Stand Up Paddle Boarding Guide For Beginners

If you’re thinking to try paddle boarding, this beginner’s guide to stand up paddle boarding is for you! Save and pin this on Pinterest so you can read and refer to it later!

Last summer we had the opportunity to collaborate with ISLE Surf&SUP to try their inflatable paddle boards. It was our first experience using an inflatable SUP and it was a lot of fun! Some people feel that paddle boarding can be challenging. That’s why we create this guide to stand up paddle boarding for you!

What is a stand up paddle board? The way we define stand up paddle board is a board that you can use by standing up, sitting down, or kneeling down while paddling in a calmer body of water i.e. pond, lake, river (with minimal motorized vehicle activity), and the beach/ocean without big waves (though you can give it a try if you’re up for the challenge!)

stand up paddle boarding guide - you don't need to always stand up!

Scenic view of Mount Si in the background

What is the difference between SUP and surfboard? SUP usually wider than a surfboard and thicker which help with balance. It also comes with a paddle.

Is stand up paddle boarding hard? This is one of the most common questions we get about stand up paddle boarding. Just like anything else, there is a learning process we need to do to enjoy paddle boarding. The board might feel very wobbly at first and you think that you are going to fall right into the water, but trust us, you will be fine 🙂 Even if you fall into the water, that’s part of the fun, right? Haha jk!

If you have never tried stand up paddle boarding before and thinking to give it a try, here are some tips from us:

  • You can start with paddling while sitting down
  • Once you feel comfortable being on the board, you can get on your knees
  • Once you get the hang of it, you can try paddling while standing up
  • With the inflatable paddle board, filling the air more than the minimum recommendation is a good idea because it helps the board to be more sturdy. The catch is it is a real arms, lower back, and legs workout to pump the board manually. Farah is petite, so she couldn’t really pump the board all the way to our desired sturdiness
  • Stand up with your legs open (shoulder width) in the middle of the board (north/south) to find a good balance
  • Try to go to a body of water that doesn’t have a lot of traffic. For your first try, maybe go to a pond or a lake that doesn’t have any motorized vehicles. The wake from boats, waves, and current in the ocean/river can really push the board and affect your balance
  • If you want to give paddle boarding a try before purchasing a board, you can always try to rent one first and see how you like it
  • Do it slowly, take your time, and have fun!
stand up paddle boarding guide

Lake Kachess, WA

Having the right paddle board can also help you to have a better experience. In the beginning, we recommend that you use a wider board so you can have more room. Using a regular paddle board vs an inflatable one can be helpful too for your first paddle boarding trip if you don’t want to do any extra pumping to make it extra sturdy.

Which SUP should I get? That is a personal preference. There are many different available options you can choose from with different prices, sizes, styles, we will talk more about it on our guide to choosing a SUP in our next blog post.

What happens if I fall in the water? If this happens, you should stay calm because panicking won’t help you to get back on the board any faster. If you are paddling with other people, you can hold on to their paddle so they can pull you and you can use their paddle to hold on to while you are trying to get back on your board. Also, try to get back on the middle part of the board. Paddle boards usually have a handle on the middle of the board that you can hold on to and you can use that to help you pull yourself up back to the board.

What if I want to bring some belongings on my stand up paddle boarding adventure? You can purchase a dry bag and secure your belongings in it. We have been using dry bags from The Friendly Swede. One of the nice things about ISLE Surf&SUP inflatable paddle boards is that it has a front bungee where you can secure your dry bag. This was the board that Farah used, and this was the board that Ben used.

I don’t want to be alone on my board… Don’t worry about it! You should check out this Mega paddle board then. It can fit 2-3 paddlers on the board.

We hope this guide to stand up paddle boarding is helpful for you! Please share your stand up paddle boarding experience with us.

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