6 TIPS TO FOLLOW TO ENJOY STAND UP PADDLINGNovember 02, 2017
Most if not everyone admires paddle boarding but think it’s something that only a chosen few can do. This, however, isn’t the case as anyone can learn and with the right tips on how to use your paddle board, you surely will enjoy it.
The only thing that you need is your board and water, and you are good to go. (Well, let me be honest, get yourself someone to train you first on the very basics of paddle boarding if you haven’t done it before), just to ensure that you are well equipped with the right knowledge before going ahead to do it, for your own safety.
Whether you intend to learn paddle boarding, are already a learner or have some experience but would like to improve your skill, here are 6 tips that you should follow to enjoy paddle boarding:
6 Tips to enjoy Stand Up Paddle Boarding
1.Choose the right paddle board depending on your use for it
There are five different types of paddle boards. These are the; surf specific boards, touring boards, inflatable stand up boards, racing boards, and yoga boards. Each of this as you can tell from their names serve a different function.
The surf specific boards are generally narrow, shorter, thicker and have a narrow nose and tail in terms of their design. Based on this, they are meant for swift and quick turns and to be used mainly in the surf zone of a large mass of water. The surf specific boards are also mostly meant for short distance stable paddles.
The touring boards are wider, longer and heavier with a pointed nose. Due to their size, they are more stable than the surf boards but more efficient when used in calm waters. If you are a beginner, then the touring boards are surely a safe bet for you.
The inflatable boards and they are a great choice for those, who keep moving and want to do so with their paddle boards. The inflatable boards are way lighter and easier to transport, ensuring such great convenience.
Racing boards, on the other hand, are longer, narrower and with a pointed nose and pin. As the name suggests, they are primarily designed for racing. This is so as they are able to remain on track longer and cut through water fast. Interestingly, the only time that they offer stability is when they are moving forward at a fast speed. Needless to say, if you are a learner with little or no experience in paddle board riding, then you should stay away from racing boards.
Finally, the Yoga boards (SUP Yoga) are generally wider and longer as compared to the surf specific boards. Their tops are soft and allow for one to hold onto their boards during Yoga. You certainly do not want your board to drift away as you are trying to be still, so the Yoga board will serve you just fine. Now that you know the different types of paddle boards, be sure to select one that will meet your specific needs, for a better paddle boarding experience.
2.Holding your paddle board
Hold your paddle with one hand on top of the paddle and another at the centre of the shaft. If you are paddling on the right, then have your left hand at the top of the paddle and vice versa. The paddle should be in front of you, and your elbows should be bent at an angle of 90 degrees. This way, you have just the right grip and amount of space to ensure easy and comfortable paddling. It is also important to ensure that you keep the blade angle facing away from you, as this pushes down on the water while lifting you and your board up above the water for swift flow.
3. Standing up on your paddle board
For safety reasons and just before you find your stability, stand up on your paddle board on the calm and shallow water. Kneel on the board first while keeping your hands on either side of the board just to avoid toppling. Once you feel like you have achieved some kind of stability with your board, stand up slowly, with one foot at a time. Ensure that as you stand up, you remain in the middle of the board and with your feet parallel to the stringer.
4. Master a paddling technique that works for you
Keep in mind that the hand on top of your paddle will help you and your board move when the water pressure is applied to the nose of your board while the bottom hand will provide stability needed not to topple. It is therefore important to keep your bottom arm straight and relatively still. On the other hand, your top arm should be pulled towards your body to aid in pushing the paddle forward. To maintain straight paths as you paddle, take a few strokes on one side before switching to the other side for a few more strokes. As mentioned before, to tune left, place the paddle in the water on your right side while turning your upper body to the left side.
5. Paddling with your core
Most people use their arms to paddle, which is quite an exhausting practice and one that hardly guarantees s a powerful stroke that will keep you, and your paddle stabilized for long. Instead, learn to use your core muscles, which are your back muscles; the strongest in your body. You can do this by keeping your feet apart and ensuring that as you move forward through the waters, your hips follow the side of your stroke while your shoulders turn away from that particular stroke. It is also important to have your toes pointed towards the nose of your paddle for extra stability for you. With that in mind, ensure that you spread your shoulder width apart, just so that if you are used to paddling using your arms, you can unlearn this tiring habit.
6. Maintenance of your paddle board
For a paddle board that will not only last longer but also be safe for you while using it in water, you have to play your part in ensuring that it is well maintained. To clean any wax off your board, leave it in the sun for the wax to be loosened, after which you can then remove this wax using a hard thick plastic such as a commercial wax comb. Failing to clean your paddle board results into bacteria build up, which could later make you ill. It could also lead to rusting of your board. It is also important to ensure that you keep your board away from direct sunlight when you are storing it. Wherever you have it, if you will be having it leaning against a wall, it is advisable to a pad placed right before your board, to ensure that it is secured from possible damage.
You might think that after years of paddle boarding, you might never fall off your board. I am sorry to disappoint you, but you are wrong for making such an assumption. However, you can ensure that even as you fall off your board, you are still well protected and at a minimal exposure to risk. Always make sure that you fall away from your board. Do not worry about it slipping away as most if not all paddle boards are designed to float on water.
It is also important to ensure your general good posture as you use your paddle board, by standing up with your back straight, eyes on the horizon and shoulders levelled. This way, you can be comfortable, without getting unnecessarily tired and therefore enjoy the whole paddling experience.