How to Get Up and Stay Balanced on a Stand Up Paddleboard

Fast becoming one of the world’s favourite watersports, stand up paddle boarding offers a whole new frontier of freedom and adventure. With so many oceans, lakes and rivers to explore, what’s not to love!?

But how to get up on a stand up paddleboard is something many newcomers worry about. And while it may take a little time to master, standing upright on your SUP really isn’t as challenging as it seems.

So, if you’re keen to explore the wonderful world of stand up paddle boarding, you’re in luck. In this blog, you’ll learn how to properly get up on a stand up paddle board – and stay up! With some handy top tips along the way, you’ll discover how to get the most out of your SUP experience.

How to Get Up on a Stand Up Paddleboard – Getting Started

Before even attempting to take your board on the water and stand up, it’s essential you’re properly prepared. 

Having the right board for your size and fitness level is a must. But if you’re new to paddle boarding, knowing exactly which model to use can feel a little confusing. For more help, check out our ultimate SUP guide to find your perfect Bluefin board!

Staying Safe

Making sure you’re equipped with a sturdy leash and the right-sized paddle is crucial. A leash is there to keep you (and other paddlers) as safe as possible. Should you fall off in rough conditions, your SUP could be instantly swept away. If suddenly carried along by a strong ocean wave, your board could become incredibly dangerous. 

And it goes without saying, make sure your board is facing the correct way! For many SUP newcomers, it’s not completely obvious which is the front end. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there… 

Simply check the board’s fins are at the back, and you’re good to go. If placed the wrong way with fins at the front, this makes for a very jolty board you’ll struggle to keep straight.

How to Stand Up (And Stay Up!)

Now you’ve got the basics sorted, it’s time to learn how to stand. We recommend starting off in knee-deep water, so your fins are clear from the bottom with no obstruction. 

Begin in a central kneeling position, with your knees shoulder-width apart. If you’re not sure where the centre of your board is, look out for the carry handle! While on your knees, paddle a few strokes to get accustomed to being on the water. 

Slowly begin to stand up, one foot at a time. Make sure your feet are planted in the same spot as your knees were, and keep them flat as you rise up. Once upright, keep your knees bent, your back straight, and your feet parallel to one another. This will help maintain that crucial balance. 

If you experience a few wobbles to begin with, don’t stress. Learning anything new will take practise, so don’t beat yourself up if you can’t master it the first time.

Top SUP Tips

Once you’ve perfected the art of standing up on your board, you’ll have a bunch of new adventures ahead of you! To make the most of your experience and improve your skills, here’s some top tips to take note of: 

Don’t be afraid to fall

This might sound impossible, but try not to be scared of falling. Even the most experienced of paddle boarders will have fallen countless times before, so try to accept it as a natural part of learning to SUP.

Should you start to lose your balance, aim to fall to the side of your board. While plunging into the water and getting soaked isn’t ideal, it’s definitely better than falling directly onto your board. You’re a lot more likely to hurt yourself if you do this. 

Don’t look at your feet!

A super common mistake amongst SUP newcomers, avoid looking at your feet as much as you can. While you might think it’ll help you stay upright, it actually does the exact opposite.

Staring at your feet can cause you to lose balance. And you could even crash into another paddler if you’re not looking straight ahead!

Paddle in plenty of space

Especially as a newcomer, maintaining plenty of space around you will make the whole learning experience a lot easier. While it may be tempting to join other paddlers you come across, keeping a decent distance away is essential. 

You’ll have lots of space to fall safely should you lose balance, and you won’t run the risk of accidentally hitting someone! Navigating your way around other paddlers can be tricky when just starting out, so keeping a distance will help keep you (and them) safe. 

Avoid waves

While this might sound obvious, it’s important to start your SUP journey in calm waters. Not only will it make learning to stand a lot easier, but you’ll also get a much better grip on paddling too. 

Once your skills are more developed, you can then move on to more challenging conditions!

Check the weather

This may seem like a no-brainer, but checking all aspects of the weather is crucial before heading out. Water conditions are indeed important, but wind is also essential to keep track of.

When you’re standing on a SUP in windy conditions, you become a human sail! Avoiding harsh winds and only heading out in calm weather is sure to make for an all-round better experience. 

However, if you do find yourself stuck in a sudden wind change, lay down on your board. Keep your paddle tucked underneath your body, and paddle to the shore using your hands.

There you have it – some top tips for how to get up on a stand up paddleboard. And have the best experience possible!

Learning to SUP is challenging for anyone, especially if you’ve never tried it before. But so long as you remain focused and keep safety in mind at all times, you’re sure to become a stand up paddle boarding pro in no time. 

To discover some of the world’s most spectacular paddleboard destinations, check out our ultimate SUP bucket list!

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