(Last Updated On: April 23, 2019)

Originating in Hawaii, the stand-up paddle boarding is an offshoot of surfing that’s becoming more and more popular everywhere around the world.

Unlike the traditional surfers, the stand-up paddle boarders like to stand on their boards while using the paddle to travel over the sea, lake, or the river.

A 2013 report says that this new sport had the biggest number of first-time participants in that year, and the trend still hasn’t stopped.

With so many people wanting to try their hand at stand-up paddling, we’ve decided to give you some general tips.

How to Stand Up on the Paddle Board

Standing up on a paddle board looks easy – that’s what everyone thinks until they actually try it. Falling down is unavoidable if you’re a complete beginner, but with a little bit of effort, you’ll be able to paddle around like a pro in a matter of days.

Take a look at these tips:

beginners guide to stand up paddle boarding - infographic
  • Face the right way

The fins can help your board “track” while it’s in the water, and also keep it going in the straight line while you’re paddling. You should make sure that the underside fins are behind you while you’re paddling.

  • Don’t forget the leash

A nice SUP leash can help you keep your board tethered to one of your legs. In case you fall down, the board will be within your reach, and you will not have to swim to get it.

  • Start on your knees

One of the first things you should do is to place your board into just a few feet of calm water where you’ll be able to practice the standing.

There, you should mount it on your knees, and get used to how your weight feels on the board while you’re kneeling. If there’s enough space around, try paddling in the kneeling position.

  • Standing up for the first time

Start by keeping your shoulder width apart and your feet parallel while being positioned on the board’s middle part.

Take a good posture and stand up straight, but at the same time avoid stiffness. Then, grip the paddle handle’s top part with your one hand and its center with the other.

Remember, it’s easier to stand if your board has forward momentum.

  • Use the whole body

Bend the knees, push your paddle into the water, and also twist your torso while using both the arms and your stronger core muscles.

If your model has a sloped or an angled blade, remember to keep the blade slopes far from you.

If you hold the paddle in another way, the drag will occur, and your progress will be slowed down.

group of people on stand up paddleboards

  • Always keep your head up

As you already know, your body will follow your head and the eyes, so don’t look down while you’re paddling. Remember to keep your back straight, your head up, and the body weight just slightly over the toes.

  • Always be aware of the conditions

Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before you decide to do some paddling – strong tides and wind could become your worst enemy. Weather changes really quickly and you certainly don’t want to be caught unaware.

  • Fall gracefully

If you feel that you’ll fall, do it without touching the board and the fins. Practice the falling so that you’re ready for it when it happens spontaneously.

  • Take care of your equipment

Most stand-up paddling accidents occur on land or in the water that’s too shallow. Try to avoid running aground or dropping the board onto the hard surface, as these actions can damage the fins.

If you have an inflatable SUP board, always pump it to the recommended PSI if you want the achieve the best performance. Stay away from other surfers if you’re a beginner, as the waves could tumble your board over and you’ll cause damage to other surfers’ gear.

Now that you know how to properly stand up on your new paddle board, you’re one step closer to full paddle board bliss. Maintain your balance at all times, and you’ll enjoy this outdoors activity more than any other you’ve ever tried.

How to Properly Hold a SUP Paddle

If you decide to give some practice to proper hand positioning, you’ll be able to make your paddling sessions a lot smoother than ever before.

Take a look at our tips on how to hold a SUP paddle:

  • Placing the hands on the paddle

Put one of your hands on the shaft, and put your second on the paddle’s top part. Now, put the paddle’s shaft on the top of your head. Both of your arms should be making right angles when you’re turning to left and right.

  • Mark the sweet spot

If your arms are making the right angles as we said, mark the area on which your lower hand was. This will be your “sweet spot,” and it will be essential when it comes to maintaining control while you’re switching hands.

image of stand up paddle boarders
  • Learn how to change hands

Once you decide to switch hands, place one of them over the other and then slide your upper hand to the paddle’s top part.

When you’re paddling on the left, your right hand shall be on the top. And when paddling on the right, your left hand shall be positioned on the top. Everyone has to switch hands eventually, so learn how to do it properly.

  • Pay attention to the blade

Once you place your paddle into the water, don’t forget to pay some attention to the blade – it needs to be angled to the front, always.

When your paddle faces forward, it will create more lift on your board and allow you to paddle far more efficiently. Try to practice this as often as you can.

We hope we’ve been helpful – now you should know how to properly use your paddle.

The paddle is your primary weapon in this activity and the thing that allows you to steer the board wherever you want. Using it efficiently is a must if you’d like to get the most out of your paddling sessions.

Some Additional Tips

  • When you have to carry your board for a long distance, and it doesn’t have a handle, you can carry it on your head. Walk yourself under it so that your head is under the middle part of the board, between the tail and the nose.
  • Only tackle those waves that you feel that you can tackle. You’re a beginner, and you’re not yet ready to ride bigger waves. Take it slowly and always listen to your instructor.
  • Don’t forget to wear a vest. You can skip this part if you consider yourself to be an excellent swimmer, but otherwise, it’s recommended to wear one and thus avoid some serious trouble.
  • Don’t hold the paddle too tightly. If you do, your arms will tire very quickly, and that won’t really help you with paddling.
  • Forget the surfing stance – your legs are supposed to be parallel at all times.
  • After each stroke, take a tiny little break. This doesn’t have anything to do with relaxing – do it to get the feel of your board and the direction.
  • Try not to lose time when you’re pulling the paddle out of the water. If you get the paddle too far behind yourself, pulling it out will become much harder. The way to make it easier is to quickly angle its blade to one side – this move will lower the water resistance and make pulling out a lot simpler.
  • Appropriate clothing should always be taken into consideration, and this depends on the weather. In warm weather, you can wear just a swimsuit and some rash guard to protect your skin from the sun. In cold weather, where hypothermia is a possible threat, you’ll need booties, gloves, wetsuits, and probably even a hood.
  • When attaching the leash to your leg, slide the rope through the designated place at the back end of the board. Then, tie the leash to the rope and attach the other end to your calf or the ankle. And finally, make sure that both ends of the rope are completely secure by giving them a little tug.
  • To make a sweep stroke (the “c” turn), place the paddle towards your board’s frontal part and take a firm stroke all the way to the tail.
  • When balancing, do it with your hips – and not with your upper body.


These tips should help you become a stand-up paddler that you’ve always wanted to be. As we already said, this activity has been on the rise for the last few years, and for a reason – it’s very relaxing, but still fun and engaging at the same time.

However, learning how to properly do stand-up paddling isn’t exactly as easy as it may seem, and it takes some practice to master the technique. Our tips should help you out with this, and make your paddling sessions a little bit less frustrating. We wish you good luck!


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