You’ve watched people on the beach do it, and maybe you’ve even watched a few YouTube videos about how to stand up paddle board. However, watching something and doing it are two different things. For those of you who would enjoy a little text to assist with your learning curve, here are five tips I’ve used to teach hundreds of beginning paddle boarding students over the years.
BE LIKE SUPERMAN
When you’re getting onto a paddle board in shallow water, create forward momentum for the paddle board by launching yourself onto it like you’re Superman.
Here’s how you do it
MOMENTUM EQUALS BALANCE
Never try to stand on the paddle board if it’s just floating in the water. The key to standing easily on a paddle board is forward momentum. As soon as your paddle board begins to move forward, it becomes more stable. That’s why I like the Superman launch so much. It gives your board enough speed, that you’re able to stand before the board slows down and becomes less stable.
When you fall in deep water, you won’t be able to use the Superman launch technique to create forward momentum. Instead, take several strokes while positioned upright on your knees to create the speed and balance you need.
Moving from laying prone on your paddle board in the Superman position to standing and paddling can often be the most challenging part of the sport for many beginners. However, with the proper technique, it becomes easy.
You’re up on the board and you’ve taken a few strokes. Your feet are getting sore because your toes are clenched trying to grab the SUP for balance. How do other people make it look so easy? Here’s How:
Even on your first day of paddle boarding, you will take dozens if not hundreds of strokes. As you become more proficient in the sport, you may take thousands of strokes in a day. As a result, it’s important to learn a few proper techniques in the beginning. These ideas will set you down the right path for your stroke development.
These five tips will certainly get you going and will provide some good fundamentals on how to stand up paddle board. However, there are several things left out in this article due to space. Topics such as water safety, turning, stopping have not been covered. If you’ve had success with the techniques in this article and want to do more, I suggest that you take a lesson with a qualified paddle board instructor.
Are inflatable paddle boards any good for beginners? As a hard board brand, our gut reaction is to say that inflatable paddle boards are terrible. However, that would be dishonest. A better answer would be “it depends”.
Like every product, inflatable paddle boards can be of poor or high quality. Inflatable boards have a wide price range. You can purchase an inflatable for as little as $250 or as much as $2500. The boards at the lower end of the price spectrum should be avoided.
STIFFNESS IS IMPORTANT
When inflatable paddle boards are designed, a key objective of the builder is to make the inflatable as stiff and rigid as a hard board.
A paddle board’s rigidity is its key to success. A hard, rigid board glides through the water with ease, and is easy to paddle. For beginners, stability is more important than glide, and rigid paddle boards offer better stability than a soft paddle board.
As a beginner, you should look for a paddle board that is very rigid and stiff. You will be able to stand easier, and you will be able to move forward and gain speed more efficiently.
DO INFLATABLES PROVIDE GOOD RIGIDITY?
All inflatables try to be as rigid as a hard board like a Wappa. Unfortunately, unless you are spending more than $1500, it’s unlikely that you will experience stiffness similar to a hard board. Cheaper inflatables are less expensive because they don’t have the same number of channels and baffles that give the board the stiffness it needs to be beneficial for a beginner paddler.
Inexpensive inflatables can lead to a frustrating afternoon on the water. Without stiffness, the board may start to bend a little under the paddler. This creates board instability and all but eliminates glide. A beginner on such a board, can quickly become frustrated. Balance is difficult to obtain, and the paddling experience is suboptimal.
If you are learning to paddle board, try to learn on a hard paddle board. Hard paddle boards have the rigidity required for excellent beginner stability, and they glide easier through the water. Better stability and better glide equate to a better experience, and more fun on the water.
So, to answer the original question, “Are inflatable paddle boards any good for beginners?” Yes, they can be. Just make sure you spend the money and get the stiffest inflatable available. If you cheapen out and get an inexpensive brand, you’ll likely experience much more frustration than you would on a better-quality inflatable or hard board. If you can’t afford the best inflatables, it’s best to stay away, and purchase a hard paddle board instead. It’s just a better experience.
The Wappa Blog
Written by Wappa's founder Layne Pennell, the blog's aim is to educate and share his love of stand up paddle boarding with anyone interested in SUP.
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