How To Stand Up Paddle Board | Beginner’s Guide

stand up paddle boarding mission bay

Combine surfing and kayaking and you get stand up paddle boarding or SUPing as we like to call it.

While Stand up paddle boarding is a relatively easy activity to do, here are some tips to make your first time stand up paddle boarding easier.

First off, we would suggest you take a lesson for your first time. This will give you the best start.

Take a lesson

If you want to master your stand up paddle boarding technique, learn from a professional. A common misconception is that you have to be strong to stand up paddle board. What is important for stand up paddle boarding is actually technique.

Make sure you avoid making common mistakes such as keeping your legs straight with your head down. Stand with your legs slightly bent and look ahead.

Our stand up paddle boarding lessons show you how to correctly hold a paddle, paddling techniques, basic turns on the board, how to stay safe in wind and waves, and how to get back onto the board if you fall off.

You can sign up for a lesson here.

Secondly, it’s all in your core!

mission bay stand up paddle

Core strength

Too many people try to use the strength from their arms. Instead make sure you use your core strength. This will make stand up paddle boarding easier for you. Using your core will also make your balance better.

Safety equipment

It is advisable for those who are stand up paddle boarding for the first time to use life jackets. However, not ordinary vests, since known vests will inhibit your movement. We advise thinner jackets that are more suitable for stand up paddle boarding. As there is only minimum flotation required for stand up paddle boarding,  safety equipment for high seas, or for rapids is not necessary and will just cause discomfort during your SUP experience!

stand up paddle boarding

Take care of the posture

Stand up paddle boarding works your core, which is great for your spine, ligaments and abdominal muscles. However, it is very important to have correct posture. It is best to take a few lessons, to learn how to paddle properly and enjoy the best of the physical conditioning that this sport can provide.

First, align your feet in parallel, side by side (as if you were standing still). Keep them almost shoulder-width apart. Gently bend your knees. When rowing, do not lean your torso forward, just crouch a little, lightly, and keep your torso upright, vertically.


mission bay stand up paddle

Do not row tired

Tiredness is a constant for those who start stand up paddle boarding. Over time you can spend several hours paddling. However, at the beginning, it is recommended that, at the first signs of tiredness, you immediately stop paddling. This can be done on the board itself, given the great fluctuation of the board, which allows you to lie down or sit on the board. But it is recommended that the stop should be done out of the water.

Learn fall techniques

Never fall, throw yourself! Try not to sink too deep into unfamiliar depths. Once I jumped off the board thinking I was not walking, but the depth was 30 centimeters in that spot.

Given these circumstances, some tips: your center of gravity is in the navel, keeping one in relation to the surface of the water, when closer to these two points, the more balanced is the practitioner. So when you lose your balance a bit, crouch down. So if the fall is inevitable, the impact will be less because the body will be almost on the surface of the water.

Don’t paddle on windy days

The wind disrupts the practice of stand up paddle, especially for beginners, because our body serves as a “sail”, and we can be pushed by the wind in unwanted directions. Thus, when planning to go stand up paddle boarding in San Diego, it is important to look at such details.


stand up paddle boarding mission bay

Paddle in known places and standing water

As a beginner you will have no notion of the manoeuvres needed and the behavior of the board. As a result, practicing in still water allows you to get in sync with the SUP board. SUP is not a sport that requires strength or resistance, but requires an affinity between you and the board. The body responds instinctively with water, and as time goes by, you will pay less attention to balance.


Do not row alone

Maybe our best tip for beginners. Never row alone. Always look for the company of a friend. Besides being more pleasant, it is safer. Rowing in larger groups is cool.



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