First time Stand Up Paddle Boarding

If you’ve never been on a surfboard before, the first time on a SUP can be a bit of an awkward experience. If there is no skilled instructor in the area, we advise you to read our instructions first.

Basic Technique

As with any other sport, a good basic technique increases the enjoyment of stand up paddle. You can move forward faster, move against the headwind more easily and see more of the surroundings!

Placement of your feet and posture

The basis of SUP is a good positioning of your feet on the board and your posture. A good position and posture gives you good control over your board and allows you to anticipate changing conditions such as wind and (fence) waves. Try to find the center of your SUP-board while sitting on your knees. This is found when the nose ‘floats’ a few centimetres above the water, while the back of the board is the same as the surface of the water.

Then place your feet about shoulder width, parallel to the board, next to each other. This way, both your shoulders and head point directly at the nose of your SUP-board. The optimal basic posture is then found by bending your knees slightly, keeping your hips above your heels. This position ensures that your centre of gravity is relatively low, which in turn ensures a good balance.

Feet next to each other, now for the paddle technique

Hold on to your paddle and paddle technique

As with canoeing and kayaking, the aim of suppen is to keep your elbows reasonably stretched when paddling. This ensures that the force comes mainly from your upper body (your ‘core’) instead of from your arms and shoulders. Extended elbows force your torso to turn slightly while paddling, which puts the larger muscles in the body to work instead of the ‘smaller’ arm muscles. To paddle on the left side of the board, place your right hand on top of the ‘grip’ of your paddle, while holding the paddle shaft with your left hand about 60 to 75 cm below (depending on your own height). To paddle on the right side of your board, of course, turn it upside down.

To paddle forward, place the paddle’s blade in the water near the nose and about 10-20 cm from the side or ‘rail’ of your board. Make sure that the entire blade of the paddle disappears under water. When the blade of your paddle disappears under water, push your paddle in the direction of your feet while keeping your elbows practically stretched. When your paddle paddle comes close to your heels, take your paddle out of the water and bring the paddle back towards the tip of your board with a circular motion, and then start with the next stroke. If you move your paddle a little further away from your board into the water, it’s possible to paddle straighter forwards, reducing the need to change sides.

Turning

Of course, just paddling straight ahead is not the intention. Various techniques are possible to turn your board; the easiest way is a combination of forward and backward paddle strokes. Start by bringing the blade of your paddle near the nose of your board into the water and move it through the water away from you so that you form a semicircle and take your paddle out of the water at the back of the board. Repeat this movement exactly the other way around (from back to front and on the other side of the board).

Just turn it!

Falling and getting up again

Sometimes falling into the water simply cannot be prevented, for example by a passing speedboat with corresponding stern waves. If you fall, it is very important that you fall off the board, so that you don’t end up halfway on the board itself, with possible injuries as a result. If you lose your paddle in the fall, ‘swim’ while lying on your board with your arms towards your paddle.

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