the right way, place one hand on the top and the other on the shaft. Avoid placing both hands on the shaft. Don’t get in a surf position on flat water. This will not only make boarding difficult but will also increase your chances of falling.
The grip on your paddle should be approximately shoulder-width apart so that you can get the maximum power. A short grip will require you to exert more energy but will give powerless strokes. Dip the blade of the paddle fully in the water to take a stroke. If you feel difficult to completely dip your paddle’s blade in the water, then the paddle is too short for you.
Tighten your core for support. Use your back muscles instead of using only your arms. This will prevent you from getting tired early.
How to transport your paddle board
Transporting the paddle board to your next holiday spot or the beach can be a difficult task because of its large size. If you have an inflated paddle board, then carrying it with you wherever you go is much easier as you can deflate it and pack it with your luggage. But if you have a hardboard, then extra care should be taken while transporting it from one place to another.
If you want to transport your board to the nearby beach, then hold the paddle in one hand and the board in the other with its nose touching the ground. Shift the weight of your board on your head, and then shift it over your shoulder. When unloading, repeat these steps in reverse order.
The paddle board also has a handle at its centre so you can carry it easily. On a road trip, you can tie your board to a rack placed on top of your vehicle with the help of straps. Some racks have locks to protect the boards from thefts. Most companies offer padded bags for boards for air traveling, but for extra care, put towels and bubble papers in the packing bag and check for any extra charges for the paddle board.