I had never done stand up paddle boarding until 2017, I hired a SUP board and when out on my local closed off lake. I’m a confident swimmer so felt okay to go out. What I didn’t realise was how balanced you need to be! A few times when I tried to spring up like you would on a surf board, I almost fell off the paddle board!

Bestway Hydro-Force Freesoul SUP – £549.99*

Be a confident swimmer

Fast forward to 2022, and I feel confident to share my paddle boarding experience! I will say it definietely helps to feel confident in water in general. For example if I did happen to fall in for any reason I’m happy and confident in my open water swimming abilities. The last thing you want to be is falling in and going into panic, you do need to be calm.

Portable paddle boards are the way forwards

Gone are the days of hard paddle boards and you can now get transportable, inflatable paddle boards that come in packs. This one we got from Very comes with a pump and so we can set up, pump up the board and off we go. It means it’s easily transportable and means storage is good too. It doesn’t take up too much space!

Select a safe location

When starting out with paddle boarding, it’s important find a good spot that you feel comfortable in. I’d strongly advise to stay away from canals or anything with a significant current. Which is why dedicated water parks (that have lifeguards), or lakes where you can’t be pulled off anywhere, are the best places to get used to the board.

I have done paddle boarding when there is a current, I’ve also done it in the sea, which is the only time I’ve ever fallen off. A wav caught me and off I went! So finding a place for you to build confident is hugely important.

Get used to balancing

To paddle board you really do need good balance skills, especially if you want to stand up. Don’t worry if not though, some people love to attach the seats to their boards and some even kneel rather than stand. It’s a personal preference. However, if you want to stand up paddleboard, I’d suggest doing kneel to standing drills, then in standing to kneeling. Being able to adapt easily is very important.

A bit like when you’re using clip in bike shoes for the first time, being aware of unclipping in plenty of time when you might need to, this is essentially the same. If you run in to a tough spot, you can get back to kneeling (which makes the board more stable), and you can navigate yourself to a safe spot, before standing up again.

But how do I stand up?

Sounds a bit daunting the idea of balancing yourself on a board on the water, doesn’t it? But don’t worry. As mentioned the first thing you want to do is kneel on the board and paddle about first. When you’re happy to try and stand up, keep your feet about hip distance apart in the centre of the board. Most boards give you a clear indication of where the middle is and where you need to stand. To be honest, if you’re stood in the wrong place, such as too far forward, you’ll soon feel off balance. If that is the case, just shuffle yourself back.

I’d suggest not worrying about the paddling at the point, just do some kneeling to standing exercises to get confident.

Go with a friend

Again, safety first and to be honest so much more enjoyable! Even better if you go with a friend who already knows how to paddle board. Result!

At your own pace

Finally, paddle boarding is hard until you get used to it, so if you prefer to kneel of use on the seats you can add on, do it. When you’re ready start standing up. Go at your own pace because the main thing about paddle boarding is to enjoy it!

*Sponsored post with Very UK (check out their paddle boards here